Van Dorp Rotterdam; ‘Entrepreneurs within the organisation’

Van Dorp Rotterdam; ‘Entrepreneurs within the organisation’


2017 – The family business Van Dorp is an all over the Netherlands working complete installer of sustainable (energy) concepts for utility building. The whole organisation has around 1000 employees. The location in Rotterdam has around 150 employees. The case description is about the location in Rotterdam.


Social Innovation

Being sustainable and innovative, those are this company’s goals. This requires entrepreneurial behaviour of the employees. This behaviour is stimulated within the organisation and room is given to all the employees to show it. A manager of the location tells; ‘when you give people responsibility, you also have to give them the space and opportunity to make mistakes and learn from that’.

Within the two departments of the location; ‘Service & Maintenance’ and ‘Projects’, teams work together and are substantively responsible for their own service and maintenance work and their own projects. They are responsible for the results. The managers of the two departments are responsible at tactic and strategic level in the location. The latter together with a two-man managing board. The employees of the organisation have a lot of contact with their customers and the company puts their customers in a central position. This causes that employees quickly think along with their customers and take initiative.



Within this organisation there is a top-down approach in which the customer has a central position and taking responsibility plays a big part. The company is transitioning from a more directive leadership style to a more serving and motivating leadership style.

Monthly, ‘toolbox-meetings’ take place, in which the vision and goals of the organisation are discussed and everyone is kept up to date on what is going on in the organisation.

The employees are stimulated to bring their own ideas into practice. A manager of the location tells; ‘I’m completely in favour of that, just do it and then we will see what it brings us’.



Van Dorp Rotterdam is a fast growing location within the entire organisation Van Dorp. The satisfaction of the customers is currently rated with a 7,5 out of 10. Also continuity is seen as a very important result.


Lessons Learned

The feeling of being allowed to make mistakes has not yet spread satisfactorily in the location. ‘Letting go’, at the management side and ‘taking responsibility’ at the employees side don’t always go the way it should; this probably is caused by the recent merger and reorganisation and the directive leadership style that was applied until recently.



Korteweg, Mirna. ‘Van Dorp Rotterdam; ‘Ondernemers binnen de organisatie’. 2017. Rotterdam, Erasmus University & Leiden, TNO. The full case description (in Dutch, pdf) is attached.


Theme: Intrapreneurship

Sector: (Manufacturing) industry

Source: Case