Converting military technology through corporate entrepreneurship

Israel Azulay, Miri Lerner, Asher Tishler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between entrepreneurial behavior of employees and defense technology conversion (the use of military technologies for products aimed at the civilian market). The study was carried out at a hi-tech Israeli defense organization in which management encouraged employees to engage in internal entrepreneurial R&D activities aimed at the civilian markets. Surprisingly, our findings show that these management efforts were followed by an increase of the entrepreneurial proposals by the employees. However, the increase in the entrepreneurial activities was aimed at the defense rather than the civilian markets. The explanation for this result may be rooted in the negative relationship between entrepreneurial behavior and the level of effectiveness of perceived barriers to defense conversion. Two conditions are necessary for a successful attempt at defense conversion through corporate entrepreneurship. (a) Top management must ensure that employees and middle management are convinced of the importance of defense conversion to their organization, its effectiveness and feasibility, (b) Top management must convince employees of its commitment to the process of defense conversion. Lip service to defense conversion is certainly ineffective, and sometimes even counter-productive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-435
Number of pages17
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Defense conversion
  • Defense industries
  • Managerial attitudes
  • R&D projects


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