Internal entrepreneurship in the public sector: the challenges of integrating innovative project into the regular organization

Ulrika Westrup


This article sheds light on entrepreneurship in the public sector. The purpose is to provide insights into internal entrepreneurship process of transferring innovative projects into a permanent operation. The empirical material is drawn from a project realizing a new and unproven organizational solution in human services with the aim of improving young people’s mental health. Employees of social services and education departments jointly conduct the project. References based on internal entrepreneurship and project management constitute the article’s frame of references. An interactive research approach is used. The results show that it was not enough to establish a strong horizontal organizational support and produce exceptionally good results in order for the project to be transferred into a permanent operation. The funding of the project was outside the management system and thus not incorporated into routines and procedures such as budgeting and follow-up reporting. Consequently, descriptions of the innovative project’s success and efficiency gains were not linked administratively to the management system. The lack of information to the top management led to no decision being made about permanentizing the project. The findings highlight the hierarchical relation; the importance of make an innovative project visible to the top management through the management system.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413