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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 28, Issue 5, September 2013, Pages 633–651
The entrepreneurial-intentions literature implicitly assumes that all intending entrepreneurs have similar growth aspirations, despite the observed dichotomy of growth- and independence-oriented new ventures. We integrate the ‘individual-opportunity nexus’ with heterogeneous opportunities into the entrepreneurial intentions model such that intending entrepreneurs may exhibit different growth intentions which drives their choice between growth- or independence-oriented new ventures. The individual's predisposition for growth (or not) will depend on the interaction of the salient outcomes offered by the opportunity with the attitudes of the individual towards those outcomes, and by differences in entrepreneurial self-efficacy. We find that the attitudinal antecedents differ for growth compared to independence intentions, and suggest a way to identify intending entrepreneurs who are predisposed to growth.
The identification of individuals with entrepreneurial intentions is important because it facilitates private investment and public funding being most efficiently channeled toward those who will start new businesses that create value for individuals and society. There has been substantial research into the antecedent causes of the formation of entrepreneurial intentions, but previous authors have treated entrepreneurial intention as a single generic construct (Bird, 1988, Bird and Jelinek, 1988, Fitzsimmons and Douglas, 2011, Krueger, 1993, Krueger and Brazeal, 1994, Krueger et al., 2000 and Lee et al., 2011), notwithstanding the general observation that entrepreneurs tend to subsequently operate one of two main types of new ventures – either an independence-oriented new venture or a growth-oriented new venture (Carter et al., 2003, Cassar, 2006, Cassar, 2007, Gartner et al., 2004, Gundry and Welsch, 2001, Hessels et al., 2008, Kolvereid, 1992, Reynolds, 2000, Shane, 2009 and Shaver et al., 2001; and Wennekers and Thurik, 1999). Since entrepreneurship is a planned activity (Ajzen, 1985 and Krueger and Carsrud, 1993) it seems plausible that intending entrepreneurs would incorporate into their planning that their venture would be growth-oriented, and/or would be independence-oriented, to a greater or lesser degree. Accordingly, we suspect that the construct ‘entrepreneurial intentions’ is too broadly defined and lacks construct clarity (Suddaby, 2010) and thus potentially confounds prior research results. Shane and Venkataraman (2000; p.218) acknowledge the heterogeneity on both sides of the ‘individual-opportunity nexus’ and illuminate the critical issue when they say “The definition of an entrepreneur as a person who establishes a new organization is [problematic because it] does not include consideration of the wide variety of opportunities that different people identify… Consequently, empirical support for attributes… that differentiate entrepreneurs from other members of society is often questionable because these attributes confound the influence of opportunities and individuals.” Similarly, Davidsson and Wiklund (2001) argue that to understand entrepreneurial intentions one must consider both the characteristics of the individual and the organization in which they would work. Thus, studies of the antecedents of entrepreneurial intentions that neglect the heterogeneity on the opportunity side of the nexus are likely to confound the influence of opportunities and individuals, such that intentions attributable to individuals might depend on the specific new venture opportunity envisioned. By considering the main dichotomy of new venture types on the opportunity side of the individual-opportunity nexus we hope to provide a better understanding of entrepreneurial intentions and thereby better illuminate the public policy and educational implications of supporting nascent and fledgling entrepreneurs. Failing to consider heterogeneity of venture type in studies of entrepreneurial intention may cause public policy makers and educators to mentally homogenize entrepreneurs and inadvertently contribute to the failure rate of new ventures by encouraging the placement of ‘square pegs into round holes’ with consequent personal and societal losses. Over the past few decades it has become conventional wisdom that governments should support new venture initiation. The basis for public financial support of nascent and fledgling entrepreneurs has been that most new job creation is by growth-oriented ‘gazelles’ that contribute disproportionately to employment growth and tax revenues (Birch, 1981 and Storey, 1994). However several authors have pointed out that high-growth firms are relatively rare and the vast majority of new ventures are created primarily to provide ‘salary-substitution’ small businesses for their owners (Hessels et al., 2008, Shane, 2009 and Wennekers and Thurik, 1999). Shane (2009) argues that public support of salary-substitution new ventures is not an efficient use of public funds, and that funding policies should more-selectively identify those nascent entrepreneurs who are likely to establish high-growth businesses such that public funds are channeled to those most likely to use these in society's best interests. He suggests that screening mechanisms be applied to direct support to those who have higher potential for creating new jobs and generating tax revenue, rather than offering support to all start-up firms. He acknowledges that it is difficult to generalize on the likelihood of subsequent growth, but suggests that we should focus on the characteristics of the entrepreneurial opportunity as well as on the motivations and human capital of the nascent entrepreneur. This paper responds to that call. The second main issue addressed in this paper is the incompleteness of our understanding of the process by which entrepreneurial intentions are formed, and of the underlying cognitive antecedents of entrepreneurial intentions. Researchers have argued that individuals form the intention to become entrepreneurs on the basis of the ‘perceived desirability’ and ‘perceived feasibility’ of the new venture opportunity envisioned (Krueger, 1993, Krueger and Brazeal, 1994, Krueger and Carsrud, 1993 and Krueger et al., 2000). Perceived desirability refers to the personal appeal of entrepreneurial action and depends on the individual's attitudes to five salient outcomes of entrepreneurship, namely income, autonomy, risk, work effort, and other intrinsic costs and benefits, following Douglas and Shepherd, 2000 and Douglas and Shepherd, 2002. Lee et al. (2011) refer to the intrinsic costs and benefits as the job satisfaction associated with being self-employed and in this paper we will refer to them as ‘work enjoyment’ for reasons we explain later. Perceived feasibility refers to the individual's confidence that they can successfully complete specific relevant tasks. In the entrepreneurial context perceived feasibility is parsimoniously measured by ‘entrepreneurial self-efficacy’ (Bandura, 1977, Boyd and Vozikis, 1994, Chen et al., 1998, De Noble et al., 1999, McGee et al., 2009 and Zhao et al., 2005). But in these studies we often see inconsistent results for the attitudes to the salient outcomes used to proxy perceived desirability. Attitude to risk, for example, is sometimes significantly (e.g. Douglas and Shepherd, 2002) and more often insignificantly (e.g. Brockhaus, 1980, Busenitz and Barney, 1997, Fitzsimmons and Douglas, 2011 and Palich and Bagby, 1995) related to entrepreneurship. But what if more-growth-oriented individuals react positively to risk due to commensurately higher profits, which they need for growth (see Davidsson et al., 2009), while independence-oriented individuals react negatively to risk due to their lesser preference for growth and profits and their greater preference for non-monetary benefits of entrepreneurship (see Wiklund et al., 2003)? If so, the sign and significance of attitude to risk as an antecedent of generic entrepreneurial intentions would depend on the proportion of growth-oriented versus independence-oriented intending entrepreneurs in the sample. Further, we note that high entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) is commonly found to be strongly associated with entrepreneurial intentions, but Fitzsimmons and Douglas (2011) recently found that ‘inevitable entrepreneurs’ with low ESE nonetheless intend to start new businesses. If high ESE is a significant determinant of growth-oriented intentions, but is not significant for those contemplating (less complex) independence-oriented ventures, the effect size and significance of ESE as a determinant of generic entrepreneurial intentions will depend on the proportion of growth-oriented intending entrepreneurs in the sample. Thus the first research question in this paper is whether the intention to become a growth-oriented entrepreneur is a separate construct to the intention to become an independence-oriented entrepreneur, and thus whether some potential entrepreneurs are predisposed to the pursuit of growth while others are not. The second research question is whether the cognitive antecedents of these two subcategories of entrepreneurial intention are different — i.e. do growth-intending individuals have different cognitions regarding income, autonomy, risk and other salient outcomes of new ventures compared to independence-intending individuals? Thirdly, do ESE and other human capital factors (such as age, gender and prior education) impact differently on the two types of entrepreneurial intention? The final research question is whether we can identify, via these cognitive and human capital variables, those intending entrepreneurs who are predisposed to pursue growth as distinct from those who are not. By investigating these issues we make several important contributions to the entrepreneurial intentions literature. First, we further build the theory of entrepreneurial intentions by integrating into this theory the individual-opportunity nexus, the heterogeneity of both individuals and opportunities, and the individual's utility-maximizing choice among alternative opportunities to best suit the individual's attitudes and abilities, Second, we demonstrate that growth-oriented intentions (GOI) and independence-oriented intentions (IOI) vary across individuals, and that within individuals there is a significant negative relationship between these intention scores. Third, we demonstrate that growth intentions and independence intentions are explained by different cognitive antecedents. Fourth, we show that several ‘usual suspects’ thought to determine entrepreneurial intention appear to hold only for GOI (e.g. entrepreneurial self-efficacy) or to hold only for IOI (e.g. risk tolerance). In the following we first re-examine the intention-formation stage of the entrepreneurial process to build additional theory to explain how growth-orientation is integrated into the formation of entrepreneurial intentions. Subsequently we develop hypotheses concerning the formation of intentions for each of the two main types of entrepreneurial venture; describe our sample and method; present the results of our empirical analysis, and discuss the results and consider the implications for public policy, entrepreneurial education, and further research.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
In this paper we have examined the individual's intention to engage in entrepreneurial behavior from the perspective of the two main types of new ventures commonly observed. We investigated the intentions formation process and concluded that the intention to form a growth-oriented or an independence-oriented new venture is embedded early in the intentions-formation process because the new venture chosen by the individual will be the result of the nexus of the individual's attitudes to the salient outcomes of the new venture and the new venture's provision of those salient outcomes. We argued that the intending entrepreneur will evaluate new venture opportunities in terms of five salient outcomes of new ventures and would expect a priori that growth-oriented and independence-oriented new ventures businesses would provide different quanta of these five salient outcomes. We developed scales that provided a two-factor solution indicating that growth-oriented intentions and independence-oriented intentions are separate and distinct constructs within the generic intention to start one's own business. We postulated hypotheses relating to the expected sign and strength of relationship between growth-oriented intentions (GOI) or independence-oriented intentions (IOI) and the five salient outcomes, entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE), and several control variables. To test these hypotheses, we first conducted principal components analysis on the results of a 20-item survey to find a two factor solution corresponding to GOI and IOI, with acceptable reliabilities, and used the summated indices of the five-item GIO factor and the eight-item IOI factor as the independent variables in the subsequent regression analysis. Attitudes to the five salient outcomes of career alternatives for each respondent were revealed via a conjoint experiment. ESE was estimated using a 23-item survey; and demographic and other control variables were collected via a separate survey. We found that IOI depends negatively (and significantly) on risk tolerance, and positively but insignificantly (p = 0.102) on attitude to autonomy, while GIO depends positively (and highly significantly) on ESE, negatively (and highly significantly) on attitude to work enjoyment, and positively (and marginally significantly) on the individual being male. The signs for GIO and IOI individuals were opposite for most of the above-mentioned independent variables. Although many of these relationships are not statistically significant in this study, it nonetheless seems possible to make a reliable ‘first-cut’ to discern growth-oriented individuals by measuring their ESE, their attitudes to work enjoyment (or conversely to income), risk, and autonomy, as well as testing for their masculine traits. A larger sample of actual intending entrepreneurs, particularly a longitudinal study of those who go on to launch and grow a business (on not), might validate or deny these findings. 7.1. Contribution to the literature This paper makes the following main contribution to the entrepreneurship literature. First, it examines the process of the formation of entrepreneurial intentions rather than simply assuming that these intentions simply arise. It integrates the individual-opportunity nexus, and the utility-maximizing choice of new venture opportunity, into the formation of entrepreneurial intentions, such that the entry of the individual into the nascency phase of the entrepreneurial process necessarily involves pursuit of the new venture which is expected to maximize the individual's utility because it provides the best combination of salient outcomes relative to the individual's attitudes to those salient outcomes. This paper also integrates first-person and third-person opportunities (McMullen and Shepherd, 2006) by separating opportunity recognition from the motivation to act entrepreneurially. Second, this paper establishes that intentions for growth-oriented new ventures and for intentions for independence-oriented new ventures are separate and distinct constructs within the generic entrepreneurial intention construct and that prior studies potentially may have produced misleading empirical due to confounding the effects of the individual and the opportunity. Third, it establishes that antecedent entrepreneurial abilities and attitudes have a differential effect on entrepreneurial intentions according to the type of new venture envisioned. The previously enigmatic ‘attitude to risk’ as a determinant (or not) of entrepreneurial intentions now appears to relate only to IOI, not to GIO. High ESE relates only to GIO and is insignificant for IOI. Attitude to the non-monetary benefits of new venture ownership (work enjoyment), commonly supposed to be a strong driver of entrepreneurial intentions, is now seen to be viewed as non-significant for IOI individuals but is viewed as negative and highly significant by GIO individuals. Another strongly held assumption questioned by this study is that attitude to autonomy, while close to being marginally significant (p = 0.125) for IOI individuals in this sample, is nowhere near significant for those with GOIs. Fourth, this paper suggests that growth-oriented intentions, rather than generic entrepreneurial intentions, should be the focus of policy makers interested in funding the start-up of new business ventures. Applicants for public funding (and perhaps also private equity funding) might be asked to qualify themselves on the basis of their entrepreneurial self-efficacy and their attitudes to the outcomes of entrepreneurship. 7.2. Limitations Of course this study has limitations. First, the results may not generalize to other samples. While the context and sample for this study (Thai MBA students) is interesting and presents a useful divergent perspective outside the western context (Johns, 2006), the results refer to a specific subset of Thai society and may not generalize across Thais (due to socio-economic differences) or across MBA students in other cultures. A related issue is whether MBA students can reasonably be used as proxies for intending entrepreneurs. Shepherd and DeTienne (2005) argue that MBA students are an acceptable proxy for nascent entrepreneurs, since they are at a ‘crossroads of employment’ where they might choose to start their own business venture in preference to seeking employment with an existing firm, and unlike undergraduate students, MBA students are substantially older and are likely to have a decade or more of business experience plus well-established business and social networks, and perhaps will also have better access to the funding required for new venture establishment. Note that here we are concerned with intending entrepreneurs, prior to the nascency stage in the entrepreneurial process, and thus the use of MBA students is probably even less problematic. Nonetheless a superior approach is to identify intending entrepreneurs by their own revelation, via ‘cold-call’ studies such as the ‘PSED’ (Reynolds, 2000) and similar surveys that would identify intending entrepreneurs, but that approach is extremely expensive due to the low yield secured. Although possibly not ideal, we believe the use of MBA students in this study has value in that it has allowed us to find novel results that may be validated (or refuted) by future studies utilizing more-authentic data sources. Another limitation is the low explanatory power of the regression equations. Clearly there are important missing variables that are not mediated by ESE, the salient attitudes, or the control variables we have included. But note that we did not set out to explain the entire variance surrounding GOI or IOI — our task was to ascertain whether GIO and IOI are differentially determined by the ‘usual suspects’ of intention analysis, viz: ESE, attitudes, age, gender, and so on. But for predictive purposes a higher degree of explained variance would be necessary, and predicting who will grow (or not) is what Shane (2009) has indeed called for. Thus more work needs to be done to develop more reliable survey items and scales for the independent variables identified here as critical differentiators, as well as on identifying other independent variables that are significant antecedents of GOI. We believe it is nonetheless a useful contribution to have identified the independent variables that do seem to explain a significant fraction of the variance surrounding GOI and IOI, and simultaneously to have demonstrated that some of the usual suspects do not significantly impact upon either or both of these intentions. 7.3. Implications for policy, practise, education and further research Public support for nascent and fledgling entrepreneurs includes government grants and other seed funding, and the acceptance of fledgling new ventures into ‘technology incubators’ where they are nurtured using at least some public funding. Such incubators often utilize ‘eccentric’ admission criteria that derive largely from the prior experience and beliefs of the incubator managers or their Board, and in any case may have less predictive accuracy than a more-scientific approach that accurately measures the cognitive drivers of growth entrepreneurship. If, as is often the case, the avowed mission of the incubator is to facilitate the successful growth of new ventures (or a similar performance metric) then they would be best served by applying admission and retention criteria that include the four main drivers of GOI that we have identified in this research. Implications for practice may include inducing those fledgling and practicing entrepreneurs who are ill-suited attitudinally to growth to undertake further business education and/or attitude-modification training to build ESE, and increase their tolerance for risk. New business incubators may be able to significantly increase the growth-orientation of fledgling firms admitted by working to enhance their ESE and to modify their attitudes during the time that the firms spend in the incubator. Practising entrepreneurs who did not have high-growth intentions but who find themselves in high-growth situations might be provided with counseling and training to modify their cognitions, or alternatively be assisted to transfer ownership of that new venture to others more suited to growth entrepreneurship. Implications for entrepreneurship education include recognizing the main dichotomy between growth-oriented and independence-oriented entrepreneurship in our teaching of entrepreneurship, rather than teaching either a single simplistic definition or a variety of conflicting definitions of what constitutes entrepreneurship. Class discussions concerning the formation of entrepreneurial intentions need to consider the underlying cognitions, rather than treating intentions as a ‘black box’ that is somehow revealed by outward manifestations (such as cognitive style) or by subsequent actions. Our teaching may need to include (even more than it does already) attitude modification with regard to risk and work tolerance, and to emphasize that the pursuit of work enjoyment in the workplace may be made complementary to, rather than in competition with, the pursuit of profit and growth opportunities. There are many implications for further research arising from this study. First, studies might be conducted in other national and situational contexts to determine whether or not these findings are generalizable, and sample sizes larger than used in this study might cause some of the independent variables to show up as significant determinants of GOI or IOI. Second, future studies should attempt to refine the independent variable constructs and/or to discover other significant determinants of GOI and IOI, including mediating and moderating variables to facilitate better prediction of these two main entrepreneurial intentions. Third, a measure of ‘growth-self-efficacy’ might need to be developed rather than rely on generic measures of entrepreneurial self-efficacy, such that improved predictors of growth-intentions can be developed. Similarly, better measures of human, social, financial and technological capital should also be utilized to improve predictive accuracy of a growth-intentions scale. Fourth, future research might examine the subsistence, lifestyle and salary-substitution sub-categories of independence-oriented new ventures, to ascertain whether these depend differentially on the underlying antecedent independent variables. Fifth, the ‘growth aspirations’ literature should be linked with growth intentions studies of individuals via longitudinal studies that follow entrepreneurs over time (e.g. Cassar, 2007) to ascertain whether aspirations increase or diminish over time and in response to business circumstances. Growth-oriented entrepreneurs may revert to independence-oriented as time passes (e.g. see Dutta and Thornhill, 2008). Finally, the opposite situation, where an independence-oriented entrepreneur ‘strikes gold’ and changes to become growth-oriented, suggests an interesting extension of the entrepreneurship literature. The study of the individual-opportunity nexus as the new venture continues to evolve seems like fertile ground for researchers who are interested in the way that firms evolve relative to top management characteristics and the market context in which the firm is situated.