How Do We Go About Defining & Characterising The Entrepreneur?


This article features some annotations on a short section in David Rae's book Entrepreneurship: From Opportunity to Action. The following post synthesizes some theories about the influence of personality on entrepreneurial activity.

McClelland (1961) - nAch is an abbreviation that is used in entrepreneurship theory for the need for achievement. nAch is a key driving factor for successful entrepreneurs. 
This pursuit of success is particularly prevalent in American business and socio-cultural values, and can be characterized as a direct consequence of the cultural values of post world war America society where emphasis was placed on individual success and overcoming the established social boundaries of the time.

Gray (1998) - believed that the entrepreneurial attitude was closely correlated to cultural background.

Gibb (1996) - The dynamic social and economic context of the small business is believed to be beneficial to entrepreneurial learning. This allows for action based learning (ie. learning by doing as opposed to purely theoretical or 'by the book' learning).

Jack & Anderson (1999) - These theorists believed that entrepreneurship cannot be learned academically without practice based learning and converting theory into practice. It is therefor an experiential process (ie. based in and formed by experience)

Cognitivist paradigm: Entrepreneurship can only be effectively learned through action based learning (as Jack & Anderson, Gibb state). This is because it is a practical and heavily social experience.

Entrepreneurial learning is also a continuous process of reflection, evaluation, personal and professional development, and social learning.

In static, traditional definitions, (in line with positivist thinking) neither creativity change nor uncertainty were involved and the entrepreneur is simply described as playing a "fixed role in economic exchanges."

Processual or dynamic theories (in line with interpretive approaches), uncertainty is accepted as natural. The entrepreneur can then create and exploit avenues of opportunity within this unstable economic environment.

Static definitions of the entrepreneur: (positivist thinking)
  1. The person who supplies financial capital
  2. A manager
  3. The owner of an enterprise

Processual definitions of the entrepreneur (interpretive approach)
  1. Risk taking
  2. Innovating
  3. Decision making
  4. Leading an industry
  5. Organising economic resources
  6. Allocating resources

Entrepreneurs = leaders, with the following traits:

  1. Intellect
  2. Will
  3. Initiative
  4. Foresight
  5. Intuition

Hope that helped to clear things up, keep an eye out for more notes on this book as the month progresses!

  • Share:

You Might Also Like