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MGT602 - Entrepreneurship - Lecture Handout 08

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  1. To identify some key entrepreneurial feelings and motivations.
  2. To identify key elements in an entrepreneur’s background.
  3. To discuss the importance of role models and support systems.
  4. To identify the similarities and differences between male and female entrepreneurs.
  5. To explain the differences between inventors and entrepreneurs.


There is no "true entrepreneurial profile"- entrepreneurs come from many educational backgrounds, family situations, and work experiences. A potential entrepreneur may presently be a nurse, secretary, assembly line worker, sales person, mechanic, home maker, manager or engineer. A potential entrepreneur can be male or female and of any race or nationality.

Locus of Control

One concern people have when forming is whether they will be able to sustain the drive and energy required to form something new and to manage the new enterprise and make it grow. While research results are inconsistent, internal control seems to be a characteristic of entrepreneurs.
Internal beliefs appear to differentiate entrepreneurs from the general public, but not from managers. Managers and entrepreneurs both have an internality tendency.

Feelings about Independence and Need for Achievement.

The entrepreneur also has the need for independence, to do things in his or her own way and time.
Another controversial characteristic is the entrepreneur’s need for achievement. McClelland specified three attributes as characteristics of entrepreneurs:

  1. Individual responsibility for solving problems and setting and achieving goals.
  2. Moderate risk taking as a function of skill.
  3. Knowledge of results of decision/task accomplishment. McClelland concluded that a high need for achievement leads individuals to engage in entrepreneurial behavior, although other studies have been inconsistent.

Risk Taking

Risk taking seems a part of the entrepreneurial process. However, it has not yet been empirically established whether risk-taking is a distinguishing characteristics of entrepreneurs.


Only a few background characteristics have differentiated the entrepreneur from the general populace or managers.
Childhood Family Environment The impact of birth order and social status has had conflicting research results. There is strong evidence that entrepreneurs, both male and female, tend to have self-employed or entrepreneurial fathers. Having a father who is self-employed provides a strong inspiration in the example of independence and flexibility of self-employment. This feeling of independence is often further enforced by an entrepreneurial mother. The overall parental relationship may be the most important aspect of the childhood environment in establishing the desirability of entrepreneurial activity. Parents of entrepreneurs need to be supportive and encourage independence, achievement, and responsibility. This supportive relationship appears to be most important for females. Female entrepreneurs tend to grow up in middle- to upper-class environments, where families are child-centered, and are similar to their fathers in personality.


Departure points

The activities occurring when the venture is started


An individual who creates something new

Locus of control

An attribute indicating the sense of control that a person has over life

Moral-support network

Individuals who give psychological support to an entrepreneur

Related Content: MGT602 - VU Lectures, Handouts, PPT Slides, Assignments, Quizzes, Papers & Books of Entrepreneurship