Most successful researchers are good entrepreneurs. Getting funding, access to data, getting good PhD students, finding co-authors, organizing sessions at conferences, getting new courses listed, recruiting new researchers to your ideas, and so on, all require a certain amount of drive and networking. Researchers work in the (cliche alert) ‘marketplace of ideas.’ Not all the markets are large, but there are markets you need to service.
Sure there are lots of entrenched people in academics, but even they had to be entrepreneurial at some point in their careers Although it may not take a lot of home-runs, it takes some. (Home run is surely a relative term here.)
And there is institutional power–once you are a professor at school X, you control lots of resources. But it requires a certain amount of entrepreneurial effort to become a professor at school X.
I always laugh when I see how academics are portrayed on TV shows. Corduroy-jacket wearing, dreamy wankers. With glasses, too.