On Some of the Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship
University Malaysia Perlis
Entrepreneurship has been played up by the media as a visionary and
heroic activity. Individual entrepreneurs have been glorified through
media coverage, biographies, and publicity contributing to many
government and public misconceptions entrepreneurship. This paper
examines some of the myths about entrepreneurship, looking at relevant
research and statistics, and paints a very different picture to general
public perceptions. The paper then goes on to postulate that
entrepreneurship is only part of the firm lifecycle, very little
innovation is generated by start-up ventures, there is no common
entrepreneurial type of person, people start new businesses for
non-rational reasons, very few entrepreneurs actually have high growth
ambitions, new firms generally don’t survive long, there are no success
formulas, entrepreneurs are actually risk averse, successful products
don’t make successful businesses, new product development rather than
invention is needed, and that entrepreneurship doesn’t really contribute
to economic growth. Before concluding, this paper briefly discusses
entrepreneurial education, particularly that in the developing countries
economic development, entrepreneurship, enterprise lifecycle,
entrepreneurship education, firm survival, growth, innovation,
invention, personality traits, risk.
Entrepreneurship has been glorified by media stories, biographies of
successful entrepreneurs, and events like ‘entrepreneurship
week’, ‘business plan competitions’,
and ‘entrepreneurship awards’.
Business schools have developed inspiring spiels about becoming an
and many governments have made entrepreneurship the centerpiece of
regional development policy.
But the truth of the matter is very different. Entrepreneurship is more
a narrative about survival and subsistence, than growth and glory.
Entrepreneurship has been turned into a myth that is not supported by
What entrepreneurship really is does not match our general perceptions
about the phenomenon. Many realities in the area don’t support the image
portrayed in the media, by business schools, and generally accepted
notions in society.
This paper highlights some of the realities of entrepreneurship that may
surprise many, be counterintuitive to what is generally believed, and
debunk some of the glorified misconceptions on the subject. The issues
covered in this paper provide a different reflection upon
entrepreneurship that should be taken account of in policy making,
education, and seen as a cautionary note about the general realities of
1. Entrepreneurship is
just a stage in the enterprise lifecycle
Most new businesses commence with someone seeing an opportunity and
developing the resulting idea into a visualized product, service, or
event in the future. This is the result of perception, an
interpretation, combining perceptions and interpretations with prior
knowledge into an idea, and the development of the motivation to take
action upon that idea. In most cases the idea does not exactly fit the
metaphorical dimensions of the opportunity and the manifested products,
strategies, resources, capabilities, and organization must be
manipulated until there is a tight fit. These actions when yielding
positive results create a new source of value which the enterprise is
able to benefit from. This dynamic construct can be seen as the product
of an entrepreneurial mindset,
and the resulting actions as entrepreneurial behavior.
The eventual match between the enterprise and the opportunity will lead
the firm on a growth trajectory. As the enterprise develops from a
haphazard string of activities to a much more formalized organization,
strategy will begin to become formalized into procedure and the founder
will begin the process of managing it. The focus will turn from
opportunity to operations. Founders become absorbed with accounting,
manufacturing, customer service, sales, and forget to develop the
business. The very people who brought success to the enterprise become
involved in every crisis that comes along. Thus the start-up stage
transcends into the growth stage where organizational development
entails greater bureaucracy with added procedures that bring rigidity to
In the early life of the enterprise conventional rules of management and
strategy are ignored in a scramble to develop a product or service and
get it quickly to the marketplace to generate enough sales to survive.
This is very haphazard where best practices and production efficiencies
are almost irrelevant in the mind of any founder, particularly an SME.
Strategy to date has been intuitively based upon a vision that keeps the
founder and the enterprise moving forward. This is where creativity and
innovation is at the maximum.
As the enterprise grows research and new product development becomes
more of a formal process based upon the products and themes that gave
the firm initial success. Consequently the new product development
process itself becomes a ‘built
in’ rigidity that locks the
enterprise into its current trajectory. The enterprise will tend to
cease looking for new opportunities, choosing to focus on extending,
modifying, renewing, and diversifying what it already has. Once a firm
starts looking back upon its past successes and becomes guided in its
future actions by the past, the firm losses its ability to act
entrepreneurially. In the way the new product development process
actually inhibits innovation keeping firms on past trajectories.
A leader after a period of time often becomes tired and complacent. This
is very common in founder/entrepreneurs who have led a company from
initial start-up and corporate leaders who have been in their position
for a long period of time.
The phenomena of complacency can be seen as a major reason contributing
to the changeover of governments at elections within some democratic
After some time, governments become perceived as being out of new ideas,
tired, complacent and arrogant, where they are voted out of office.
Complacency is a characteristic that gradually sets into a person who
becomes very comfortable, gets bored, and is tired of the same issues
and problems each day. Past success tends to bring high self confidence
in people, where they are satisfied with their success and wish to ‘rest
on their laurels’. Sometimes
this over confidence brings arrogance. Leaders believe that they know
all there is to know about the market and cease to scan the environment
for new threats and opportunities. Within this scenario, motivation will
slowly decline and new ideas, self discipline, general focus and
concentration will wane. The leader’s complacency will eventually spread
to the rest of the organization where subordinates also lose interest,
their sense of creativity, motivation and passing of information around
the organization. This affects general productivity, customer service,
supplier and other stakeholder relationships.
Complacent people never see themselves as complacent as they are proud
of their past success, believe that they are invincible and that life
will go on as it is. In an organizational context, the meaning of its
very existence and the qualities which gave it the original success
start eroding. The company will begin falling behind its competitors
without company members really realizing it. The ambition to do new
things lessens, opportunities and threats start being ignored, and a
bias for action becomes a bias for complacency – the opposite quality to
what made it once successful. Complacency is a state of mind and becomes
a screen hiding the environment. The founder/manager becomes personally
scared of the consequences of any change that involves taking risks
Judith M. Bardwick argued that complacency has seeped into Western
corporations through the loss of traditional work ethics. The work
culture that has evolved since the 1950s has developed a number of
informal ways in which people avoid taking risks. Organizations have
developed bureaucracies, hierarchies, rules and procedures which make
people comfortable, where good, bad, and no performance are all treated
the same. People are encouraged to do ‘pseudowork’
to look good,
following rules rather than achieving goals.
People look at their leaders for direction rather than building strategy
upon the environmental situation.
Complacency is based on fear and anxiety about being helpless and having
no control over what is happening. People seek power over others to
protect their own existence through controlling their immediate internal
environment. This leads to ignoring the outside environment where
strategy becomes very passive due to denial of change and the wish to
cling to the present.
People use up all their psychic energies to cope with the anxiety and
fear of feeling helpless. This brings on narcissism, paranoia, rigidity,
cynicism and politics where people become too
to deal with the external environment.
John Kotter elaborated of the concept of
and described a phenomenon opposite to
complacency called ‘false
is a situation where the organization is busy undertaking tasks for
things that are not important to its progress or survival.
takes up a lot of energy for what many see as causeless activities.
Employees become angry, anxious, frustrated and tired. Similarly,
leaders who continually drive their staff to higher and higher levels of
activity, drain their energy until fatigue sets in. Both these
situations takeaway focus from the environment where potential threats
and opportunities that may emerge are not seen, and if seen, ignored.
Complacency can be widely seen in many government departments, where
there are no alternative services available to the client. Complacency
was tackled through benchmarking and customer quality programs in the
1980s. Complacency can also be seen in industries that are highly
regulated and/or a near monopolistic or oligopolistic situation exists.
Examples include telephone services, which held monopolies before
deregulation and the advent of mobile services, the post office, before
the advent of couriers, facsimile and email and airlines and public
transport before deregulation and privatization was implemented.
One of the symptoms of complacency is blindness to changes in the
outside environment and a tendency to believe ‘that
the future will just be like the past’.
This was at great cost to the US
auto-industry in the 1980s. The large number of firms dropping off the ‘500
lists’ each year is testimony
that this is a common problem within corporations.
If a firm remains blind to the environment, failing to notice
diminishing and emerging opportunities, it will slowly decline until it
is no longer sustainable. This clinging to the desire of permanence
leads to ignorance of the realities within the environment, leaving the
organization susceptible to competition from other organizations, and
emerging technologies. This can be clearly seen in the bankruptcy of
Bethlehem Steel Corporation that failed to deal with internal employee
superannuation issues and the advance of overseas competition, new
technologies, and business models in the industry that were more cost
effective. However if a firm through some form of shock or catastrophe
comes to the realization of crisis, it may have the chance to act,
i.e., this metaphorical mid-life
crisis may bring on a second entrepreneurial period to the firm.
The second entrepreneurial period
may allow the firm to undergo regeneration where it becomes relevant to
the environment again. However this in reality is an exception to the
The highly desirable strategies of today may be losing strategies of
tomorrow just as Fletcher Jones, Blockbuster Video, and Bethlehem Steel
encountered, leading to their demise.
Although new product development is one of the most important strategies
for sustainability of a company,
too many companies turn away from innovation and cut costs and expenses
as a reaction to declining performance, without looking into the root
causes, which may be product life-cycle based or competitive based,
which require an entrepreneurial solution. Usually a panic response
further stifling innovation of the company. The ability to become
entrepreneurial once again is a difficult alternative, as under
pressure, the following problems arise;
Finding the right
opportunities and appropriate innovation necessary to develop them,
Reducing development times
without reducing quality and innovation,
Building and maintaining brand
equity through a strong product,
Integrating market, design
engineering and production processes to produce, and products that are
considered useful and desirable by consumers.
The above is the trap for
enterprises that don’t see entrepreneurial management as a continuous process,
even if it is an implicit and background process, within the company and the
minds of those who manage it. The entrepreneur, especially after start up and
turning into an SME can be trapped by the scenario above, lending support to
Drucker’s postulation that entrepreneurship is only a stage in the development
of a firm and the entrepreneurial state can be grown out of.
This is compounded by the small firm’s lack of resources, time, technology and
expertise to research new ideas and innovations to develop the business.
Figure 1. The Enterprise Lifecycle
The possibility that entrepreneurship is only a stage in the lifecycle of a firm
has many implications for education discussed later in this paper and
innovation, discussed in the next section.
2. There is little innovation
involved in start-up firms around the world
There are a multitude of media pieces and books on ‘high
tech’ entrepreneurship giving the
impression that the majority of entrepreneurial start-ups are of a technology
nature. In fact Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s (GEM) own data shows that most
start ups occur within the service and retail industries.
In addition the vast majority of start-ups in 54 surveyed countries were of a
Other studies show that almost half of new businesses within the United States
are home based and less than 5% graduate beyond this level after a five year
Australia the home business rate is almost 70% of all businesses.
The reality is that most new businesses formed employ existing technology
available and create no new technologies at all. Although so much
entrepreneurship literature focuses on high tech start-ups, these types of firms
are only a very small percentage of new firm start-ups.
To understand what types of opportunities people exploit one must look at how
people find opportunities. It appears that very few people actually formally
scan the environment for opportunities. If people did, they would not start-up
in industries with high competition and low profit margins, like the majority do.
An opportunity, or more specifically and an idea to exploit what is seen as an
opportunity evolves within a framework of time, place, prior knowledge,
motivation, and the necessary creativity to connect everything together. The
subjective nature of opportunity makes it impossible to separate the concept
from an individual. Therefore opportunity has a deep basis within one’s personal
prior knowledge, experience, personal aspirations, imagination, and fear of
uncertainty. Consequently most new ideas have a basis in some old idea,
something seen or experienced in the past.
Most people see an idea somewhere and duplicate it somewhere else, with or
without modification. The average start-up is something mundane like a sandwich
bar, cafeteria, coffee shop, computer repairer, some form of retail outlet, a
service supplier to other business, or small manufacturing operation.
They have seen something, feel the concept could work in a particular place for
them, have the skills, capabilities, resources, networks, and are motivated
enough to pursue the idea. There is very little innovation involved. Over 70% of
business founders feel that their start up efforts were unsuccessful,
and cease operations after the first few years of operation.
Others that work within particular industries may see some groups of customers
that are not satisfied, a niche for a particular product or service, something
can be done better, or where there is generally room for another direct
competitor. Working within a particular industry makes one familiar with that
industry, particularly if a person is involved in the sales or customer service
functions. Industry experience enables a person to develop confidence through
their knowledge, developed competencies, and built up networks. A start up in a
familiar industry is more likely to survive, grow, and be profitable.
However only a minority of these businesses are developed with new business
models that enhance value like what Ray Kroc did to Burgers or Kemmons Wilson
did to motels. This appears to be a similar situation all over the world.
The overwhelming reason why people start a business according to research is
primarily because they don’t like working for someone else,
even if it leads to lower income.
Self employment appears to be the largest typology of entrepreneurship.
3. There is no such
person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts entrepreneurially
Finding common characteristics
shared by all entrepreneurs has been an elusive task. Back in the 1960s
researchers have tried to link entrepreneurs to psychological traits and
characteristics with the hope that questions like ‘why
do some people see opportunity, when others do not?’ ’Is there any difference
between people who are entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs?’,
and ‘Can a
psychological profile be developed for entrepreneurs?’,
Over the years a large number of personality traits have been explored and
reported upon. Early work by McClelland in the 1960s postulated that the key to
entrepreneurial behavior was the need for achievement as a source of motivation.
According to McClelland people with a high need for achievement wanted to take
responsibility for their decisions, set goals and accomplish them through their
They also desire some form of regular feedback.
High achievers wanted challenging tasks with concrete goals and succeed by their
own efforts rather than by chance.
Based on the logic of the need for high achievement, people with this need would
However the need for achievement is not an exclusive trait for entrepreneurs and
it fails to predict entrepreneurial tendencies.
Research turned their attention to the study of the locus of control. The locus
of control generally refers to a person’s perceptions of the outside world and
the reasons they believe are the causes of events impacting on their lives.
People who believe they can control the environment through their actions have
what is called and internal locus of control. Whereas people who believe they
have little control of the environment have what is called an external locus of
control. Generally it was believed that people with an internal locus of control
would gravitate towards being entrepreneurs and people with an external locus of
control would be reluctant to become entrepreneurs.
Rotter hypothesized that people exhibiting an internal locus of control would be
more likely to strive for achievement than people with an external locus of
Although there was much research that supported these ideas, this was not a
trait exclusive to entrepreneurs and was found in people of other professions.
The propensity to take financial, family or career risks are often attributed to
entrepreneurs. Thus it was assumed by researchers that entrepreneurs would take
moderate risks in trying to satisfy their need for achievement,
and propensity to take risks would be higher than managers. Some research
studies concluded that the propensity to take risks, among other personality
characteristics was important in identifying entrepreneurial types.
However many other results have shown to the contrary.
Studies show that entrepreneurs are capable risk managers who defuse risk
through their knowledge and confidence of situations that others may view as
Other studies have shown that the amount of risk a person is willing to take is
situational upon specific conditions,
and entrepreneurs don’t take any more risks than managers.
Research on specific psychological traits did not identify any typology type
profiles of entrepreneurs or any exclusive traits that would lead to the
prediction of entrepreneurs. Very few personality traits differentiate the
entrepreneur from other people. Nor did trait studies give any insights into the
belief systems or behavior patterns of entrepreneurs. Behavior is too complex a
phenomenon with too many factors influencing how one perceives the world, feels
emotionally and perceives their own self esteem for the trait approach to
psychological profile would be too theoretical and too general to have any real
meaning. For example, under the Myers-Briggs description of ENTP –
(extrovert intuitive thinker and perceiver),
a person would look for one exciting challenge after another. They would be
highly inventive and their enthusiasm would lead to lots of different
activities. Their inventiveness is attributable to their rich intuition which
would give them a world of endless possibilities, when combined with their
objective decision making facilities and directed outwardly converts everything
to ideas and schemes. Such a horoscope
like description really doesn’t bring
much deeper understanding of who is an entrepreneur and why they see
opportunity, when others don’t.
If one undertook several case studies of successful entrepreneurs and identified
important traits that assisted in their respected successes, these traits would
not necessarily be common to all cases. Therefore the study of psychological
traits as a means to answer the question of ‘why
some people see opportunities and others don’t’,
etc, was widened to include other internal and external factors as well as
For example, extroversion would be a much more important trait in a situation
where an employee had direct contact with customers than in a position that
dealt in paperwork.
Each entrepreneur will have a number of positive and negative personality
characteristics that will not direct behavior but be ancillary to behavior.
Therefore as broad dispositions, these traits cannot be expected to be a very
good predictor of individual behavior.
A person’s general orientation, situation and personal motives also come to play
in influencing behavior.
A list of some commonly mentioned traits are shown in Table 1 below.
Table 1. Some Commonly Mentioned Characteristics of Entrepreneurs.
Ability to learn from mistakes
Able to take calculated risks
Quick decision maker
Influential over people
Responsive to criticism
Responsive to suggestions
Sense of power
Need for achievement
Tolerant of ambiguity
Passion for work
Trustful of others
Positive to challenges
As can be seen from the list above, the traits themselves are very narrow and
cannot on their own or combined predict who the entrepreneur really is and why
they can see opportunities. Some traits maybe helpful in opportunity
identification and venture creation but may tend to be destructive during growth
and maturity stages of a business. For example, the need to control others will
be very useful when the early stages of a new business must focus on production
and sales. As the company grows and needs new opportunities and strategies to
grow centralized control and decision making may stifle creativity and
innovation within the firm. Another issue is that behavioral relationships
between different traits can be totally unpredictable. For example, a
self-centeredness will have influences on the locus of control, need for
achievement and propensity to take risks in ways where behavior cannot be
predicted, especially where situational aspects are varied between people.
Most traits also have opposites like
independent-dependent, thorough-lax, sociable-unsociable,
responsible-irresponsible, etc. Many
personality traits like the need for power,
recklessness, over confidence and unrealistic optimism,
and sociopathic tendencies,
can have very counter-productive results on behavior. As mentioned, the need for
control can stifle creativity and innovation. A sense of distrust of others can
bare many negative consequences on the firm and other individuals.
Osbourne postulated that the ownership of an enterprise itself can actually
corrupt and change people for the worse.
People might not be driven by their traits but by their flaws, as flaws may be
motivated as defense systems. For example, behind the need to achieve may be the
fear of being found out.
People may work hard for success to compensate for failed (or failing)
relationships and easily become obsessive.
With the disappointment with the traits approach not being able to predict who
would become an entrepreneur, some researchers looked at typologizing
entrepreneurs as a way to understand anchor traits, value systems, and thinking
for given typologies of entrepreneurs.
Typologies can be considered theories that can be modeled according to traits
and variables into a synthesized conception of an entrepreneur type.
Landau proposed that entrepreneurs could be classified according to their
innovative and risk bearing characteristics and proposed four basic typologies.
The consolidator is a person who develops a business on a low innovation, risk
bearing platform and aims to consolidate and slowly improve, usually bringing
low returns. The gambler is characterized by a low degree of innovation and high
level of risk where he or she takes big chances in what they do, but is able to
deliver through breakthroughs if successful. The dreamer attempts to combine a
high level of innovation with a low level of risk. However without risk the
dream can never be realized. The entrepreneur takes a high level of risk and
innovation and succeeds on the basis of how they are able to manage the risk.
Research has also focused on the typologies of the entrepreneur as a craftsman
with a blue collar and limited educational background, who prefer technical work
and are motivated by the want of personal autonomy, and opportunists who are
well educated and motivated by building a successful organization and financial
typology is an inventor-entrepreneur who has a strong commitment for new product
development and rapid market entry with an orientation towards the future.
Siu developed five typologies of entrepreneurs in China; the senior citizen, who
seeks to work by him or herself, the workaholic, the swinger who jumps from deal
to deal, the idealist who tends to think in longer timeframes, and the high
Jones-Evans suggested four technical categorizations of entrepreneurs.
The research based technical entrepreneur is in a research environment where his
or her ideas have been incubated for a long period of time. He or she is purely
a research based entrepreneur without much business experience. The producer
technical entrepreneur is an individual who has some exposure to business
decision making, probably within manufacturing. The user technical entrepreneur
is an individual whose main experience is commercially based with some technical
background, and the opportunist entrepreneur is one who has no previous exposure
to technology but has seen a commercial opportunity.
Although typologies are not absolutes, as individuals may have characteristics
from more than one typology, a good typology fit can be predictive of behavior.
The typology approach can be widened to include any number of potential
typologies to describe an entrepreneur and the way they seek and exploit
The search for opportunity, subsequent strategy development and execution has
multidimensional factors influencing it. Without these other multidimensional
factors, psychological characteristics will not drive these processes.
Opportunity is a socio-psycho phenomenon and from this point of view, the
potential factors that influence entrepreneurial behavior
are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2. The Potential Socio-psycho Factors that Influence Opportunity
Discovery and Behavior.
There is no way to explain precisely the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. What
factors, situations and emotions determine how people behave is so complex that
no diagram or explanation can cover all behavioral contingencies. However for a
person to start looking with intention at ideas that can turn into opportunities
and be acted upon through a set of strategies requires a
A trigger situation can be activated from an external event and/or internal
consideration. External events could be shocks that may occur through sudden
unemployment, being overlooked for promotion or some other personal tragedy that
sets the process off. This may not be a sudden response to the tragedy, as
alternative courses of action like looking for another job may precede the
setting off of the situational trigger. Other internal triggers may occur when a
person may be dissatisfied at work, feel they can do it better or have immense
difficulties working under others. This internal ‘cooking’
of desire or frustration may take time and itself require some event in the
workplace like being passed up for promotion or having a new ideas ignored to ‘tip
When an idea exists and there is a “gap”
between the present situation and the potential reality that a new idea could
create, there is enough tension to activate a motivational trigger. An idea is
needed to set off this situational trigger because without any idea there can be
no opportunity alternatives available to the person to think about and act upon.
Acting as a filter through our perception mechanisms are a group of attributes
called personal paradigms. Personal
paradigms act to pattern or filter
information going into the psych where cognitive decision making processes take
place. The author believes that it is these
which are particular attributes related to how opportunity is seen, appraised
and acted upon, have great influence over our decision making and behavior. They
are a buffer between our internal and external world where ‘what
we see’, ‘how
we feel’, and ‘what
we think’, relates back to our
A brief description of some
or entrepreneurial alertness is the ability to be
sensitive to information about objects, incidents and patterns in the
environment where ideas and potential opportunities can be constructed.
To perceive potential opportunities there must be a heightened perceptual and
Without alertness, any information will not gain any cognitive attention and be
forgotten almost immediately. Alertness is a product of our psych and the
push people to perceive, think and act in specific ways that attempt to satisfy
often stay unconscious in a person, as the person doesn’t know exactly what they
want, yet these motives remain powerful influence behind thoughts, feelings and
People differ in their types and strength of motives, taking them on different
lifetime journeys with different outcomes. For example, Anita Roddick, the
founder of The Body Shop may have been personally committed to the environment,
education and social change, while Jack Welch and Bill Gates were more motivated
by competition and winning, leading to completely different types of
organizations and operational philosophies, while all being considered more than
successful. Motivation is also situational where for example one can see the
higher rates of entrepreneurship among migrant populations in developed
Studying motives can assist in answering the question of ‘why
people do what they do?”
Motivation is not static. There are two sets of motivational factors. The first
set that motivates a person initially usually involves need, responsibilities
and obligations that may have arisen from some form of trauma like job
retrenchment. A second set of motivators come into influence once a person has
established something and involves motivational factors related to the tasks
themselves. These higher order motivations have a lot to do with achievement,
satisfaction, recognition and fulfillment. Motivational goals often keep moving
as one progresses thus maintaining tension and drive in the person. For example,
an original motivation may have been to serve a particular geographic area, but
as time goes along, ambitions and motivations grow to new and larger areas. When
one does meet a goal or objective, then that goal or objective ceases to be a
motivator and complacency can set into the person. A list of common motivational
factors is listed in Table 2.
Table 2. Some Common Motivational factors
A need to master, manipulate, organize and arrange objects, people and
events in an accomplished way by overcoming obstacles and excelling.
A need to be seen and heard by others and be the centre of attention and
make an impression on others.
A need to put things in an orderly arrangement, balance and in
To seek and direct the behavior of others by persuasion, command,
coercion or seduction. To seek to control the environment.
To accept injury, criticism and blame. To submit to the force of others
and resign yourself to fate. To admit wrong doing, inferiority and
To overcome any opposition forcibly. To avenge injury and hurt with
attack and oppression.
To maintain free of others restraints, to break out of confines, to be
one’s own master.
To avoid blame and humiliation at all costs, to avoid situations that
may lead to embarrassment, to refrain from action because of fear of
To seek cooperation with others, to draw near and close to others, to
win affection of others, to be liked to develop loyalty and receive
loyalty from others.
To take care of others in need, to give sympathy and gratify the needs
of helpless others.
To receive help from other, to have one’s needs gratified by another, to
be indulged, nursed, supported and protected by others.
Motivation appears to come from the ego portion of the psych.
The ego gives a person a sense of purpose and this is where ‘the
urge to make a difference’, ‘to
be respected’, ‘to
be admired’, ‘to
be wealthy’, ‘to
be successful’, ‘to
control others’ and ‘to
be the best originates’. The ego holds
emotions of self esteem, the sense of achievement, envy, greed, hate, anger,
anxiety, fear, guilt and empathy which are the building blocks of motivators.
· Prior knowledge
is information and knowledge a person accumulates
over a period of time.
Prior knowledge assists a person discover opportunities as it patterns incoming
information with familiar knowledge already known. This recognizes the specific
value of incoming information in the light of prior information. Shane
postulates that a person will tend to discover only opportunities related to
their own prior knowledge.
Thus people without specific prior information related to incoming information
will not see the same opportunities as those that have.
As everybody’s prior information has its own idiosyncrasies, each person will
have their own unique ‘knowledge
corridor’ that allows them to see
certain types of opportunities but not others.
In relation to opportunity, there are three dimensions of prior knowledge; 1.
Prior knowledge of markets, 2. Prior knowledge of ways to serve markets, and 3.
Prior knowledge of customer problems.
This can be further broken down two areas. The first is knowledge of special
interests to a person, which can provide them with profound insights into their
special interest areas. The second area is knowledge accumulated from their work
experience over a number of years.
When information from the first area is mixed with information from the second
area, new insights may be gained which lead to the discovery of unique
opportunities. For example, a salesperson that goes yachting every weekend may
discover unique business opportunities related to the leisure sailing industry
through the mixing of both phases of his or her prior knowledge.
· The strategic outlook
paradigm is concerned about vision, the ability to recognize and evaluate
opportunities by turning them into mental scenarios, seeing the benefits,
identifying the types and quantities of resources required and weight up all the
issues in a strategic manner. A vision helps a person focus upon the types of
opportunities suited to their disposition. This sense of vision is guided by
their assumptions, beliefs and values within the psych. Vision has varying
strengths in different people depending upon their ego characteristics and
motivations. The ability to spot and evaluate opportunities is closely linked
with a person’s creativity paradigm, their propensity to action and their
perceptions of their own talents and available skills. According to Bolton and
Thompson entrepreneurs spot particular opportunities and extrapolate potential
achievable scenarios within the limits of their skills and ability to gather
resources to exploit the opportunity.
These extrapolations from opportunity to strategy require both visual/spatial
and calculative thinking skills at a strategic rather than detailed level.
Adequate concentration is required in order to have a strategic outlook upon
things. This requires focus in strategic thinking, creativity, ego values and
interpersonal paradigms. Too little focus will result in random jumping from
potential opportunity to opportunity without undertaking any diligent mental
evaluations. Too much focus may result in narrow mindedness and even obsessive
thinking which would result in either blindness to many potential opportunities
or action without truly “objective” evaluation. Table 3. below shows the
potential effects of focus on behavior.
Table 3. The Potential Effects of Focus on behavior.
Switch off, insensitive to environment, blind to opportunity.
Able to spot opportunities, work towards exploiting them, able to see
required resources and identify potential sources.
Look in too much detail so fail to get overview or big picture.
Able to think both laterally and serially and construct opportunities.
Over-imaginative, lose sight of big picture.
Purposelessness not interested.
Able to contemplate some form of action with some form of motivators
Self-delusion, delusions of grandeur.
Individualistic and independent.
Able to communicate and work within social sphere.
Hesitant to take responsibility, dependent.
Random scanning of environment, jump from opportunity to opportunity,
Focused on opportunity possibilities and drawbacks. Orientated towards
Tunnel vision, fanatical and/or blindness.
· The element of creativity
expresses itself through other facets and talents.
It is a competence that gives a person the ability to make connections between
unrelated things, thus creating new ideas, concepts through what can be called
an innovation. Creativity is the element that creates opportunity constructs
from the fusion of external stimuli and internal information or prior knowledge
of the person. Creativity develops innovation which becomes an element behind
most opportunities, problem solving, combining resources, generally using
talents and skills, and in overcoming barriers and obstacles. Motivation is
required to drive creativity and focus maximizes the sensitivity of creativity.
· In Tom Peters and Robert Waterman’s seminal book ‘In
Search of Excellence’, ’a
bias for action’ was listed as the
first of their eight basic principles. ‘A
bias for action’ is a preference for
doing something rather than getting into the inertia of doing nothing.
Many people spot opportunities but for various reasons fail to do anything about
them. The propensity for action is about energy, both cognitive and physical to
act upon a perceived opportunity. Cognitive energy is required during the mental
evaluation stage and physical energy is required to actually put strategies into
effect. Without any propensity for action, no other personal paradigm will have
any constructive effect.
· Personal talents
are natural aptitudes, abilities, skills and intelligence to assist a person
pursue their life goals according to their interests, motivations and contexts.
Talents according to Cattell are almost fully inherited.
are also aptitudes, skills and intelligence to enable someone to do physical or
mental things, but are developed through lifetime learning. Talents and some
abilities through learning can be developed into excellence. To utilize and
enhance talents and abilities a person must have temperament, attitude,
motivation, and interest.
Temperament encompasses the ability to manage talent and maintain perseverance.
Many talented careers, particularly in sport and the performing arts fail
because of the wrong attitudes and temperament. Personal talents and abilities
link closely with the personal creativity paradigm and may act as both an anchor
and a primer for creative action. Personal talents and abilities may also
heighten patterning attention towards stimuli and information close to a
person’s span of talent and ability areas.
· The interpersonal paradigm
will almost directly influence how large an opportunity a person may consider,
dependent on their ability to communicate, collaborate, and work with others.
Those with extrovert personalities and leadership qualities are able to bring
others onboard and acquire talents and abilities they themselves lack. This
means that a person can generally imagine larger potential opportunities because
in their assumptions exists the possibility of building large organizations,
than would be the case if they were considering or only comfortable working by
themselves. How people view others is partly influenced by how they tend to view
trust. Those people who tend to be trusting of others will tend to build
organizations that may be more open for creativity and innovation than those
that are built on assumptions of mistrust of people.
For the purpose of entrepreneurial behavior, the ego drives a person. This is
especially so in the creativity, strategic outlook, motivation, alertness and
propensity for action paradigms. A very weak ego would lead to a sense of
apathy, where a strong ego would lead to a much stronger sense of self. Without
a healthy ego, talents and abilities would be wasted. The ego provides our
temperament and influences our basic assumptions, beliefs and values. On our
external side, the ego along with the rest of the psych forms our personality
traits. The world sees us through our personality traits and to a certain degree
our traits along with our psych are precursors to our behavior.
Bolton and Thompson describe the ego as having two parts.
The inner part of the ego is concerned about our internal manifestations of self
assurance, dedication and motivation. The inner ego produces our interest and
passion about things and is the psychic driver of a person. The facets of the
outer ego are more behavioral and concern more about a person’s outward
qualities. These qualities include a person’s sense of responsibility,
accountability and courage. Courage is perhaps the element that makes one feel
confident, face reality and stand up to their beliefs and values. The ego tends
to be shaped by our self perceptions, experience and unconscious primitive
drives and basic morality.
Our perceptions, experience, prior knowledge and psych help shape “who
I am” though a continual molding and
shaping process. When set off by a trigger, our perceptions, psych, traits and
skills combine to form ideas and some behavioral response, “what
I do”, which produces certain outcomes.
As we produce outcomes, we measure them against our personal goals and go back
through our perception system as feedback or ‘how
A person reacts to the environment they are within. However it is impossible to
predict the behavior that will come from the combination of the personality and
environment. Predicting behavior is difficult because all behavior is
situational upon the environment. In other words, behavior is both personality
and environmentally dependent.
Not only is behavior environmentally influenced, a person with a particular
personality leaning will attempt to seek out or create an environment that is
suitable to them.
For example, an introvert will seek a quiet, unobtrusive environment which is
secluded and personal, where an extrovert will prefer a social environment with
interpersonal interaction. Personal paradigms are not static, their will shift
in their influence and dominance over times and according to life circumstances.
Finally, personality can act as a type of memory filter. People tend to remember
things that are compatible with their personality traits. Therefore a person
with a calm and non-confronting disposition will remember events that promote
these attributes, rather than conflicting and divisive situations.
4. People tend to start
businesses for the wrong reasons
A person’s psychological state will directly influence perception of people,
objects and events. This can potentially lead to perceptive distortion,
especially if the person has any psychotic tendencies. Therefore any construed
reality, decisions made, strategies crafted, resulting actions and consequential
behavior would be based upon biased perceptions. Thus everything that develops
within a firm including culture, management style, interpersonal relationships,
rules and procedures, strategy, symbols and behavior will have some unconscious
Perception and thinking processes that identify opportunities and shape
subsequent actions have their origins both in the psych and the external world.
Identifying an opportunity and exploiting it may have as more to do with inner
needs i.e., recognition, love and
affection, power and control, self esteem, or grandeur, etc.,
as with any rational thought processes.
Most people enter into a new business for reasons that are not rational and
thought out badly. Our cognitive decision making processes are guided by
heuristics or ‘short cuts’, ‘rules of
thumb’, decision rules that influence
our judgments and decisions. Heuristics have the potential to assist in decision
making by cutting down on the person’s information load,
allowing a person to make quick decisions about opportunities without taking any
formal analysis that would tend to highlight problems that prevents its
Consequently, heuristics have some advantages in entrepreneurial decision making
processes as deep contemplation of a start up may lead to numerous reasons why a
potential venture should not start up. Heuristics are very important where
opportunity windows are very short.
This helps in making quick strategy choices, saving time, and adding to
flexibility. This can trigger the creativity process by imposing alternative
scenarios to what is perceived through the senses. Heuristics are deep in our
belief systems and maybe also influenced by our deep motivations and reflect our
social conditioning. Heuristics and other biases become intertwined within our
knowledge structures and become a factor of influence in the assessments,
judgments, and decisions we make involving opportunity evaluation.
They are part of our decision making processes.
On the negative side, heuristics can become cognitive biases. Cognitive biases
are errors of judgment based on misconceptions of the facts, memory errors,
probability errors, motivational errors, and/or social influences. These are the
basis of irrational reasoning which can lead to all sorts of mistakes in
general conditions that people work under, particularly if it is an
entrepreneurial environment will normally be characterized with information
overload, uncertainty, strong emotions, time pressure, fatigue and the need to
do unfamiliar things with little prior experience. This type of situation is a
stressful one and a potential trigger for distortion in perception and
reasoning. This usually occurs without a person’s conscious knowledge of the
reliance on heuristics and biases tends to increase in busy environments
especially when immediate answers are required.
This is where lots of irrelevant information works its way into the reasoning
leads to cognitive biases that contribute to irrational and less than optimal
One of the most common cognitive biases is the
People tend to be over optimistic about their
chances of success which motivates them to start a business, even through real
prospects may be poor.
People usually perceive their chances of success are higher than others doing
the same thing around them.
Other common biases include the
representativeness heuristic, a
generalization about a person or event that leads to the consideration of only a
the law of small numbers
where a person uses limited number of population
data and generalizes it over a much larger population,
and the halo effect
where there is a tendency for people to make attributions about something based
on past events and/or performance.
Other biases include loss aversion
where the disutility of giving something up
is greater than the utility associated with acquiring it,
the tendency to be over optimistic about the outcomes of planned actions,
ignoring something obvious in a negative
situation, planning fallacy bias,
a tendency to underestimate the time it
will take to complete a project,
professional bias, a tendency to look
at things according to the ideas of one’s own profession without considering
broader points of view, and an
escalation of commitment as a tendency
for people to keep on investing time, effort and money in losing courses of
action because of the initial commitment.
Heuristics and cognitive biases are believed to be caused by the process of
attribute substitution. Attribute
substitution occurs when a person has
to make a judgment (of an attribute target) that is very complex. As a
consequence of the complexity, the mind substitutes a more easily calculated
heuristic attribute to simplify complexity.
This occurs when the target attribute is relatively unavailable through
reasoning (answer cannot be easily
retrieved through memory), so an
associate attribute (heuristic) is substituted. This process occurs because the
heuristic is easily available in memory
(i.e., a neural perception or primed in memory),
and this process is not detectable
through the person’s reflective system. The attribute substitution process
combines available knowledge and experience into heuristics that drive a new
idea forward. In pragmatic terms, heuristics and cognitive biases are built into
a person’s belief system.
Many people mistake their aspirations for opportunity. For example people put
their money and efforts into a boutique, restaurant or spa for the wrong reasons
because they like fashion and shopping, food and cooking, or aromatherapy and
massage. In SME’s the values of the founder and the firm are the same in many
cases. Perception of business opportunity is influenced to various degrees by a
hierarchy of personal aspirations and concerns that cannot be easily separated
from business goals. This can be dangerous if one is unaware of their influence
Emotions are part of our fundamental irrationality and unpredictability and thus
an important influence on thinking. Our basic emotions come from inner
extra-rational dynamics deep within our psych that are expressed as feelings,
dreams, fantasies, and other imagined aspects of our lives.
Our more complex emotions like loyalty, sympathy, pride, confidence,
achievement, embarrassment, indignation, bewilderment, pity, elation,
satisfaction, boredom, shame, disgust, frustration, and surprise, etc, tend to
be socially related and constructed.
Everything we perceive evokes some form of feeling and the process of
creativity, innovation and invention is always an emotional and even a sensual
experience in people as concepts are translated into words, numbers, diagrams,
or objects, leading to something inspirational.
Emotions decide what we like, dislike, what is agreeable, disagreeable, giving
meaning to our world. Emotions can sometimes help us see similar patterns across
fields without conscious deliberation and plays an important role in signaling
preferences for opportunities by arousing positive emotions, kindling enthusiasm
and determining our reactions to shocks and the behavioral trajectories we take.
We view the world is filtered through our emotions which guides our self
awareness to a past or future orientation. Any past orientation will be full of
stories which influence our sense of meaning about the present. Some of the
stories we remember will be full of regret for past mistakes, disappointment for
what was not done, or full of satisfaction and/or pride for what was achieved.
The past influences our interpretation of the present. Positive and negative
experiences influence what we perceive, contemplate and put our focus upon in
the now. The positive and negative memories of the past also guide our direction
in the future. Positive memories guide us towards action where we have a high
sense of self efficacy and negative memories tend to make us averse to taking
action where we have a low sense of self efficacy. The future represents our
positive hopes and aspirations, or negative fears and anxieties where positive
emotions may lead to a sense of high self efficacy and become powerful
motivators for action, while negative emotions may lead to sense of low self
efficacy feasibility and averse to action. Extreme feelings of low or high self
efficacy can lead to either reckless overconfidence in a positive emotional
state or an aversion from action out of fear and anxiety in a negative emotional
state. The same feelings are not uniform across the all activities, where a
person may feel a high sense of self efficacy in some areas and low sense of
self efficacy in other areas.
Too much past or future orientation may lead to personal delusion such as
unrealistic hopes that an entrepreneurial opportunity really exists,
or massive overconfidence in one’s ability to successfully implement a complex
strategy in the field. Alternatively too much future or past orientation may
lead to undue pessimism where the feeling of self efficacy and motivation is
low, leading to states of anxiety and inaction. Orientation in the past will
anchor one into previous patterns of success, which promote rigidity, while too
much orientation into the future may lead to fantasy, thus leading to
unrealistic objectives and the ability to consider realistic scenarios.
It is usually very difficult to see abnormality as many psychotic traits are
also important drivers of manager and entrepreneur behavior. Many well known
business leaders could be considered narcissistic in nature.
Some forms of psychosis
(attention-seeking, paranoia, obsessive-compulsiveness & narcissism)
are actually qualities that help bring people to the top of their fields.
However these same qualities in excess can lead to an arrogant and overconfident
delusion, once at the top. Many managers have fallen from corporate grace for
5. Very few entrepreneurs have
much ambition for growth
Stories about highly successful growth companies like Apple, Google, and Yahoo,
etc., are told and retold so many times that one begins to believe that this is
the norm rather than the exception. This is the ‘entrepreneurial
growth myth’, the idea that firms need
to grow into large firms in order to survive. This ‘grow
or die’ syndrome has been perpetuated
by business schools around the world, making many small businesses feel
pressured to seek expansion and strain the stability of the enterprise.
The proprietors of small or micro SMEs are often branded as un-ambitious
failures with little relevance to society and considered part of the informal
economy in developing countries. We live in a society that generally equates
success with size.
The reality is that most firms in the United States have very little intention
Many firms have been set-up as lifestyle businesses with little ambition for
high growth. Many proprietors set up their businesses to practice a craft,
hobby, or trade that they like and are not really concerned too much about the
business aspects, other than the business supporting what they like to do.
Consequently most US small businesses have no more than one employee,
and not more than two over the first five years of operation.
The majority of US small firms didn’t have incomes above US $100,000 per annum
Generally speaking other countries in the post industrial world follow similar
Within Southeast Asia, South Asia and the African experience, start-ups of small
business are primarily domicile based and serve the local community with food,
service, or repair type businesses.
These firms usually serve very fragmented local customer bases with little
prospects for growth beyond a subsistence income. These micro-enterprises are
the primary source of income, where members of the family do extra jobs to
supplement income. There is little ambition above ‘making
a living’ for the vast majority. The
predominating narrative is that of ‘survival
on a day to day basis’, where there
maybe some medium to long term financial goals such as providing education for
the children, or buying a small house. This desire for economic independence has
been a ‘draw card’
to many of the urban areas in Asia and Africa where potential opportunities are
greater than urban areas.
In addition to the lack of intention to grow a business beyond something that
will enable a particular lifestyle, undertaking of a craft, or assisting in
financial survival, there are a number of constraints that inhibit most
enterprises from growing beyond a minimal size.
The first constraint is lack of capital to grow a business, which appears to be
a universal problem across all countries. Most forms are started with a person’s
own savings rather than being financed externally, through family, friends, or
formal lending through a financial institution
- another misconception of the nature of entrepreneurship. Many enterprises only
generate cash-flows that are only positive enough to pay immediate overheads and
a meager income, leaving little available funding for future growth. The funding
of SMEs through external finance is more myth than reality,
which business schools apportion a large percentage of their curriculum on
business models that rely upon external financing.
The second reason is that most businesses have been founded upon an imitative
opportunity that resembles another business and consequently has no source of
competitive advantage other than its location (important in retail), or the
personal services and relationships they develop with customers and clients. The
average entrepreneurial start-up has no intellectual property in the form of
proprietary knowledge, trademarks, registered designs, or patents. Most of these
firms are run by the founder who has little time or resources available for the
firm to undertake any research and development. As a consequence most SMEs are
deficient in technology. From the product and market perspective most firms
follow other firms with product and marketing strategies, rather than innovate.
Therefore the only tools that can be utilized to differentiate products and the
firm from others is through extra features, servicing selected customer groups
that are too expensive for existing firms to service, or by discounting.
The third reason mentioned in the introduction to this section is that most
firms enter into fragmented industries where growth is very difficult. The more
decentralized an industry, the easier it is to enter, but generally speaking the
lower will be the profitability, particularly if there are low barriers to
entry. It is extremely difficult to expand the business of a sandwich bar,
restaurant, launderette, ironing service, secretarial service, or employment
service, without a major investment and possible duplication of the business in
another location, i.e., like McDonalds,
KFC, or Pizza Hut. The lack of capital
and competitive advantage discussed above compound the problem of expansion in
Finally, most proprietors of SMEs do not undergo any formal planning process.
There is very little evidence of strategic thinking in many SMEs surveyed,
which may be related to the need of proprietors to engage in most, if not all of
the tasks required in running his or her business. In addition, personal goals
are often intertwined with business goals, where the wish for autonomy, personal
satisfaction, and lifestyle are more important than business performance of the
6. New enterprises usually don’t
Most new enterprises do not last very long. The life expectancy of about half
the new enterprises formed within the United States is approximately 50%, with
30% lasting up to ten years.
This situation is very similar all around the world.
It is not difficult to understand these high rates of failure when the majority
of new firms seek to compete in highly fragmented markets with heavy
competition, where the market environment provides very low profitability
levels, as previously discussed. In addition, 80% of new products fail after
although this sometimes takes some time to acknowledge. Other products may
partially fail and not generate enough revenue, provide sufficient level of
consumer satisfaction, or return on investment.
Many new firms are particularly vulnerable because the strategies founders
select to exploit opportunities do not create any new value within the
The most common reason for failure is insufficient experience. Operating in a
marginal environment with competition requires sound and skillful management.
Research has shown that the more experience a person has, the less likely their
firm is to fail.
Many learn from previous failures and develop wisdom that assists them in
subsequent ventures they participate in.
Experienced people within an industry have time to think about the exploitation
of a discovered opportunity while working for an employer and are usually better
able to develop high growth ventures relative to those without experience.
Many businesses are just poorly run, where mistakes are made either due to
inexperience or poor ‘diligence’.
Some of the common mistakes occur through
lack of marketing, expecting sales to self-generate, competing on price
unnecessarily, selecting markets that are too small, overestimating the ability
to penetrate the market, lack of technology, providing poor customer service,
failing to make decisive decisions, and failing to mange funds and cash-flow
prudently. Founders also have the tendency to get ‘bogged
down’ in administrative matters when
they should be guiding the strategic direction of the business.
Finally some proprietors of SMEs have a ‘darkside’
which may distort perceptions, beliefs,
values, and behaviors. A person may become subject to certain psychosis like
compulsiveness, fear, anxieties, depression, a need for attention, paranoia,
shyness, and/or narcissism.
Sometimes it is very difficult to see these abnormal tendencies particularly
during start-ups where some degree of compulsiveness, paranoia, and attention
seeking behavior is advantageous. However these psychotic tendencies will become
a burden and inhibit firm development when the firm reaches the growth and
maturity stages and can damage the progress of the firm.
Every SME proprietor has their own idiosyncrasies which can lead to obsessive,
compulsive, paranoid, depressive, dramatic, or narcissistic behavior. The end
result of these types of behaviors is that one may become very inward looking,
where stakeholder interests become ignored, leading to a drop in support and
So many SMEs today all over the world live in a situation of being ‘a
living dead enterprise’ where there is
just sufficient income to cover expenses and a generate a meager income. The
proprietor cannot expand the business, nor can the proprietor exit the business
without making a major loss on capital investment, and is thus locked into this
existence. People in this situation become
stressed, pessimistic, depressed, and feel a sense of hopelessness.
Entrepreneurship is not an emancipating or empowering activity, but in many
cases an imprisoning phenomenon, contrary to the beliefs of the entrepreneurial
that exists today.
7. There is no such thing as a success
The human race has sent a man to the moon, cured many diseases, mapped the human
genome, descended to the deepest parts of the world’s oceans, but nobody can
really be too sure of the reasons why one business is successful while another
business fails. There are many types of businesses where it is extremely
difficult to identify the elements of success, e.g. restaurants, boutiques, and
spas, etc. They rely on very tight (but not necessarily apparent) formulas for
success, which the entrepreneur may not even understand. Also quite often what
looks like a solid and viable opportunity appearing very straightforward and
even gathering very favorable market research may fail dismally in the
Some examples of spectacular market failures include Federal Express’s launch of
ZAP Mail facsimile service in 1984, The Coca Cola Company’s launch of New Coke
in 1985, and the launch of 3G video calling around 2003.
Strategy is future orientated and as the future does not exist, there can be no
knowledge about the future, only the past and present. The future is only an
imaginary construction based on the past and assumptions extended out over the
existing information we have. Although the future is largely predicable,
particularly the short term, if we have a specific and deep knowledge about the
directly relevant past, it is by no means wholly predicable, especially when it
comes to quantifying things like demand, sales, and profits, etc, and knowing
the outcome of a new product launch. The future can only be predicted through
However the future is subject to the intervention of unforeseen events and human
freedoms. The future can’t be forecast, it can only be expected.
Choices cannot be made by forecasting, hard and definite choices need to be
made. It boils down to a matter of judgment and an entrepreneurial decision has
to be made. This is particularly the case with a new to the world product that
people don’t know they need it until they use it. For example, there is no way
of accurately knowing how consumers will accept the word processer, Lotus 123
spreadsheet, the iPad, and wireless broadband, etc. There is no way any accurate
assessment of potential demand could have been made until these products were
actually in the market place.
Management theories that have 10 rules, habits, or points that claim to lead to
success, do not prove cause and effect. The mentioned elements may exist and
correlate with success, but we aren’t really sure about causation. So many books
mention the same companies, that it can’t be possible that all these companies
are utilizing all these theories at once. These positivist theories miss out on
the complexities of organizations and the environments they exist within, and
most often the points and issues that influence success and failure.
Implementing management theories as a checklist is potentially very dangerous.
Checklists are just like putting a net into the ocean to see what can be picked
up, where we assume that what is picked up is actually the essence of the ocean.
As W.Edwards Deming once said “you can
only measure 3% of what matters.”
Problems and opportunities arise out of imperfections and theories don’t handle
Enter Tom Peters. Peters was co-author of a book written at a time when Japan
had severely challenged America’s business dominance with many believing that
many other industries were vulnerable to this Japanese “attack”.
Tom Peters and Robert Waterman were employees at Mckinsey, one of the premier
management consulting firms in the United States. They carried out research to
identify common characteristics of successful companies, based on selection
criteria of six financial measurements. Peters and Waterman called in two
academics Richard Pascale and Anthony Athos to assist them make sense of the
data and select the important characteristics of success.
had been agreed upon and Pascale suggested
to complete five components of the Seven
S Framework. After some weeks of
was added to the framework to make up six components. The seventh was decided
upon as sequencing,
but later replaced with staff.
Peters was also proposing adding power, but this didn’t eventuate.
Their basic conclusion was that excellent companies exercised commonsense and
kept very close to the business basics.
The book opposed analytical management that relied on numbers to make decisions.
Peters and Waterman emphasized ‘mindset’,
The Seven S Framework
was featured in Peters and Waterman’s book
In Search of Excellence,
published in 1982. The book was far from being an
academic piece of literature and written in a
format, easy to read with lots of stories to get
the messages across. Even though the
Seven S Framework was sharply
criticized for making organizational behavior simplistic, akin to an advertising
agency developing slogans and that many of the excellent companies described in
the book are not performing well now,
the book had many relevant messages based on eight main themes, in a chapter by
chapter format, which came to corporate America at the right time;
1. A bias for action, active decision making -
'getting on with it'.
2. Close to the customer - learning from the people served by the business.
3. Autonomy and entrepreneurship - fostering innovation and nurturing
4. Productivity through people - treating rank and file employees as a source of
5. Hands-on, value-driven - management philosophy that guides everyday practice
- management showing its commitment.
6. Stick to the knitting - stay with the business that you know.
7. Simple form, lean staff - some of the best companies have minimal HQ staff,
8. Simultaneous loose-tight properties - autonomy in shop-floor activities plus
It was reported nearly two decades later that Peters admitted that he and his
co-author falsified the underlying data used in this groundbreaking book, but
this was later denied by Peters.
There are no formulas that guarantee success in any market. Management theories
like Balanced Score Card
Ocean Strategy would have us believe
that we can be successful, but no theory is certain when dealing with the future.
There is no doubt that successful enterprises do things differently from
enterprises that fail. Perhaps an easier way to determine what some of these
factors are is to look at the factors that lead to failure. Robert Cooper in his
book Winning at New Products
suggests that looking only at the factors of
success will not give as an informative picture as looking at the factors of
failure, as well. This is because, not all factors we equate with the success,
actually contribute to that success. Therefore, the study of the factors
resulting in failure is in many ways a more important key to understanding what
factors are critical.
8. Most entrepreneurs are not risk
One of the biggest misconceptions about entrepreneurship is that entrepreneurs
are risk takers. Risk and risk taking is a subject that is greatly misunderstood
in current entrepreneurship
literature. Many argue that an entrepreneur is a risk taker when starting a new
venture. The propensity to take financial, family or career risks are often
attributed to entrepreneurs. Thus it was assumed by researchers that
entrepreneurs would take moderate risks in trying to satisfy their need for
and propensity to take risks would be higher than managers. Some research
studies concluded that the propensity to take risks, among other personality
characteristics was important in identifying entrepreneurial types.
However many other results have shown to the contrary.
Peter Drucker would argue that an entrepreneur through his or her actions works
towards minimizing risk, rather than taking risks.
The uncertainty and risk involved is a major factor influencing the viability of
an opportunity. There will always be uncertainty with any potential outcome of a
new venture. This includes the uncertainty regarding demand and uncertainty
regarding capability. Both of these forms of uncertainties create some
probability of failure, but individuals see these uncertainties very
differently. People tend to want to be safe rather than put themselves at risk
and may prefer inferior outcomes to the prospect of higher than average returns
with a greater degree of risk.
Some individuals will exhibit biases of overconfidence and high perceptions of
self-efficacy which lowers their perceptions of uncertainty and risk about an
idea and thus deem the idea an opportunity in their personal perception.
Research has also found that the view of risk is cultural and also varies
Cultures that value and reward positive behavior, promote a propensity to be
innovative, while cultures that reinforce conformity, group interests and try to
control the future are not likely to develop much risk-taking and
There are two aspects of entrepreneurial risk. First there is risk of firm
failure. In the worst case scenario, a business failure can lead to a loss of
investment, and even bankruptcy. Venture failure also carries the personal
stigma of failure for the individual which is viewed differently in various
countries. The second form of risk is in changing lifestyle and that mishaps in
pursuing an entrepreneurial opportunity will result in a loss of current income
The high levels of uncertainty of many entrepreneurial opportunities makes
conventional forms of strategic analysis of very limited value.
These types of opportunities are usually best if evaluated informally or even
. Formal business plans and forecasts
based on historical information do little to assist in the analysis of the
viability of the idea and any large amount of time spent analyzing the idea in
depth will probably not shed much further understanding or reduce uncertainty
about its potential success.
Entrepreneurs can consider the probable customer perception of the value
proposition and price-value relationships – which are purely subjective. These
perceptions can be further tested as to how easily this value is perceived by
potential customers through focus groups. The longer it takes for individuals to
perceive value, the more risk in the inherent opportunity.
However entrepreneurs will probably look at the opportunity cost of investing
time and resources into the idea under conditions of risk and uncertainty and
then compare this to a situation where he or she had pursued other actions of
The only way to understand the viability and risk of the opportunity is to learn
about it through implementation, where the willingness to continue experimenting
is a further expression of commitment by the entrepreneur
. However, someone who feels that they don’t have the necessary skills, even in
the situation of necessity, will tend to look for other ways of surviving before
looking at the option of starting a business, as they don’t feel personally
capable of taking a risk of that magnitude.
However there are really very few innovators in the business world as most firms
tend to adapt, emulate, and follow other proven ideas. They will follow the
market leader rather than risk being innovative with their own ideas. By
emulating and matching other firm’s ideas and strategies, and adopting the
behavior and actions of others, just like we did in the school playground, we
reduce our personal risk and uncertainty. By far the majority of businesses
follow others that successfully exploit opportunities, rather than seek their
own to exploit.
Attitude to risk also varies during the lifecycle of the venture. Proprietors of
established firms may begin to consolidate their market positions rather than
enhance it, have a declining inclination to invest, become headed by stewards
rather than entrepreneurs, lose their aspirations, become complacent risk
takers, and develop organizations that have a culture resistant to change. This
is reflected in the high turnover of companies on the
lists, where vibrant new entrepreneurial companies
are taking the place of the complacent companies with outdated products for
their market and older technologies.
Finally risk taking is situational. A person’s propensity to take risks,
particularly in the business area may not come out until later life because as
young people, the personal risk of starting a business may be enough to dissuade
them due to the responsibilities of buying a house and starting a family.
9. Successful single products
don’t always make successful ventures
A successful product doesn’t always lead to a successful venture. One product
companies are rare, although many brand icons are continually in front of us
through the media, giving us this impression. Although brands like
once came from single product companies, both have diversified to become
multi-brand conglomerates. Even Levi Strauss & Co. diversified into multiple
brands and put their hand to mobile phones.
Products have a limited life and new products must be created to replace those
near the end of their lifecycle. Markets and technologies are changing quickly
even in the most stable markets, which is leading to shorter product lifecycles.
Although brands have long lives, products under the brand umbrella need
continual change and updating almost in a seasonal fashion. Even a company with
a product based on a new breakthrough technology cannot maintain its competitive
advantage forever and must continue to develop or acquire new products in order
to keep in front of its competitors who will eventually catch up with them. Thus
companies which don’t continue to introduce new products run the risk of
becoming irrelevant to the marketplace.
Markets and industries are changing so rapidly that 40% of the Fortune 500
companies that existed in 1975 do not exist today.
New product development is an important aspect of the competitive environment.
If existing companies don’t launch new products, it is most likely their
competitors will gain advantage in the marketplace, which will eventually erode
the company’s position in the marketplace and later effect revenues,
profitability and survival. New products are a strategy that companies use to
introduce enhancements into the market so they can claim benefits over their
competitors. Today on average, new products (those introduced into the market
within the last 5 years) represent 33% of a company’s sales.
In some markets, mobile phones, televisions, white goods, automobiles, etc.,
this figure is 100%.
While new product development is one of the most important aspects of
competitive strategy, it is also one of the riskiest. New product failure rates
have risen from 45.6% in 1961 to over 80% today.
This is compounded by the small firm’s lack of resources, time, technology and
expertise to research new ideas and innovations to develop the business.
SMEs are even more limited in their strategic options because of their inability
to influence the environment and marketplace, due to their size like larger
Restricted by lack of knowledge,
the entrepreneur requires specific strategies and processes to take account of
these weaknesses and navigate its birth and growth in a focused way, to adapt to
rather than change the environment and marketplace.
10. New product development – not
Many people relate new product development to invention. However invention only
makes up a small part of new products and less than 2% of all patents are
actually commercialized. Inventors are usually good at developing ideas into
concepts and tangible items, but not all inventions satisfy consumer wants and
needs. It is particularly difficult for an inventor to successfully develop a
product in the market by themselves because of the tremendous resources needed
to develop the market to make consumers aware and educate them about the new
product. Many inventions, although novel, fail to solve any real consumer needs,
or fail to satisfy them effectively and thus fail to gain much interest from
An invention will remain a conceptual idea without innovation. It is only really
a starting point in the innovation process which is concerned about turning the
idea into a practical and commercial application. Inventions involve creativity,
which is only part of the whole product development process as explained by
Myers and Marquis
….”Innovation is not a single action but
a total process of interrelated sub processes. It is not just the conception of
a new idea, nor the invention of a new device, nor the development of a new
market. The process is all these things acting in an integrated fashion”.
One of the major reasons behind Thomas Edison’s success was because he was able
to develop uses and a market for his inventions
Some innovations are radical and lead to great changes in the lives we lead as
did the products
listed in table 4 to our society. But many inventions have come by accident
and it took innovation to determine potential commercial applications. These
examples show that the majority of these innovations are developed by
organizations rather than individuals due to the need of large resources and
technical knowledge. Technical and product innovation often leads to other forms
of innovation such as organizational change to effectively implement the firm’s
strategies based on new products developed into the market place, as can be seen
in the communications and air transport industries.
Table 4. Breakthrough Innovations That Changed Our Lives
1. Personal Computers
2. Microwave oven
4. Pocket Calculator
5. Fax machine
6. Birth Control Pill
7. Home VCR
8. Communications Satellite
9. Bar Coding
10. Integrated Circuit
11. Automatic Teller
12. Answering Machine
13. Velcro Fastener
14. Touch-Tone Telephone
15. Laser Surgery
16. Apollo Lunar Spacecraft
17. Computer Disk Drive
18. Organ Transplants
19. Fiber-Optic Systems
20. Disposable Diaper
22. Magnetic Resonance
26. Space Shuttle
27. Home Smoke Alarm
28. CAT Scan
29. Liquid Crystal Display
11. Entrepreneurship does not
necessarily create economic growth
As we have clearly seen, entrepreneurship does not always bring innovation and
as a consequence does not contribute to economic growth. Entrepreneurs are far
from the heroes of capitalism as Alfred Marshall suggested.
The majority resemble more the survivors of capitalism. Entrepreneurship does
not necessarily drive economic evolution, and it is questionable whether
entrepreneurship is a major source of innovation.
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Thailand Executive Report states that the
prevailing form of entrepreneurship in Thailand is opportunistic. Most of the
entrepreneurial ventures in Thailand are small and focus on the consumer service
sector in retailing, restaurants, and personal services, such as health and
However like the rest of the region, these businesses are the prime source of
income of most entrepreneurs and operated for the purpose of earning a living.
Local entrepreneurs select an activity that is very locally orientated
suggesting that they are opportunistic in the limited sense of the word. There
is little value created by these ventures
and in most cases proprietor incomes are smaller than what they would earn
working for others, if they were skilled.
Entrepreneurship creates less employment than many people think.
Self employment in the United States has been declining for decades and in 2003
was 7.0% of the total workforce.
Self employment in OECD countries has steadily declined from 1996 to 2006, with
the OECD average declining from 19.2% to 16.5%.
From data provided by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2011 Global Report it
can be seen that less than 2% of firms in most countries expect to provide more
than 20 jobs, about the same percentage 5-19 jobs, with the overwhelming
majority of firms expecting to employ between 0-4 people.
According to research most entrepreneur incomes are lower than what they would
earn working for someone else, with less benefits,
and longer hours of work.
This is logical given that most entrepreneurial ventures enter into highly
fragmented, localized markets, with no source of competitive advantage, as
discussed in the above sections of this paper. Not only is the average
entrepreneur earning less than their salaried counterparts, but income is
spasmodic. Income varies from day to day, week to week, month to month, and year
to year. Consequently there is a good chance that a person and their family will
drop down into a lower socioeconomic group during their tenure as an
In developing economies many owner operator firms are seen as part of the
marginal informal economy. There is also little chance that an entrepreneur will
be able to sell his or her business and make any substantial capital gain.
Therefore many countries over the next few years will face the problem of how to
support elderly populations with little means to survive. On the whole, starting
a business will make a person and their family relatively worse off than if they
were working for someone else.
Most SMEs have a low propensity to export. In the United States only 30% of SMEs
export to Canada, Mexico, China, and Japan; items like computers, electrical
goods, machinery, chemicals, and transport equipment. The SMEs active in export
tend to be the larger ones employing over 20 people.
According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data there is a low level of firms
exporting, particularly in the factor driven and efficiency driven economies.
Countries where overseas customers make up less than 10% of a firms customer
base include Bangladesh, Guatemala, Venezuela, Iran, Brazil, China, Argentina,
Russia, Mexico, Thailand, Malaysia, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Columbia, and
Peru. Some countries like Romania, Croatia, Singapore, Belgium, New Zealand, and
the United Arab Emirates have over 30% of their SMEs firms with export customer
bases over 25% of their total customer base.
It appears that countries with small domestic market bases tend to be more
export orientated. In addition companies that produced regionally based
or innovative products
were also at an advantage. Another factor that assisted SMEs to export was prior
experience in the industry.
Proprietors with experience were more willing to allocate time and resources to
developing export business.
Due to the low profitability of SMEs there is little reinvestment thus insuring
that firms remain with a low technology base. As a consequence very few SMEs
transform into something bigger and better in the future. This can be attributed
to SMEs entering non-attractive, low growth industries, resembling the present
mix of industries, i.e., no product and
high levels of competition, competing on price,
using resources inefficiently,
and haphazard management.
With these images of SMEs the concept of Schumpeter’s ‘creative
destruction’ is not apt here. It is
more a case of ‘enterprise stagnation’
with SMEs having undifferentiated
products, locked in small fragmented markets with little ambition for growth and
marginal income ability.
Entrepreneur Education: Teaching the
myths rather than the realities
There is no doubt that entrepreneurship is one of the fastest growing areas in
education at many levels. Therefore it is worth making some comments about this
before concluding this paper.
Business schools and other vocational institutions take many different
approaches to the teaching of entrepreneurship. To fit in with the traditional
style of lecture based learning many courses are really
teaching about entrepreneurship,
rather than teaching entrepreneurship.
This is still done in a rather detached and clinical way following prescribed
curricula that resemble a general management course with a business plan and
some creativity exercises for good measure.
Many courses provided in developing countries still have a small business and
Course curriculum is shaped in the mold of the media made myths of
This has been assisted through specific entrepreneurship textbooks that have
evolved over the last 15 to 20 years.
One of the difficulties of teaching entrepreneurship is the diversity of
entrepreneurship itself. Entrepreneurship covers so many activities which all
have certain specific requirements and sets of tacit knowledge needed within
Any general course on entrepreneurship would struggle to cover more than a few
different activities, and thus be only marginally relevant to the specific needs
In addition people attending these courses come from a range of diverse
backgrounds and different levels of experience, which is not generally catered
for in entrepreneurship education with the ASEAN region.
The high level of tacit knowledge in entrepreneurship leads to another dilemma.
It is extremely difficult to teach tacit knowledge through traditional classroom
Experimentation in pedagogy in many developing countries is far behind the
developed world. Therefore methods that are more applicable in transferring
tacit knowledge like action and experiential learning are used sparingly.
Further, entrepreneurship is a very emotional phenomenon and been sadly
neglected in many curricula. Very few instructors have any first-hand experience
in the emotions involved as they have no entrepreneurship experience. This is
particularly important when there are a number of emerging ‘feel
i.e., competitions, entrepreneurship weeks,
incubators, etc., revolving around
entrepreneurship education that may give wrong impressions about the real
challenges and potential hardships of entrepreneurship today. Teaching
methodology and activities in the area of entrepreneurship requires focus in
developing countries over the next few years.
Business schools through the curricula they adopt are adhering more to the myths
rather than realities of entrepreneurship. Literature in developing countries is
primarily US based which reflects the needs of a post industrial society rather
than a developing economy.
US textbooks are based on the assumptions of the US secondary school system
which is very different in content and method than schools in developing
countries. In addition the types of industries and contemporary issues are
different in both regions.
It is disappointing to see curriculum in developing countries based upon US
textbooks, where abundant local content is available.
Entrepreneurship has become seen as a ‘quick
fix’ in providing a career.
Business schools in developing countries have structured curriculum in a way
that may build false hopes within student cohorts. For example subjects like
entrepreneurial finance and business plan give students the impression that
institutional finance is accessible, where current practice in developing
countries is extremely lending risk averse and primarily collateral based
Business schools teach the paradigm of growth where clearly research reviewed in
this paper shows that the majority of entrepreneurs are not seeking to develop
high growth business models.
Business schools in countries like Malaysia lock student cohorts into the old
paradigms of relying on government assistance in start-ups thus advocating a
sense of dependency rather than independency. The
of management still influence entrepreneurship courses. Many entrepreneurship
courses advocate market research through focus groups, which are not suited to
new to the world products.
Business plans are almost always at the central
core of any curriculum where there is little evidence that planning leads to
success in entrepreneurship.
Perhaps business models with an emphasis on opportunity development, evaluation,
resource identification and gathering, skill development, network building might
be more worthwhile areas to spend valuable class time on. Where elements of
creativity are added to a course, tools like Edward De Bono’s
Six Thinking Hats
are introduced with very little application to the real world problems that an
entrepreneur might face. Examinations are still focused on testing memory and
intelligence where it is creativity the potential entrepreneur really needs.
One of the biggest tragedies of entrepreneurship education is very little if no
focus is given to various technologies that a potential entrepreneur will
require in a new business. The acquisition of technology is one of the greatest
difficulties SMEs in developing countries face and little is done within the
education sphere to solve this problem. A graduating student may have acquired
some general business skills but has little or no knowledge or access to the
means to acquire the knowledge to develop a farm, a small engineering shop, a
food manufacturing operation, or a cosmetic manufacturing operation. There is
indeed a strong argument here that the responsibility for entrepreneurship
education should be outside business schools and within schools that teach
technical disciplines such as science, engineering, food technology, and
agriculture. One can see around the ASEAN region that it is the non-business
schools that show innovation with their outreach programs while business schools
fall into the trap of cashing in on their BBA, MBA, and now DBA programs.
This leads onto a comment about research. So much entrepreneurship research is
published around the world in so many journals. With the advent of ‘checkbook
academia’ with ‘pay
to publish’ research, one must ask the
question: What contribution is all this
research really making to the phenomenon of entrepreneurship?
One has to fear that some research is just making something straightforward
complex and creating a discipline that is akin to an
mythology. Entrepreneurship is contextual, situational, and indeed a cultural
pursuit. Results will differ according to these variables, but what contribution
are these results making to our knowledge of entrepreneurship?
Finally, what are the goals of business schools in developing countries? Is it
to create new entrepreneurs in the image of existing entrepreneurs? Is it to
develop the nouvelle
entrepreneurs that will advance the country just like the long list of
entrepreneurs did in the Americas and Europeans during the industrial
Or is it to teach about entrepreneurship, do some academic research and
contribute to the growing mythology of the
Alternatively higher education and vocational institutions in developing
countries can reflect upon their own needs, contexts, and situations, develop
curriculum based on these needs and disseminate this new knowledge through
and participatory action research
programs to the people who really need it.
The entrepreneurs and enterprise we see in the media and read about in
biographies are the exception to the rule, far away from the average,
contributing to the myth we know as entrepreneurship. To this argument the
definition of entrepreneur and entrepreneurship is extremely important. The
validity of the comments of this paper, depend upon the definition. However if
the author’s comments are dismissed as being related to small business and not
entrepreneurial enterprises then according to statistics presented here
entrepreneurship is actually an extremely rare commodity. There are actually
very few entrepreneurs who can be described as innovative visionaries and the
few hundred that are, have been written about time and time again.
Based on the above discussed misconceptions of
a) Many countries have incorrectly developed their economic policies towards
entrepreneurship and development. As competition is price based and doesn’t add
value to the economy, employment other than the proprietor is rare, and most of
the pursued opportunities don’t require value adding strategies, other than
replicating another’s idea, and not increasing any diversity to the economy,
entrepreneurship actually tends to reallocate income rather than add value to
b) Have developed misguided perceptions and images about entrepreneurs just like
we have developed misguided perceptions and images the shape of the human body
through media advertising and glorification, and
c) Incorrectly dubbed this the entrepreneurial century when in fact this is more
like the century of the corporation.
However all is not negative. Entrepreneurship has made contributions to our
community shaping the way we live, providing part of our culture. From this
point of view there may be real value. This maybe an important part of the new
paradigm of business needed to meet the declining growth scenario assailing post
The types of decentralized enterprises that E. F. Schumacher talked about so
many years ago may be one of the solutions.
The current profile of enterprise does go some way to fit Schumacher’s profile,
alas, currently in an interrelated network of individuals, not yet in collective
manner that he foresaw. In this paradigm of entrepreneurship the need for
lifestyle will become the most important criteria of success, rather than
profitability and productivity. This means rewriting entrepreneurship curriculum
in a drastic manner.
Further, if we accept entrepreneurship as a behavior, then entrepreneurial
behavior is more related to creativity than it is to intelligence;
entrepreneurship can therefore be taught. Entrepreneurship will no longer be
based upon innovation but on value – value for both the consumer and the members
of the enterprise. Therefore education curriculum will need to focus on creating
value through offering alternative business models rather than the traditional
business tools that the MBA graduate is familiar with. In the end,
entrepreneurship is a narrative of travelling through life and needs to be seen
Notes and References
 Business schools
tend to employ a narrative of positivism about entrepreneurship within a
spirit of optimism, painting a picture of an entrepreneur as a ‘mythical
person’ with exceptional qualities that can be reproduced over and over
again. See: Steyaert, C. (2007), of course that is not the whole (toy) story:
entrepreneurship and the cat’s cradle, Journal of Business Venturing,
Vol. 22, pp. 733-751. Entrepreneurship is framed in a way that can deal with all
societal problems that individuals need to deal with through a new social entity
called the entrepreneurial self. See: du Gay, P. (2004), Against ‘Enterprise’
(but not against ‘enterprise’, for that would make no sense), Organization,
Vol. 11, pp. 37-57.
is suggested as the engine of growth for an economy. There is a great amount of
literature on entrepreneurship and regional where much of it claims that
entrepreneurship, 1) promotes capital formation, 2) creates regional
development, 3) promotes balanced regional development, 4) reduces the
concentration of economic power, 5) creates wealth and distributes it more
evenly, 6) increases gross national product and per capita incomes, 7) induces
backward and forward linkages, 8) facilitates overall development, and 9) acts
as a catalytic agent for change. Audretsch, D., B., Keilbach, M., C., & Lehmann,
E.,E., (2006), Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth, Oxford, Oxford
University Press, Miles, R., E., Miles, G., & Snow, C., C., (2005),
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Continuous Innovation to create Economic Wealth, Palo Alto, CA, Stanford
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(2008), The Illusions of Entrepreneurship: The costly myths that
entrepreneurs, investors, and policy makers live by, New Haven, Yale
entrepreneurial mindset could be made up of a number of socio-psycho factors
which influence opportunity recognition and behavior. These facets or personal
paradigms include a person’s alertness, motivation, prior knowledge, strategic
outlook, creativity, propensity to action, talents and abilities, and
interpersonal skills. These are interrelated to a person’s sense of self, ego,
encoded assumptions, beliefs, and values, expectations, goals, and other
restraints. These facets will be influenced by external events, perceptions,
feedback from current actions, and motivational triggers based upon the strength
of the gap between a person’s present situation and vision. For a deeper
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uncommon for shareholders to dismiss a founder CEO from his/her position, even
where the company was formed from this person’s ideas and they were responsible
for the company’s early successes. One example is in Australia where Jim Penman,
the founder of the highly successful Jim’s Mowing Group, which owned 28
different franchises, faced being forced out of the company through a franchisee
referendum, resulting from a class action.
 This can be
clearly seen in countries like Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Italy, US
Congress majorities and the Presidency. In East Asia the KMT Government was
defeated a few years ago by the opposition, only to return again in another
election. In Japan the LDP Government which ruled for the last 50 years was
defeated by the opposition.
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(1995). Danger in the Comfort Zone: From the Boardroom to the Mailroom – How
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issues, holding meetings, where the appearance of being busy is all that is
important. Long reports which nobody reads are prepared and follow up rarely
occurs. People lose sight of what is important and success in the marketplace is
of secondary importance. Pseudowork is preoccupied with meeting
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companies we don’t know today. These will be new companies that have aligned
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great influence in their lives and take action based on these beliefs. Likewise
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 There are in
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dozen of these traits have been examined about causality with entrepreneurship.
Personalities are very complex and most psychological profiling methods measure
them simply missing much of the depth of a personality. Thus personalities
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 Mudge, C.,
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Schweikart and Lynne Pierson Doti’s book on the role entrepreneurs played in the
development of the United States is excellent reading. Schweikart, L., & Pierson
Doti, L. (2010), American Entrepreneur: The fascinating stories of the people
who defined business in the United States, New York, AMACON.
 Signs of
the corporate century could include; the concentration of retailing, the
concentration of banking, corporations that are financially larger than
sovereign nations, many industries now dominated by multinational corporations,
the concentration of brand ownership, and heavy emphasis on firm control of the
R., (2011), The End of Growth: Adapting to our new economic reality,
Gabriola Island, Canada, New Society Publishers.
Schumacher, E.F. (1974), op. cit.
hinders community transformation and economic evolution: Isn’t equal opportunity
a basic human right? - Murray Hunter
On Some of the Misconceptions about Entrepreneurship - Murray Hunter
Knowledge, Understanding and the God Paradigm - Murray Hunter
Do Confucian Principled Businesses Exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter
Samsara and the Organization - Murray Hunter
Integrating the philosophy of Tawhid – an Islamic approach to organization. -
with all the hype – a look at aspirational marketing - Murray Hunter
Does Intrapreneurship exist in Asia? - Murray Hunter
One Man, Multiple Inventions: The lessons and legacies of Thomas Edison -
People tend to start businesses for the wrong reasons - Murray Hunter
emotions influence, how we see the world? - Murray Hunter
How we create new ideas - Murray Hunter
Where do entrepreneurial opportunities come from? - Murray Hunter
five types of thinking we use - Murray Hunter
Evaluating Entrepreneurial Opportunities: What’s wrong with SWOT? - Murray
motivation really works - Murray Hunter
Evolution of Business Strategy - Murray Hunter
Not all opportunities are the same: A look at the four types of
entrepreneurial opportunity -
Do we have a creative intelligence? - Murray Hunter
Imagination may be more important than knowledge: The eight types of imagination
we use - Murray Hunter
The environment as a multi-dimensional system:
Taking off your rose coloured
- Murray Hunter
Generational Attitudes and Behaviour -
Groupthink may still be a hazard to your organization - Murray Hunter
Perpetual Self conflict: Self awareness as a key to our ethical drive, personal mastery, and perception of
entrepreneurial opportunities - Murray Hunter
The Continuum of Psychotic Organisational Typologies - Murray Hunter
There is no such person as an entrepreneur, just a person who acts
entrepreneurially - Murray Hunter
Go Home, Occupy Movement!!-(The McFB– Was Ist Das?) - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
Diplomatie préventive - Aucun siècle Asiatique sans l’institution pan-Asiatique - prof. dr. Anis Bajrektarevic
and the New World Order - Paul Adams