This topic examines the psychological and social trait theories of entrepreneurship; environmental factors likely to trigger enterprising behaviour; the role of creativity and achievement drive and concepts for evaluating individual entrepreneurial traits.The factors influencing entrepreneurship are found both internally and externally to the individual, comprising a combination of personality traits and environmental influences.
Entrepreneurs are typically characterised by strong achievement drive, high levels of creativity, a desire for autonomy, a willingness to take calculated risks, and an internal locus of control. These are key enterprising tendencies that are inherent in all people regardless of their background, age, ethnicity or personality.
Entrepreneurs are not born but interact with their environment to apply their enterprise tendencies into entrepreneurial activities. Entrepreneurial motivation is triggered by the individual’s entrepreneurial orientation, personal goals and the opportunities available to them in their environment.
The factors that influence entrepreneurial behaviour are the individual’s ability to recognise opportunities and act upon them, but to learn from their experiences and undertake realistic self-evaluation. Each stage of our lives presents different opportunities for entrepreneurial behaviour. Individuals develop personal theories of what they can achieve and shape these through their active learning and pursuit of ambitious goals. Their confidence and self-belief are critical to entrepreneurial activity.
Entrepreneurial orientation is a measure of the level of innovativeness, pro-activity and risk taking proclivity inherent in an organisation. Managers need to encourage entrepreneurial orientation within their firms. Finally, while entrepreneurship can have many benefits, it can also have a dark side characterised by overwork, stress and risk. There can be risks to career, family and social relationships and the psychological well-being of the entrepreneur.
Textbooks and readings
Brockhaus, R. H. (1980). "Risk Taking Propensity of Entrepreneurs." Academy of Management Journal 23(3): 509-520.
Brockhaus, R. H. (1987). "Entrepreneurial Folklore." Journal of Small Business Management 25(1): 1-6.
Caird, S. (1991). "The Enterprising Tendency of Occupational Groups." International Small Business Journal 9(4): 75-81.
Caird, S. (1991). "Testing Enterprising Tendency in Occupational Groups." British Journal of Management 2(4): 177-187.
Caird, S. (1992). "Problems with the identification of enterprise competencies and the implications for assessment and development." Management Education and Development 23(1): 6-17.
Caird, S. (1993). "What Do Psychological Tests Suggest about Entrepreneurs?" Journal of Managerial Psychology 8(6): 11-20.
Kreiser, P. M., Marino, L.D., and Weaver, K.M. (2002). "Assessing the Psychometric Properties of the Entrepreneurial Orientation Scale: A Multi-Country Analysis." Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice 26(4): 71-94.
Landström, H., Harirchi, G., and Åström, F. (2012). "Entrepreneurship: Exploring the knowledge base." Research Policy 14(7): 1154-1181.
Lumpkin, G. T., and Dess, G.G. (1996). "Clarifying the Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct and Linking it to Performance." Academy of Management Review 21(1): 135-172.
Morrison, A. (2000). "Entrepreneurship: What triggers it?" International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research 6(6): 59-71.
Rae, D. (2000). "Understanding Entrepreneurial Learning: A Question of How?" International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research 6(3): 145-159.