Microsoft South Africa: Corporate Entrepreneurship and Innovation
(10 pages of text)
A new managing director of Microsoft South Africa was appointed in 2007 at a low point in Microsoft South Africa’s dominance of the software industry. He set out to address the issues by focusing on four pillars: people (employees), partnerships, revenue and local relevance. The latter included regulatory compliance requirements regarding social transformation and meeting the stringent Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment codes. The managing director knew that targets had to be met in order to build the relationship with head office and that once this was in place, it would be easier to manage the requests that were to come related to local relevance.
This case provides an example of how a multinational subsidiary gains an innovation mandate from its parent while dealing with requirements regarding local relevance. The key learning objectives include the following:
- The nature and purpose of corporate entrepreneurship and innovation.
- Recognition of opportunity emerging out of constraints.
- Business model innovation rather than technological innovation.
- Corporate social responsibility (CSR): Traditional CSR thinking is challenged, and CSR is seen as a foundational element of business with profitability requirements.
- Subsidiary mandate management: What a subsidiary does to increase its mandate.
- Managing inclusion: The need to achieve greater racial diversity and redress the damage done by Apartheid becomes an opportunity to create greater inclusion around an inspiring vision.
Information, Media & Telecommunications
South Africa, Medium, 2013
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