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The seven dimensions of Skunk Works: a new approach and what makes it unique

Anthony Larsson (Department of Learning, Informatics, Management and Ethics (LIME), Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden and Stockholm School of Economics Institute of Research (SIR)/Center for Strategy and Competitiveness (CSC), Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden)

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1471-5201

Article publication date: 6 November 2018

Issue publication date: 8 August 2019




This paper aims to study the definition and formation of Skunk Works and how it may present itself as a viable theoretical alternative to other mainstream concepts of collective/corporate entrepreneurships, while dissecting some of the prevalent misconceptions of the extant literature regarding the application of Skunk Works.


This is a literature-based conceptual study that compares and differentiates various forms of group entrepreneurships as discussed in the academic debate.


This study shows how Skunk Works differs from other forms of collective/corporate entrepreneurship through its seven dimensions (isolation, customer needs, focus, planning, trusted project manager, cross-functional teams and leveraging overlaps) while challenging the dominant extant contenders of collective/corporate entrepreneurship.

Practical implications

Skunk Works remains a sustainable form of entrepreneurship, and it is still viable to consider it as a practical construct for smaller as well as larger organisations as a means of solving complicated innovative tasks requiring a multidisciplinary team with expert competence in a relatively quicker period of time.

Social implications

Organisations may take greater initiatives towards assembling entrepreneurial teams in the Skunk Work tradition.


As a means of understanding collective/corporate entrepreneurship, this study dissects some of the original fundamental cornerstones of Skunk Works entrepreneurship in an effort to present it as a viable alternative construct to the dominant construct of entrepreneurial orientation as well as other extant constructs.



Conflict of interest: None declared.

Funding: This research did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.


Larsson, A. (2019), "The seven dimensions of Skunk Works: a new approach and what makes it unique", Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 37-54.



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