An assessment of intrapreneurship in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality
Netshifefhe, Elia Nkhumeleni
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In most instances people tend to think of the public sector as monopolistic entities facing captive demand, enjoying guaranteed source and levels of financing, and being relatively immune from voters, stakeholders, and political institutions such as legislatures and courts (Morris & Kuratko, 2003: 305). Entrepreneurship or intrapreneurial behaviour is commonly discussed in the context of private business. However, government departments and other organs of state have a pressing need to think entrepreneurially (Rwigema & Venter, 2005:10). Against the backdrop of legacy of apartheid in South Africa, municipalities are still faced with the challenge of extending the fundamental benefits of basic water supply and sanitation, electricity and housing to all people. It is therefore imperative in the light of these challenges for a municipality like Ekurhuleni to operate as business does, by adopting an innovative or intrapreneurial approach. The primary objective of this study was to assess intrapreneurial climate in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality and to make recommendations to foster intrapreneurship within the organisation. The literature review was instrumental to gather secondary data on corporate entrepreneurship (intrapreneurship) and to understand its dynamics. In order to gain primary data, quantitative research was carried out. The study population comprised lower, middle and top management participants, who were requested to complete questionnaires. This was followed by statistical analysis. The empirical results indicate no practical significance in respondents' perception of their entrepreneurial characteristics in relation to their superiors. However, the results do indicate practical significant differences between the relationship between the groups of top/middle and lower management level and entrepreneurial climate. The respondents did not fully agree with the statements that the Ekurhuleni Municipality climate is conducive to foster entrepreneurial behaviour. However, it was revealed that practical significant differences were found on the relationship between management level variable and intrapreneurial climate constructs. The results of the study indicate that the respondents have divergent views of the intrapreneurial climate in the Ekurhuleni Municipality and that these views are based on the following constructs: management support, sponsor (champions), tolerance for risks, mistakes and failure, appropriate rewards, discretionary time and work, empowered teams and multi-disciplinary teams and diversity, resources availability and accessibility, and flat organisational structure with open communication and strong sense of belonging. It can thus be concluded that lower level managers are of the opinion that the climate is not conducive for a spirit of innovation to prosper. The purpose of this research was to assess the intrapreneurial climate in the Ekurhuleni Municipality. Empirical evidence shows that there is a pressing need for a shift from the current top down approach to a future of entrepreneurism and innovation among the workforce. In light of the above-mentioned empirical findings, a practical action plan was recommended to the Ekurhuleni Municipality management in order to foster an intrapreneurial climate (see Table 5.1). Subsequent to the findings, a practical action plan was proposed to the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality's management to enhance a culture of innovation and entrepreneurial behaviour.