ASSESSING ENTREPRENEURIAL INCLINATIONS 7
© 2000 Psychology Press Ltd
EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF WORK AND ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY, 2000, 9 (1), 7–30 Assessing entrepreneurial inclinations:
Some approaches and empirical evidence
University of Ulster, Jordanstown, Northern Ireland
Interest in entrepreneurship is intense in many parts of the world and this has arisen because of the association between new venture creation and economic development. Entrepreneurship is a process that often leads to the creation of new enterprises but in this article the concept is broadened to include innovative and enterprising behaviour within existing organizations. While it is recognized that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship are the products of various societal, organizational, and individual factors, this article focuses on the inherent personal traits of individuals that dispose them to engage in entrepreneurial acts. Some approaches to assessing the entrepreneurial personality are examined, but the principal focus is on pencil and paper measures of entrepreneurial attributes. Various instruments that purport to measure key entrepreneurial characteristics such as need for achievement, locus of control, and creative tendencies are considered and relevant empirical evidence is reported. A consideration of the appropriateness of the Durham University Business School’s General Enterprising Tendency test as a composite instrument for assessing enterprising or entrepreneurial tendencies follows along with some statistical norms for this test, which should prove useful for practitioners and academics alike. Finally, some problems with trait theories of entrepreneurship are discussed.
Recent years have witnessed a remarkable increase in discussion and research on entrepreneurship; indeed, it is difficult to listen to a political debate nowadays without some reference to the subject. It is topical because entrepreneurship and related issues such as innovation and enterprise are regarded as crucial determinants of economic growth and prosperity (Drucker, 1985). However, the debate about how to increase entrepreneurship has been hampered by a lack of agreed definitions of entrepreneurship and associated topics. Therefore, in this article, it is proposed to explore the nature of entrepreneurship and similar concepts such as enterprise and explain why they are especially important for Requests for reprints should be addressed to S. Cromie, University of Ulster, Shore Road, Jordanstown, Co Antrim BT37 0QB. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
economic development at the present time. The issue of how to recognise individuals with the capacity to initiate entrepreneurial events will then be addressed.
Entrepreneurship has had a long association with economics (Kuratko & Hodgetts, 1995), and is closely linked with efforts to create wealth by causing or responding alertly to shifts in demand or supply rather than by optimally utilizing existing resources. Entrepreneurship “consists in doing things that are not generally done in the ordinary course of business routine” (Schumpeter, 1951, p. 255), is a “dynamic process of creating incremental wealth” (Ronstadt, 1984, p 28), is concerned with doing different things, not doing things better and typically involves such activity as upgrading “the yield from resources”, creating “a new market” or additional “purchasing power” (Drucker, 1985, pp. 19 & 27). It is not enough to have new ideas, they must lead to “the successful production, assimilation and exploitation of novelty in society” through innovation (European Union, 1996, p. 9). Many authors consider that entrepreneurship and innovation are closely linked (Drucker, 1985; Fulop, 1991; Kanter, 1989; Schumpeter, 1951); indeed, Drucker suggests that innovation is the major tool of entrepreneurship. For Drucker, innovation is a systematic search for the changes that are...
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