Mentoring is often promoted as vital for management

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Mentoring is often promoted as vital for management development in general andfor innovation development in particular. One specific variation on the mentoringprocess is the concept of ‘champions’ or ‘change masters’ (Kanter & Richardson,1991; Day, 1994; Shane, 1994). The existence of a ‘champion,’ someone who willfight for a new venture, sends a clear signal that the organization at least toleratesentrepreneurial activity. That signal alone should increase perceptions of suppor-tive social norms. However, mentors and roles affect entrepreneurial intentionsonly insofar as they first affect key attitudes such as self-efficacy. We should ex-pect that a skillful champion would contribute to stronger perceptions amongorganization members of an innovation’s desirability and feasibility.198Norris F. Krueger, Jr.
(Baugh & Roberts, 1994), perhaps by multiple mentors providing multiple behav-ioral models (Bandura, 1995).Developmental ExperiencesAny organization can profit by providing its members with a diverse range of de-velopmental experiences (McCall, 1992). Here, experiences can provide explicitcues that the organization supports innovation and members can internalize thoseinto appropriate attitudes, thus intentions. The more that we expose organizationalmembers to innovation and the more they understand its nature, the more likelythey are to see innovation as feasible and desirable. McCall notes that for manag-ers, there is no substitute for having ‘bottom-line’ responsibilities in charge of anew or turnaround venture.Moreover, promoting the ability of organization members to identify a broaderrange of alternatives as desirable and feasible yields an increased ability to learnnew mental models. This ability to learn offers value beyond any particular inno-vation in question, helping organization members perceive the ability to learn andimplement new competences (Senge, 1992). Organizations should consider suchdevelopment as an integral part of their strategy (McCall, 1992) and thus providethe right kind of cognitive infrastructure.ImplicationsThe robust empirical track record of intentions models and their firm theoreticalgrounding both argue that we do have a sound grasp of the critical antecedents ofopportunity perception. We also know how to overcome inhibitions to opportunityperception by influencing these critical antecedents. The perception-driven natureof intentions implies that a healthy cognitive infrastructure will change as circum-stances (and our perceptions) change. Thus, there are no specific universal pre-scriptions. Instead we must continually maintain a healthy cognitive infrastructureby keeping a close eye on the perceptions of organization members. An organiza-tion that wishes to innovate must accept that it needs to empower its members tohelp them see a broader range of new opportunities. Meanwhile, it should mini-mize activities that inhibit opportunity seeking.

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Term
Fall
Professor
NoProfessor
Tags
Economics, Entrepreneurship, Prof lvaro Cuervo, Prof Domingo Ribeiro

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