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The use of corporate entrepreneurship by Gefeba Elektro GmbH: The case study of a German medium-sized company in the highly competitive process automation sector
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Corporate entrepreneurship has gained renewed interested in research since global markets are evolving and industries become more and more competitive. Information is transferred across the globe rapidly so that products and processes can be copied quickly. In order to be competitive, companies need to enhance creativity, their technological knowledge and market know-how. This high competitiveness leads to a dilemma where innovation is a key to survive whilst the size and administration may signify barriers to replicate entrepreneurial behavior through the entire business.


Considering the relevance of corporate entrepreneurship in the rapidly changing market of the 21st century, our purpose was to develop a deeper understanding of how corporate entrepreneurship can be used by companies. We then looked deeper into the subject of organizational transformation and decided to do a case study. The aim of the research was to make a theoretical contribution by examining the subject in the context of a medium-sized enterprise in a specific environment where corporate entrepreneurship is vital. Therefore, we chose a medium-sized German company that operates in the increasingly complex and competitive process automation industry. The Gefeba Elektro GmbH was found to be an interesting case for a case study for several reasons. The company was situated in a highly competitive market, in the heart of the industrial ‘Rurhgebiet’, with numerous competitors. However, and despite the lack of resources faced by this SME, Gefeba is an important actor in the automation industry.


Although researchers have examined various factors that promote corporate entrepreneurship, the literature has focused on defining factors in isolation without linking them to architectural factors, especially when it comes to SMEs. These factors are defined in our study as leadership, culture, structure and strategy. Acting within the extremes of small businesses and large corporations, we focus our study on a single medium-sized company that enables us to reach different levels of the organization and grasp a holistic understanding of this specific organization in relation to its use of CE. In accordance to this, the main research question is: How does Gefeba Elektro GmbH use corporate entrepreneurship in the automation sector industry?


The study was conducted using a qualitative research method. One of the major findings is that the Gefeba Elektro GmbH is using a balance between the organizational antecedents of common values and flexibility to build a mechanism that aligns the organizational architecture towards the development of corporate entrepreneurship. Another aspect is the fact that every architectural factor is used for the development of CE, even if some architectural factors such as leadership and culture seem to have more importance in this development. Thereby, the findings about organizational antecedents and architectural factors are relevant for the managerial implications in others SMEs facing the same context as Gefeba Elektro GmbH, which are willing to implement corporate entrepreneurship without knowing exactly how to do it. Indeed, the lack of resources of an SME could however allow developing organizational transformation through a sensitive equilibrium between the common values and beliefs for the control and the flexibility for the innovation. Moreover, another point highlighted in our findings is the crucial role of the individual in the implementation and development of corporate entrepreneurship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 78 p.
Keyword [en]
corporate entrepreneurship, Germany, SME, automation industry
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-98108OAI: diva2:781886
External cooperation
Gefeba Elektro GmbH
Available from: 2015-01-20 Created: 2015-01-18 Last updated: 2015-01-20Bibliographically approved

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