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Are individuals born with certain characteristics that predispose them to entrepreneurial endeavors?

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Introduction

Are individuals born with certain characteristics that predispose them to entrepreneurial endeavors? Is there a set of traits that can be attributed to an entrepreneurial personality? Or does environmental context, such as early exposure to entrepreneurialism make the entrepreneur? Questions such as these are often the topic of inquiry and debate among researchers in the field of entrepreneurship. Considering the fact that small businesses have created nearly all of the net new jobs (number of new jobs created minus number of jobs that have been terminated) in recent years (Office of Advocacy, 1998), it is the practical significance of whether entrepreneurs are born or made that makes this question important. This digest will explore various perspectives on the origins of entrepreneurial behavior. In addition, criticisms of existing approaches will be discussed, and implications for entrepreneurship education will be suggested. Finally, resources for self-testing entrepreneurial capabilities will be listed. Are Entrepreneurs Born or Made? Professor of Psychology Alan Jacobowitz, holds that entrepreneurs are born, not made (Cohen, 1980 July). Through interviews with over 500 entrepreneurs over a three year period, Jacobwitz observed that entrepreneurs commonly share certain personality characteristics. These include: restlessness, independence, a tendency to be a loner, and extreme self confidence (Cohen, 1980 July). ...read more.

Middle

They conclude that, like the intention to act entrepreneurially, the decision to continue behavior is influenced by the interaction of various factors. These include individual characteristics, individual environment, business environment, an individual's personal goal set, and the existence of a viable business idea. Through these interacting factors, individuals make several comparisons between their perceptions of a probable outcome, their intended goals, intended behavior and actual outcomes. The model predicts that when the outcomes meet or exceed perceived outcomes, positive behavior (continued engagement in entrepreneurialism) is reinforced. It also predicts that the opposite occurs when the perceived outcomes are not met. This model clearly incorporates psychological, behavioral and situational factors. While it would appear that the "made" side of the born/made argument is winning at this point in entrepreneurial research, criticisms exist for both sides. The way in which entrepreneurship is defined differs across approaches and studies. Some define it as having the intent to own, or already owning a business (Crant, 1996, Langan-Fox & Roth, 1995). Others counter that among business owners, there are qualitative differences that determine true entrepreneurialism from engaging in business ownership as a means of financial survival (Schein, 1994, Solomon, 1989). ...read more.

Conclusion

As small business has been deemed the icon of economic force for the twenty-first century, perhaps the initial question of whether entrepreneurs can be made has been replaced by the new one of how entrepreneurship can best be facilitated. The Entrepreneurial Personality Want to know how to become an entrepreneur? What exactly does it take to be an entrepreneur? Which personality traits make for success? Read this article to see if you have what it takes. FICTION: To be an entrepreneur you must be born that way. FACT: Anyone can learn to operate like an entrepreneur. What are the similarities of successful entrepreneurs? Research suggests that entrepreneurs often possess these traits: * persistence * desire for immediate feedback * inquisitiveness * strong drive to achieve * high energy level * goal oriented behavior * independent * demanding * self-confident * calculated risk taker * creative * innovative * vision * commitment * problem solving skills * tolerance for ambiguity * strong integrity * highly reliable * personal initiative * ability to consolidate resources * strong management and organizational skills * competitive * change agent * tolerance for failure * desire to work hard * luck Many entrepreneurs also had: * A role model to influence them early on; and * parents who were entrepreneurs ...read more.

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