Internal corporate venturing as a tool for corporate renewal
This study recognises that innovation and renewal is instrumental in gaining competitive advantage. However, large firms often face a renewal dilemma. Despite the fact that many firms recognise the need for innovation and renewal, they find it challenging to implement innovation. Thus, the need for renewal is complicated by finding a suitable business development tool to bring about the renewal needed. The problem is further aggravated by a fundamental managerial conflict of exploration and exploitation. This conflict causes a reluctance to engage in exploration activities (searching for new resources, knowledge, and competence), due to the operational focus of exploiting current resources, knowledge, and competence. To overcome the renewal dilemma, this study investigated the relationship and linkages between Internal Corporate Venturing (ICV) and corporate renewal to determine how Internal Corporate Venturing (ICV) can be used as a tool to initiate corporate renewal and overcome the renewal dilemma. The study made use of a qualitative, mixed-method methodology and investigated the research problem in two phases. The first phase of this study used Grounded Theory to propose a theoretical framework that illustrated how ICV provides a firm with a strategic process that effectively balances exploration and exploitation activities, providing the linking mechanisms needed between a firm’s corporate context and its external environment, enabling the firm to initiate corporate renewal. In the second stage of this study, the theory was assessed, by comparing the proposed theoretical framework to a case study involving an internal venturing programme at an established financial services firm in Southern Africa. Based on a comparison between the proposed theoretical framework and the case study, this thesis concludes that ICV could theoretically be used to address the renewal dilemma; however, it was not possible to confirm this proposition, due to the stage in which the corporate venturing programme the case examined found itself,. The case study did however suggest that ICV could enhance a firm’s ability to instigate corporate renewal, through its ability to create idiosyncratic endowments from a firm’s endowment base.