Business Pipeline – Definition

Cite this article as:"Business Pipeline – Definition," in The Business Professor, updated April 7, 2019, last accessed October 20, 2020,


Pipeline (Business Operations) – Definition

An operational phase that leads to achieving long term goals is called a Pipeline. It is an exercise with some risk and considerable time delays, but serves to get to the next phase of the bigger plan with defined goals like the launch of an IPO. It encompasses all the intermediate steps from the conceptualisation of a new investment plan, to bringing it to fruition.

A Little More on What is a Pipeline

A pipeline is an important developmental phase of an investment product or investment plan. Here are a couple of Pipeline examples that shed light on its various aspects:

  1. Underwriting: The Securities Exchange Commision (SEC) requires the completion of this procedure before stocks or securities are made available to the public.
  2. Time period between application for a mortgage loan and the successful property acquisition. Steps encompassing the intermediate stage are known as the Pipeline and involve high risks.
  3. Clearance of securities for sale by the SEC once the underwriting firm has completed due procedure is another phase of the Pipeline that involves screening, acquiring official permits and legitimacy for the securities on sale.

Pipeline Companies

Companies such as Underwriting firms are called Pipeline companies. They have no product or service to offer except serving as a conduit for investment plans to pass through. Pipeline theories advocate for providing extra tax sops like exemption from corporate taxes to such firms. An example of a Pipeline company is a mutual funds management firm that manages monetary investments on behalf of its clients.

References for Pipeline in Business

References for Business Business

Managing the community’s pipeline of entrepreneurs and enterprises: A new way of thinking about business assets, Lichtenstein, G. A., & Lyons, T. S. (2006). Economic Development Quarterly, 20(4), 377-386. This article proposes a methodical approach to manage the Pipeline phase of investments with regards to the assets of entrepreneurs and enterprises.

Managing the pipeline effectively, Ploos van Amstel, M. J. (1990). Journal of Business Logistics, 11(2), 1-25. This article discusses effective management of Pipeline phases.

Developing your leadership pipeline, Conger, J. A., & Fulmer, R. M. (2003). Harvard business review, 81(12), 76-85. This paper focuses on the management and leadership for the Pipeline phase of operations.

Leadership competencies across organizational levels: A test of the pipeline model, Dai, G., Yii Tang, K., & De Meuse, K. P. (2011). Journal of Management Development, 30(4), 366-380. This paper tests the Pipeline model of leadership for different levels across the organization.

Filling the pipeline for IS professionals: What can IS faculty do?, Kuechler, W., McLeod, A., & Simkin, M. G. (2009). Journal of Information Systems Education, 20(4), 407. This paper looks at Pipeline management for attracting more students to the Information Systems field in the education sector and the role of faculties in this Pipeline.

Structuring the new product development pipeline, Ding, M., & Eliashberg, J. (2002). Management Science, 48(3), 343-363. This paper sheds light on Pipeline structuring during a new product development cycle.

Managing capabilities for talent engagement and pipeline development, Bhatnagar, J. (2008). Industrial and commercial training, 40(1), 19-28. This paper presents a case study based on best practices in building the talent Pipeline in management and development.

Pipeline Integrity Management: part of the core business activities in the gas industry, Verberg, G. H. (2005). The International Gas Union (IGU). This paper takes a look at the Pipeline activities and management in the Gas industry.

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