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Evaluation of the intrapreneurship orientation in a pharmaceutical manufacturing company in KwaZulu-Natal.

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The pharmaceutical industry in South Africa is considered a knowledge-intensive sector, with sophisticated consumers, world-class clinical skills, excellent infrastructure, and an established policy and regulatory environment. However, recent global business disruptions, including the COVID-19 pandemic, with its ensuing socio-economic sequelae, have highlighted the importance of an innovation or intrapreneurship orientation in pharmaceutical companies, where agility and responsiveness is pivotal - not just for surviving, but also thriving and creating value. It is in this context that intrapreneurship can be leveraged to spur innovation, augment business renewal, enhance organisational performance and ensure sustainability. The objectives of this study were to evaluate the nature and extent of the intrapreneurship orientation of the company’s managerial employees, to identify the strengths and weaknesses that influence intrapreneurship orientation at the company, to investigate the relationship between the company’s intrapreneurship orientation and organisational culture, and finally to explore strategies to augment the intrapreneurship orientation of the company’s managers. This sequential mixed methods explanatory study evaluated the nature and extent of intrapreneurship orientation of a pharmaceutical manufacturing company located in KwaZulu-Natal, using a sample of 55 managers, employing a self-administered online questionnaire for the quantitative research phase, and a focus group discussion of 10 managers for the qualitative research phase. The findings revealed a suboptimal intrapreneurship orientation, with weaknesses revolving around the management support, organisational structure and culture, as well as the availability and orchestration of resources. The organisation’s strengths were underpinned by the proactiveness and learning orientation of its managerial employees. Recommendations to the organisation include the development of a structure for innovation and intrapreneurship, the performance of a cultural survey as a first step in establishing a culture of innovation, collaboration and continuous learning, and the development and implementation of an innovation balanced scorecard to manage innovation-related performance.


Master’s Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.