Antecedents in the Life of Bob Ansett

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Topic: Personal, sociological and environmental antecedents have been identified in the entrepreneurial business. You are to find an article on an entrepreneur in a tourism or hospitality business and discuss your entrepreneur’s personal, sociological and environmental antecedents.

Personal, sociological and environmental antecedents experienced by an individual and the consequences of these antecedents are critical in determining whether that individual has the capacity to become an entrepreneur or not (Zahra et al. 1999). For the purposes of this essay, the entrepreneur under discussion is Robert Ansett, an Australian entrepreneur in the transport and tourism industry. The reason for choosing this individual for this is essay is because all three antecedents – personal, sociological and environmental – have played a big role in creating the entrepreneur that is Bob Ansett. Being the chief innovator for 25 years behind the Budget Rent a Car system and expanding this organisation into a worldwide empire from what was initially a small business had allowed Mr. Ansett to possess qualities such as leadership and extensive operational knowledge (Olsen 2010). Using real life examples of Mr. Ansett’s career from the article based on his life (from Bob Ansett’s website), this essay will discuss how personal, sociological and environmental antecedents played a part in shaping such this entrepreneurial career.

According to Cunningham and Lischeron (1991), an entrepreneur’s personal antecedents relate to his ‘values towards work and life’ (pg 47). They suggest that through relationships with friends and peers, an individual gains values and ideals which determine whether or not he develops the mentality of an entrepreneur. As well, the role of the family is the most influential antecedent of a personal nature, and can come in the form of motivation and/or financial support (Shapero & Sokol 1982). Bob Ansett was born into the tourism business. He was the son of the late Sir Reg Ansett, founder of Ansett Airlines. Although Bob Ansett was never included in his father’s business activities, he was determined to prove to his father that he too was equally capable of creating a successful empire such as his father’s. Although Mr. Ansett never followed in the footsteps of taking over his father’s company, he recognised his father as a great entrepreneur and inspired himself to achieve levels of success equivalent to his father’s (Bob Ansett – Spirits of Ansett 2008).

Another important personal antecedent to consider is education. Studies by Brockhaus and Horwitz (1986) established that the most promising entrepreneurs are those who have had both appropriate education and previous work experience. According to the chosen article, Mr. Ansett was schooled in the United States and had developed a passion for the business at an early age as well, thus laying the perfect foundation for an entrepreneurial future.

Apart from personal antecedents, sociological antecedents too have a big role in shaping the career of the chosen entrepreneur. Mill (1984) argues that the crucial factor in classifying an individual as an entrepreneur is his tendency to take risk. However, a true entrepreneur takes these risks in a balanced and moderate manner. For example, after joining Budget, Mr. Ansett introduced concepts of franchising, and exporting the business to countries outside of Australia. According to Olsen (2010), the company achieved quick growth and market leadership among its competition as a result of these decisions. Mr. Ansett made such decisions after analysing the alternatives and the consequences of the final decision, thus making the risk more moderate and a calculated one.

A high need for achievement is another quality possessed by Mr. Ansett that led him to become an entrepreneur. Mr. Ansett had a drive for the business at an early age as stated previously, but this hunger for being the best in the business has lasted till today....
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