Tapping into Digital Technologies in Corporate Entrepreneurship: an Exploratory Multiple Case Study


  • Stefano D'Angelo Politecnico di Milano
  • Antonio Ghezzi Politecnico di Milano
  • Angelo Cavallo Politecnico di Milano
  • Andrea Rangone Politecnico di Milano
  • Maria Gatti Politecnico di Milano




Corporate Entrepreneurship, Digital Technologies, Digital Transformation, Multiple Case Study


Digital technologies can enable entrepreneurial processes and outcomes. However, current implications for scholars and practitioners on how to exploit the emerging digital technologies for entrepreneurship in the corporate context, i.e., corporate entrepreneurship, remain unclear. This issue is even more relevant today where the growing pervasiveness of digital technologies finds increasing applicability in corporate entrepreneurship activities. This present study contributes to the academic debate on corporate entrepreneurship in the digital era by offering an exploratory multiple case study – based on semi-structured interviews – that involved four incumbent organizations to deepen the knowledge of the role played by digital technologies in corporate entrepreneurship. We provide empirical evidence on how incumbents can exploit the enabling role of digital technologies to foster corporate entrepreneurship activities. Specifically, we document three enabling mechanisms of digital technologies in corporate entrepreneurship: (i) increasing the number and heterogeneity of inputs for corporate entrepreneurship activities; (ii) increasing the visibility of actors and resources involved in corporate entrepreneurship activities; (iii) accelerating innovation adoption rate in incumbent organizations. The outcome of this study is a framework that discusses the managerial actions required to support incumbents in making corporate entrepreneurship more prolific through digital technologies. In doing so, this study contributes to research on corporate entrepreneurship in the digital era. Results are of interest also to managers and practitioners, providing them practical insights to exploit the enabling role of digital technologies for corporate entrepreneurship activities.