Entrepreneurial Motivation

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1.0 Introduction

The study of the successful entrepreneurship is important for several reasons:

• Schumpeter, 1934, described entrepreneurship as the engine that drives innovation and change, and subsequently economic growth

• Austrian economist Kirzner believes entrepreneurship is the mode through which equilibrium of supply and demand is reached

• According to Shane and Venkataraman entrepreneurship converts knowledge into marketable products and services: thus a means of encouraging human creativity, and

• Zahra and Dess, 2001, see entrepreneurship as a vocation itself that has a large role in modern day capitalism

All of the above takes on entrepreneurship can be justified only if the ventures undertaken are successful in the long term, as the success of entrepreneurs can only be gauged by its contribution to the economic engine, be it local or global. And like all feasts of human achievement the desire to succeed needs to back by tenacity and hard work, both of which are derivatives of motivation.

Thus the objective of this paper is to review the relationship between motivation and entrepreneurial success.

2.0 Understanding entrepreneurship

Most of the entrepreneurial theories emphasise the entrepreneur as a innovator or a creative force (Kirzner, Schumpeter) but it is important to note the term entrepreneur should be not be associated with innovators. It should instead be given to individuals who recognise a gaping hole in a market or recognise the commercial potential of a product/ service and take the necessary action to actually create demand. However, in most circumstances innovators actually see the commercial opportunity themselves.

3.0 Role of motivation in entrepreneurship

3.1 How motivation applies when exploiting an idea

Bill Gates saw an opportunity in selling standalone operating software whereas IBM at the time did not. The commercial value that Bill Gates attached to this concept was much higher than IBM even envisaged. This possible value attached to this concept gave Bill Gates and Paul Allen the motivation to set up a company and cash in on the opportunity.

To understand the role of motivation in entrepreneurship it is important to understand the relationship between opportunity and the level of motivation. For, creating a particular product or service may be done by anyone with similar levels of technical competence and necessary financial and operational resources. But the motivation to actually convert that opportunity into a commercially viable venture will depend on the perception of opportunity presented.

Opportunities are aspects of the environment that represent potentialities for profit making. But there are various definitions of entrepreneurial opportunities.

Shane and Venkataraman (2000) defined entrepreneurial opportunities as ‘‘situations in which new goods, services, raw materials, and organizing methods can be introduced and sold at greater than the cost of their production.’’

Entrepreneurs can pursue opportunities in any industry at any time. For example, some entrepreneurs build successful new companies by creating new industries, like Rober Swanson with bio-technology. On the other hand entrepreneurs build new companies in old and mature industries, like Sam Walton in retailing. This illustrates the level of motivation is not attached to a particular product or innovation alone, but also on the entrepreneurs perception of the future of an existing industry.

The value of opportunities, for entrepreneur motivation, also varies within industries. Because the opportunities that entrepreneurs identify and pursue have different economic value, the opportunities themselves influence entrepreneurial behaviour.

For example, in the early 1970s, Butler Lampson and Chuck Thacker, researchers at Xerox Parc, invented the Alto—the first personal computer (PC) at a cost of US$10000. In contrast, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak...
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