Original Research

Investing in intrapreneurial capabilities for improved performance in state-owned enterprises

Lucy T. Chamba, Bobo Chazireni
Africa’s Public Service Delivery & Performance Review | Vol 11, No 1 | a663 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/apsdpr.v11i1.663 | © 2023 Lucy T. Chamba, Bobo Chazireni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 July 2022 | Published: 31 March 2023

About the author(s)

Lucy T. Chamba, Department of Entrepreneurial Studies and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, Zimbabwe
Bobo Chazireni, Department of Entrepreneurial Studies and Management, Faculty of Management Sciences, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa


Background: State-owned enterprises (SOEs) are pivotal to the socio-economic development of any country. However, in most developing countries, these entities are failing to execute their mandate effectively. State-owned enterprises have failed to be responsive to citizens’ needs and deliver public value efficiently because of low investment in intrapreneurial activities by leadership in these entities.

Aim: This study set out to examine the effect of intrapreneurial capabilities (ICs) on organisational performance of SOEs.

Setting: The population under study was SOEs in Zimbabwe, located in the Southern African Development Community, in Africa.

Methods: The study used a qualitative research design. Interviews were the main data collection technique. Data collected from interviews were analysed using thematic network analysis. Document analysis was also used to establish the performance of the SOEs.

Results: The study established that ICs have a significant influence on the organisational performance of SOEs. Organisations with stronger ICs developed greater strategic agility and delivered greater public value, in terms of service delivery, customer satisfaction, financial performance and social impact.

Conclusion: The study provided evidence of the influence of ICs on intrapreneurial activities and consequently on organisational performance. The study will assist leadership in SOEs to invest in an intrapreneurial architecture in order to assist SOEs to deliver both economic and public value.

Contribution: The study has important implications for both practitioners and researchers in that it highlights the importance of investing in superior IC as a means of addressing service and performance challenges faced by SOEs.


intrapreneurial capabilities; intrapreneurship; state-owned enterprises; strategic agility; organisational performance; public value

JEL Codes

L32: Public Enterprises • Public-Private Enterprises

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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