|Abstract: ||This thesis consists of three essays linked to each other by perspectives of entrepreneurship,
openness, and innovation, through which I sought to give an answer to a specific research question.
Starting from the premise that corporate entrepreneurship should be understood as a renewal process of
the existing organization that is aimed at maintaining and improving the competitive potential of a
company in its environment, I have developed my research in order to give an answer to the following
question: how does the evolution of the relationship between a company and external agents effect the
inclination of the first one to innovate? According to this premise, in the first essay I analyzed the
conceptual structure of corporate entrepreneurship in order to discover the core themes and limitations.
In the second essay, according to results that emerged from the previous research, I have delivered a
theoretical framework aimed to fulfill the limitations that emerged. In the third and last essay, I sought to
demonstrate empirically the theoretical results that emerged in the previous essays, analyzing how
relationships with external agents could affect the strategic innovation of a company.
More specifically, the first essay aimed to reveal the conceptual structure map of the corporate
entrepreneurship research field during the period 1992-2015. By adopting a co-word analysis approach
and following the most rigorous methodological prescriptions, 43 main concepts were detected by
filtering the co-occurrence of 654 normalized author’s keywords extracted from the Scopus database.
Cluster analysis and multidimensional scaling (MDS) were applied in order to gather and detect the
concepts’ positioning, densities, distances, and gaps cartography. Based on these multivariate analyses, the
following conclusions can be drawn: (i) the five main keyword groups of concepts are located in three
areas: central, semi-peripheral and peripheral; (ii) innovation and strategy related concepts are central in
the field; (iii) entrepreneurial leverages and entrepreneurialism focused on SME’s concepts are semiperipheral;
(iv) organizational concepts related to learning and absorptive capacity, culture, human
resources and cognition are largely decentralized and represent the emerging, hidden or peripheral topics.
The second essay deals with the collaborative nature of corporate entrepreneurship and deepens the
limitations that emerged from the previous analysis. In particular, the starting point has been the
perspective that collaborative innovation with customers or external agents is increasingly important for
the development of company innovation processes. Despite this critical role, how a customer’s
collaborative relationship with a firm can be used to manage the innovation processes has received
relatively little attention in the current corporate entrepreneurship literature. This analysis aims to reveal a
theoretical framework that helps to fill a specific gap that has emerged in previous studies in this field,
offering a theory of innovation that links this field of study with value co-creation and open innovation.
By adopting a bibliometric analysis approach and following the most rigorous methodological
prescriptions, the main concepts have been detected by the literature review of each field of study and a
frequency of keywords analysis has been applied. Based on these analyses, the essay is divided into two
studies. The first study provides a review of the literature from three existing fields of studies: corporate
entrepreneurship, value co-creation, and open innovation, placing emphasis on how companies engage in
collaborative innovation with external agents. The second study, using a multiple qualitative case study,
shows how companies’ innovations are shaped by relationships with customers.
The goal of the last essay is to demonstrate empirically the results that emerged in the previous essays
in the field of companies’ openness. Since the last century, the increasing adoption of more open
approaches to innovation has required firms to revise their traditional views of strategy. However,
relatively little is known about how managers can go about achieving this transformation, and how—and
to what extent—strategy should be adapted. This study, using a grounded-theory approach, investigates
how and why forms of open strategy occur as a result of open innovation approaches. In particular, we
identify the key dimensions that underpin open strategy. We discuss them in terms of innovation strategy,
business complementarities, strategic fit and bidirectional communication. We also identify three different
possible levels of open strategy: corporate, functional and business area. The results of our analysis: (i)
highlight that the open innovation approach is a starting point for the process of open strategy, (ii) show
to what extent an open innovation approach tends to influence and shape the strategy of a firm, and (iii)
provide researchers with a framework that seeks to explain the key dimensions of open strategy.|