Research in Motion Case Study

entrepreneurship has become vital as firms strive to sustain their operations and competitiveness in the current business environment. Corporate entrepreneurship is concerned with recreating or instigating the renewal of an enterprise so as to perceive and exploit business opportunities that can promote growth and profitability in the enterprise in question. Factors like intense competition, constant changes and high number of sophisticated competitors in the current business environment have necessitated the need for corporate entrepreneurship. It is therefore important for Research in Motion Company to put in place effective structures and strategies that will enable it to be innovative if it is to remain relevant in the technological market.

































The current business environment is characterized by intense competition and constant changes. As such, firms have to adopt entrepreneurial strategies in order to remain competitive and relevant. The desire to meet customers’ needs, explosive growth in some sectors and recession like conditions in others have led many organizations to restructure and even change their key business ideas in order to adapt to the changing business environment and innovatively exploit opportunities (Hill, 2012).

This paper examines various aspects of corporate entrepreneurship in an Information Technology (I.T.) company known as Research In Motion (RIM) Company. RIM is the company that developed and marketed the once popular smart device called Blackberry. First, this paper provides a summary of the case study. Second, the paper outlines how RIM Company manages the triggers for corporate entrepreneurship. Third, the paper discusses the elements of building an adaptive organization that are relevant to RIM. Finally, the paper outlines the strategy that RIM can use as it strives to sustain its innovative leadership using fundamental paradoxes confronting corporate entrepreneurship.

Case brief

The case study is about an Information Technology company called Research In Motion Company. The company engages in the design, development and marketing of various information technology devices and software. One of the company’s popular products is a smart phone called Blackberry. In a period of 10 years, RIM sold more than 50 million   smart phones worldwide   and expanded its operations and profitability significantly. However, because of the volatile nature of the technological market, the company currently losing ground to Apple’s iPhone and a number of smart devices running Android mobile operating system. For the company to sustain its operations and profitability, it must come up with new innovative products and services that can compete with iPhone and other smartphones running Android operating system.

Managing the triggering events as it applies to Research in Motion


There are several triggering events for corporate entrepreneurship. Some of the triggering events are specific customer request, competitor threat, changes in people’s lifestyle, new sales target, declining market share, improved quality control, senior management initiative, ongoing innovation program in a given company and availability of new resources.   In the case of Research in Motion Company, the main triggering events for corporate entrepreneurship are competitor threat or actions, changes in people’s lifestyle, declining market share and the ongoing innovation programs in the company.

Research in Motion Company has struggled in recent years to manage the triggering events for corporate entrepreneurship effectively in recent years. As a result, the company has lost its leadership position in the global smartphone market to competitors like Apple, Samsung and Google. RIM Company can manage the triggering events effectively by first of all studying the triggering process. This can be done by analysing the business environment where the company is operating using business analysis techniques such as PESTLE analysis, SWOT analysis and MOST analysis.

PESTLE is an acronym for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal and Environmental factors that affect RIM’s external business environment. Using this business analysis technique, RIM will be able to understand the macro-environment factors that can affects its current strategic posture in order to adapt effective corporate entrepreneurial strategies to respond. The company can use SWOT analysis to focus activities in areas of strength where it has greater advantage compared to its competitors. SWOT acronym for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. RIM will use this business analysis technique to examine its current position by focusing on its internal strengths and weaknesses and its ability to compete with companies like Apple, Google and Samsung. Furthermore, RIM will use MOST analysis to examine its internal environmental by reviewing its mission, objectives, strategies and tactics. This will ensure that the company’s mission, objectives, strategies and tactics are relevant and accurate given the prevailing conditions in the information technology sector.

By studying the triggering process in RIM, managers in the company will gain insights regarding the triggers before deciding the triggers to focus on given the prevailing conditions in the company’s internal and external business environment. The manager at RIM will then decide on how resources and incentives will be allocated to facilitate certain triggers. In addition, the managers in the company will come up with an organizational structure that can take advantage of particular types of triggers. For example, the company can use its technical capability, resources and skills to transform itself in a manner that can enable it take advantage of a given trigger. The company can also develop new effective structures that support small and large scale redeployment of resources to creative activities so as to create an enterprise that is focused on identifying and exploiting opportunities. Furthermore, the company institutionalize practices that creates an environment that promote innovation as a way of solving business problems. Finally, the managers in the company will come up effective strategic plans and management approaches that can enable them to effectively respond to the triggers for sustainable entrepreneurship.

Building an adaptive organization


Research In Motion Company is currently being confronted with dynamic, threatening and complex changes in its external environment. The company has lost a significant share of its market share to competitors like Apple and Samsung. As such, RIM has no option but to adapt to the changes in its business environment in order to remain relevant and competitive in the market. Adaptation in this case entail various forms of innovation.

There are several elements from building an adaptive organization that would be relevant to RIM. The first element that would be relevant to the company is the style of champions that work and do not work. RIM’s ability to adapt and be innovative is dependent on the company’s ability to learn (Morris, Kuratko & Covin, 2010). The approach taken by leaders in the company in developing a learning organization is therefore a vital element in building an adaptive organizations. Leaders in the company should therefore develop new ways of thinking that motivated employees in the company to unleash their potential so as to create new avenues for growth and alternative ways of doing things to promote learning. The leaders should also do away with standard procedures and structures that are primarily intended to guard against mistakes and frauds. This is because they hamper innovations leading the company to use its limited resources on non-viable long term projects.

The second element from building an adaptive organization that would be relevant to RIM is approaches to goal setting and monitoring that keep projects on track. This element would be relevant to RIM Company because the company was the first to come up with a smart phone yet allowed its competitors like Apple and Samsung to come up with cheaper and more effective smart devices that significantly reduced its market share. Moreover, despite the fact that it is obvious that in the computer and consumer electronics industry where the company is operating features and functionality have significant influence on consumers’ purchasing decisions, the is yet to come up with an effective mobile operating system that can compete with iOS or Android. These show that RIM’s approaches to goal setting and monitoring is not effective and that is why the company cannot keep its projects on track.

The third element from building an adaptive organization that is relevant to RIM is methods of opportunity identification that are especially productive given the nature of the company, industry and market. RIM was the first company to come up with a smartphone that enabled the company’s profits to grow by 84 percent in the year 2009 becoming the fastest growing company in the world. However, because of the company’s inadequate methods of identifying opportunities in its business environment, it allowed Apple to take a significant share of its market (Morris, Kuratko & Covin, 2010).This is because Apple’s strategy was focused on developing a digital lifestyle product line that exceeds customers’ expectations in terms of quality of design and functionalities supported which was the trend that was taking shape at the time while RIM’s strategy was focused on meeting the needs of corporations. Apple was therefore able to develop core capability in product design as it strives to differentiate its products and services from its competitors. As a result, Apple developed digital lifestyle products that were beautiful, unique, and easy to use making RIM’s Blackberry less competitive (Hill, 2012).

The fourth element from building an adaptive organization that would be relevant to RIM is the models of successful projects in terms of key steps or stages and the identification of the models that best fit different types of projects. RIM is the company the company that popularized smartphones as a must have tool for the twenty-first-century worker. The company however failed to use the model of the Blackberry’s successful project in terms of its key steps or stages to identify the models that best fit subsequent projects in the company. As a result, RIM is quickly losing ground to Apple’s iPhone and a slew of smart devices based on Android. This is because Apple has been able to come up with exceptional designs. Apple also vertically integrates its proprietary software and hardware (Kim, 2014). This ensures that the company control all the technologies that are important for its success. Competitors like Samsung on the other hand have been able to use Android operating system to produce affordable smart devices that appeal to a wide range of consumers.

The fifth element from building an adaptive organization that would be relevant to RIM is the technique for optimally managing the timing and allocation of resources across the stages of a project. Unless RIM find new ways to innovate, the company could struggle to survive. This is because a recent market research shows that around 40 percent of BlackBerry users would switch to Apple’s iPhone as their next smart phone purchase and 33 percent of them would switch to an Android phone option. The company therefore does not have a loyal customer base that can sustain its operations and profitability in future. It is also important to point out that Apple’s iPhone will soon be offered by Verizon which is the number one wireless carrier in the United States. In addition, Apple currently controls the majority of mobile applications developers’ mindshare with nearly 89 percent of the registered projects. RIM therefore has a long way to go for it to regain its market leadership position and should change its focus from enterprise customers to consumers who are the key driving force in the smartphone market.

Strategy for RIM as it tries to sustain its innovative leadership

It is important to point out that not all corporate entrepreneurs produce dramatic breakthroughs. Ironically, the corporate entrepreneurs that try to overthrow the established corporate entrepreneurs most of the times realize that the returns they achieve is less than those received by less ambitious entrepreneurs (Morris, Kuratko & Covin. 2010). Corporate entrepreneurs are therefore confronted by a number of paradoxes. Managers at RIM should thus be adept at managing the paradoxes by focusing on speed, portfolio business models, “go to market” flexibility, competitive innovation and intra-enterprise cannibalism.

The paper recommends that RIM should focus on a strategy that will enhance its speed to market and go to market flexibility. According to RIM’s Co-CEO, the company has plenty of new innovative devices that are yet to be unveiled. However, given the volatile nature of the information technology market speed to market is critical. The CEO should not allow RIM to be left behind by its competitors who are going beyond smartphones to other innovative products like cars and TV. Speed to market is important because RIM is operating in a fast-cycle industry. Therefore, for the company its innovative leadership, it has to produce products and services that can transform the market faster compared to its competitors.

Go to market flexibility is important because of the nature of RIM’s main competitors. RIM’s main competitors are Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Xiaomi. Xiaomi market is mainly in China. The company offers high quality and affordable smart devices based on Android. Samsung on the other hand is the largest technology company globally and offers smart devices based on Android (Kim, 2014). The company controls its entire manufacturing processes for smart devices and therefore able to bring products to market faster compared to its competitors. Samsung’s smart devices are also affordable. Microsoft recently acquired Nokia and is offering high quality smart devices based on its proprietary operating system at affordable prices (Kim, 2014). Given that RIM’s competitors are using diverse strategies to compete, it is important for the company to be flexible in order to find the right balance that can enable it maintain its innovative leadership. The company should therefore be leaner and focused on a few key businesses such as software and services. This will enable the company to enhance its speed to market and go to market flexibility.



RIM Company is at a crossroad and there is need for a new approach. The company has lost a significant market share to its main compettors in recent years. Because the company is operating in a fast-cycle industry, it is important to be leaner and focused on a few key businesses so as to enhance its speed to market and go to market flexibility.


Hill, C. 2012. International Business, Competing in the Global Marketplace. New York, Mc Graw-Hill.

Kim, M. 2014. In smartphone mass-market, Samsung, Apple have margins on their minds. [online] Available 12 May 2015].

Morris, M., Kuratko, D. & Covin. J. 2010. Corporate Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Nwy York, Cengage Learning.

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