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Taking ‘intrapraneurship’ back to Poland

Mariusz Golebiowski is chipping away at his doctorate thesis here on Bainbridge.  - Sean Roach/Staff Photo
Mariusz Golebiowski is chipping away at his doctorate thesis here on Bainbridge.
— image credit: Sean Roach/Staff Photo

An east European graduate student comes to the island for business insights.

Mariusz Golebiowski has flown over 9,000 miles from home to export ground-breaking business practices back to his native country Poland.

This jovial traveler may seem like just another international student escaping the trappings of the bookworm life – he even finds accommodation by means of the popular backpacking website, couchsurfing.com.

But he’s on a mission to change the way Polish students approach business and international culture. His doctorate research centers on “intrapeneurship,” and for him there was only one destination to study this burgeoning economic practice: Bainbridge Island.

“Every book I read about the subject, I kept seeing Gifford Pinchot, Gifford Pinchot, Gifford Pinchot…” Golebiowski said.

Pinchot, the founder of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and Pinchot & Company, is the leading proponent on the business ideas that piqued Golebiowski’s interest, coining the term in 1985 with his book “Intrapreneuring in Action.”

Intrapreneurship is the practice of using entrepreneurial skills and approaches within a company rather than just outside of it.

Employees in a large firm for example, are to use the resources and capabilities of the larger firm to create new business niches, thereby reducing individual risk and injecting new sources of income into larger corporate bodies.

The practice is pertinent to the growing influence of economic regionalism in the European Union, into which Poland was inducted in 2004.

“It will be a new practice for us (Poland), how to be an intrapeneur and how we can use big companies to build our own businesses,” Golebiowski said. “Often in Poland when students graduate they don’t want to build their own businesses and young people will leave Poland to make money.

“This is not good for the Polish economy so it’s very important to encourage young people to stay and make new businesses.”

To become the foremost Polish expert on intrapreneuring, Golebiowski will spend three weeks on Bainbridge interviewing members of BGI and studying the latest practices in the field relating to international culture, sustainable development and motivation systems.

The latter is a concept that Golebiowski is used to.

“I am highly motivated to go anywhere to find relevant material for my thesis. Some people are scared to get out there,” he said. “But we don’t have a lot of books on the subject back home. One day on Bainbridge for me is like one month of studying in Poland.”

After finishing his research of BGI and Pinchot & Company he will travel to Shanghai, China to observe the 3M corporation and how they use intrapreneurship within their regional structure.

As consultant and member of Polish Economic Society and an instructor in the Department of Entrepreneurship and Industrial Policy at the Univeristy of Lodz, he will present his findings to polish scientists and economists in an effort to direct national economic imperatives.

He believes his work will be recognized as the year’s the most important doctoral thesis on economics.

These assumptions are not cocky considering Golebiowski’s background and credentials. His master’s thesis in Foresight, the critical thinking, science and strategy concerning long-term development decisions, won the award for best master’s thesis in economic and social science in his country.

Research has taken him to Germany, Austria, Britain and parts of Asia, where he consulted with businessmen and economic scientists discussing how to create and predict the future.

The constant flux of Golebiowski’s life allows him to have “many irons in the fire” and after another two years of doctorate work he will concentrate on his other numerous projects that aim at fostering international economic relations in Poland.

As the founder of Globalni, a cooperative enterprise aimed at integrating international culture through doctoral student exchanges, his travels to more than 50 countries not only build his enterprise, but help him live out the organization’s motto.

“We should know more about other cultures and countries to make better economic practices,” Golebiowski said. “It’s high demand to build this type of organization because ‘the world is closer than you think.’”

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