Baidu’s Robin Li: Is Entrepreneurial Success Nature or Nurture? Introduction and Background
The United States and the United Kingdom are well documented for their entrepreneurial endeavors. However, the opening up of China, the term which refers to the political, social and economic reforms that began at the end of the 1970s, have provided a number of opportunities for commercial endeavors that were previously impossible, to a variety of macroeconomic and environmental factors that stifles entrepreneurship.
Over the years have a great deal of research has been invested in attempting to understand what it is that makes a successful entrepreneur. There is by no means a coherent picture painted within literature. Still, there are two glaring ideas that stand out as contributing to entrepreneurial success: one suggests family background and social status can contribute to entrepreneurship (nurture) and the other view suggests entrepreneurial success results from self confidence, intelligent, openness to experience or attitude towards risk (nature, e.g. personality characteristics, cognitive traits (IQ), etc (Djankov, et al 2007). The purpose of this brief study is to determine how much the nurture and nature perspective is relevant to entrepreneur Robin Li, who founded Baidu, the popular search engine in China that holds 70% market share in China and is looking to expand services and other Asian, like Japan, hoping to duplicate the success that it had in its home region of operation ("Baidu aims", 2008).
To execute this task, the first section that follows will review the literature that exists about the nature and nurture perspective of entrepreneurial success. The second section will briefly review the methods. The third section will present the findings and analysis. The four sections will conclude with the summary of the study' results. The general findings of this report suggest that both the nurture and nature perspective is critical in facilitating entrepreneurs to start their business successfully and he should not be viewed as polar opposites. However, there is some implication that the nurture perspective may be more influential as pertaining to successfully launching entrepreneurial endeavors given China's market and social condition presently which seems largely dependent on social networks and social capital.
The Nature Perspective
One of the earlier schools attempting to understand the factors that may contribute to entrepreneurship were those in the social sciences who posited that nature plays a role in may become a successful entrepreneur. This group of researchers emphasized certain traits like self-confidence, the need for achievement, and greater decisiveness in decision-making, and risk taking. Risk-taking is seen to be an inherent characteristic of entrepreneurs due to the influence of JS Mill, and economist, who argued that this quality was the "distinguishing feature" of the entrepreneur versus the manager (Brockhaus & Horwitz, 1986). Schumpeter added to this perspective, noting that having a tendency to be innovative was another distinguishing factor that set entrepreneurs and managers apart because the entrepreneur finds that makes use of new ideas (Stevenson & Gumpert, 2001).
Other work has been conducted focusing on the specific traits of successful entrepreneurs. The big five personality traits have also been commonly cited as playing a role in successful entrepreneurship. Other researchers focusing on personality have examined the role of their disposition to interpersonal trust and diligence, particularly as it pertains to being able to recognize opportunities (Gordon, 2007). Other personality traits that have been linked to entrepreneurial success include passion and tenacity.
While personality traits are often touted in literature, researchers have found methodological problems. There are times in which cultural differences may change the relationship "between personality...
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