Key Words: entrepreneurship, choice, aptitude, motivation

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1 Entrepreneurial Choice: Aptitudes, Motivations and Behaviour. Serena Cubico *, Elisa Bortolani, Alessia Cubico, Giuseppe Favretto UNIVERSITY OF VERONA - ITALY ABSTRACT Entrepreneurship represents an interesting way of developing professionally and personally: people have different levels of aptitudes; they are led to be entrepreneurs for various motivations, and put specific behaviours to use. The sample consists of 100 users of the Chamber of Commerce s New-Entrepreneurial-Service in Verona who were interviewed by telephone. The first results reveal that successful entrepreneurs are (significantly): less willing to conciliate work and family, more intent upon realizing new ideas, and more oriented to a working without a boss (effects of age and educational qualifications are reported) and present different entrepreneurial aptitude levels related to behaviour (i.e. difficulty in information research, management of bureaucracy ). Key Words: entrepreneurship, choice, aptitude, motivation 1. INTRODUCTION Entrepreneurship is an important path towards personal and economic development (Dowling and Schmude, 2007; Fritsch and Mueller, 2004). Study and support of entrepreneurship is important: this phenomenon contributes to job creation and growth; it is crucial to competitiveness; it triggers personal potential and is a motivating force in the market economy (European Commission 2003). The same Commission (2003, p.6) defines entrepreneurship as: the mindset and process to create and develop economic activity by blending risk-taking, creativity and/or innovation with sound management, within a new or an existing organization As in other studies (Grilo and Thurik, 2002; GEM, 2005), we equate self-employment to entrepreneurship: these workers provide income for themselves in an independent way. Entrepreneurship is a field of study that involves different approaches. In the beginning, psychological studies investigated motivations and personal traits that underlie start up and entrepreneurial success. Over time, the focus turned increasingly towards models that integrate individual and environmental factors. In fact, recent * corresponding author:

2 CUBICO, S., BORTOLANI, E., CUBICO, A., AND FAVRETTO, G. research highlights ties between personal (motivations, aptitude, risk-taking tendencies, innovativeness ) and contextual elements (expectations and family characteristics, social and institutional support ) (Baum et al., 2007; Brockhaus and Nord, 1989; Favretto and Cubico, 2001). Sociological studies have been oriented towards understanding social and family backgrounds of entrepreneurs and effects that entrepreneurial choices have on family, roles and social life in general (Blanchflower, 2000; Steel, 2004). Economic factors (paucity, opportunity, costs and income), technological developments and their effects on work, and the demographical factors of entrepreneurs have dominated economic sciences (Audretsch and Thurik, 2001; Cuervo, 2005). 2. RESEARCH The present research considers different approaches used in entrepreneurial studies and focuses on selected personal variables that play a role with aspiring entrepreneurs before and after the start up process. Context Research was carried out in the Chamber of Commerce s New-Entrepreneurial-Service in Verona, a free service that offers informational and training services to aspiring entrepreneurs (since 2001). Objectives The objectives of our research are: to estimate entrepreneurial aptitudes of people who show entrepreneurial interest and to distinguish specific ways of being, or of not being, an entrepreneur; to see whether successful entrepreneurs, when compared to unsuccessful ones, show different motivations in their entrepreneurial choices; to describe different choices and behaviour of people who have different motivations and aptitudes. Sample The sample consists of 100 users (representative of population) of the Chamber of Commerce s New-Entrepreneurial-Service in Verona ( ), who were contacted by telephone interview in August and September The sample breakdown is as follows: - Sex: female 61%; male 39% - Average age: (s.d. 8.29) - Origin: non-city 51%; city 49% 1 During the course of the present paper s research, another study is being carried out on one group of earlier users ( ). 2

3 ENTREPRENEURIAL CHOICE: APTITUDES, MOTIVATIONS AND BEHAVIOUR. - Occupation: 39% office workers, 21% entrepreneurs, 5% blue collar workers, 2% students, 19% unemployed, 14% other. Instruments The telephone interviews were supported by these two instruments: Entrepreneurship Questionnaire EQ EQ is an ad hoc questionnaire made up of 55 items regarding different aspects of entrepreneurial life: - enterprise statistics (sector, dimension, age, turnover) - business establishment (bureaucracy, financing and loans, information and training) - motivations. Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test TAI (Test di Attitudine Imprenditoriale). TAI (Favretto and Sartori, 2007) describes the subject in relation to the potential toward entrepreneurship and it is defined by selected factors (Goal Orientation, Leadership, Adaptability, Need for Achievement, Need for Empowerment, Innovation, Flexibility, Autonomy). In this research we used a shortened version (23 items instead of 75), created through the Partial Credit Model PCM (Master, 1982). 3. RESULTS In general, we did not find significant differences between entrepreneurs and nonentrepreneurs regarding: origin (city/non-city), gender, and previous job. Aptitude In this specific group of aspiring entrepreneurs, significant differences in the entrepreneurial aptitude did not emerge. Entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs alike show high levels of aptitude; it is important to remember that the users of New- Entrepreneurial-Service of the Chamber of Commerce of Verona are aspiring entrepreneurs (not people who only need information). It is possible however to discern that the different levels in the TAI score 2 for the subgroup of 21 entrepreneurs present interesting relationships (Chi square analysis, pvalue <.05) with: - less difficulty in receiving permits; - less use of private financing. Motivations We have calculated Chi Square (χ 2 ) and significant differences between entrepreneurs (21) and non-entrepreneurs (79) on motivation. Table 1 summarizes results. 2 Data has been converted into a five point Likert Scale for purposes of elaboration. 3

4 CUBICO, S., BORTOLANI, E., CUBICO, A., AND FAVRETTO, G. Table 1: Motivations for entrepreneurial job among entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs (N= 100; Likert Scale: 1-not at all important, 2-little importance, 3-more or less important, 4-important, 5-very important ; Chi square analysis) MOTIVATION ENTREPRENEUR NON-ENTREPRENEUR pvalue Course of studies not coherent with 75% 44%.047 previous job 45% 27% To conciliate work and family.026 Little Little 30% 9% To realize new ideas.003 To work without a boss Dissatisfaction with previous job Searching for better economic circumstances A desire to take risks A desire to escape monotony Previous entrepreneurial family background Curiosity because friends have done it Personal achievement To have a steady job Very 40% 51.0% 42.9% 56.1% Important 53.1% Important 82.7% 87.8% 55.1% Important 65.3% Very 61% It is possible to see that some motivations distinguish entrepreneurs from nonentrepreneurs. Behaviour In the entrepreneurs under study we found that some behaviours enacted during the process of enterprise creation are related to specific personal data variables. In particular, Table 2 describes correlations in two specific entrepreneurial behaviour. Table 2: Correlations between behaviours under consideration (N= 21; Rho Spearman) Taking out a bank loan - Educational level (-.475*) - Motivation: to have a steady job (.755**) Receiving support from local - Difficulty in receiving permits (.449*) trade associations (pvalue: *=.05; **=.001) This result reveals that involving banks and seeking information from local trade associations can be related to different motivations and educational levels

5 ENTREPRENEURIAL CHOICE: APTITUDES, MOTIVATIONS AND BEHAVIOUR. Other variables In the final part of this work, we have chosen to highlight some other interesting links that emerge from the research (Table 3). Table 3: Correlations between personal variables, specific difficulties and motivations in entrepreneurs (N= 21; Rho Spearman) Age - Difficulty in receiving permits (-.483*) - Course of studies not coherent with previous job (.462*) - Realization of new ideas (-.458*) Educational level - Taking out a bank loan ( -.475*) - Dissatisfaction with previous job (-.492*) Difficulty in receiving permits Difficulty of timing with authorizations Satisfaction with New- Entrepreneurial-Service Dissatisfaction with previous job Searching for better economic circumstances - See Age - Receiving support by the local trade associations (.499*) - A desire to take risks (.688**) - A desire to escape monotony (.602**) - Working without a boss (.473*) - A desire to escape monotony (-.585**) - Personal achievement (-.594**) - See Educational level - Working without a boss (.614**) - Previous entrepreneurial family background (-.491*) A desire to take risks - See Difficulty in receiving permits - A desire to escape monotony (.712**) - Personal achievement (.585**) A desire to escape monotony - See Difficulty of timing with authorizations - See Satisfaction with New-Entrepreneurial-Service - See A desire to take risks - Personal achievement (.638**) Personal achievement - See Satisfaction with New-Entrepreneurial-Service - See A desire to take risks - See A desire to escape monotony Course of studies not - See Age coherent with previous job To conciliate work and family Realization of new ideas - To have a steady job (.630**) - See Age To have a steady job - Taking out a bank loan (.755**) - See To conciliate work and family - To work without a boss (.557*) To work without a boss - See Difficulty of timing with authorizations - See Dissatisfaction with previous job - See To have a steady job (pvalue: *=.05; **=.001) Some considerations about these last results: - age: a higher age helps in the relationship with bureaucracy and reduces new ideas; - educational level: higher levels raise the use of the financing and seems to trigger minor levels of dissatisfaction accompanied by less desire to change from previous job; 5

6 CUBICO, S., BORTOLANI, E., CUBICO, A., AND FAVRETTO, G. - aspiring entrepreneurs that declare a strong motivation to escape monotony present particularly in receiving permits and less satisfaction with the New-Entrepreneurial- Service, it seems that this type of person is less able to manage bureaucratic relationships; - the desire for a steady job and to conciliate work and family appear strongly related, as if a tranquil life is part of this way of working; - to work without a boss appears to be correlated in an interesting way to difficulty with timing of authorizations and with dissatisfaction in previous job, indicating that authority might be a specific problem with some aspiring entrepreneurs. 4. DISCUSSION We have found that successful entrepreneurs (users that create enterprises after their contact with the New-Entrepreneurial-Service) present specific characteristics. People who have high entrepreneurial aptitudes manage bureaucratic phases and their personal financial resources better. Different motivations characterized the successful entrepreneur, in fact he/she is: - not at all motivated by past education; - less driven by personal time management issues; - more or less motivated by the desire to work without a boss - very much motivated by the possibility of realizing new ideas. In our research, even with its limited sample number, it is possible to suggest that educational level influences financial autonomy and that local trade associations are an effective type of support for aspiring entrepreneurs that perceive difficulty in some bureaucratic phases. These results show that successful entrepreneurs are different from unsuccessful entrepreneurs (above all in certain motivations), which has practical consequences on career guidance of aspiring entrepreneurs, on entrepreneurial training and on decisionmaking support for entrepreneurial choices. References Audretsch, D.B. and Thurik, R. (2001). What s New about the New Economy? Sources of Growth in the Managed and Entrepreneurial Economies. Industrial and Corporate Change, 10(1), Baum, J.R., Frese, M. and Baron, R. (Eds.)(2007). The Psychology of Entrepreneurship. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates: Mahawah, NJ. Blanchflower, D.G. (2000). Self-employment in OECD Countries. Labour Economics, 7,

7 ENTREPRENEURIAL CHOICE: APTITUDES, MOTIVATIONS AND BEHAVIOUR. Brockhaus, R.H. and Nord, W.R (1989). An exploration of factor affecting the entrepreneurial decision: Personal characteristics vs. environmental conditions. Proceeding of the Academy of Management, Cuervo, A. (2005). Individual and Environmental Determinants of Entrepreneurship. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 1, Dowling, M. and Schmude, J. (Eds) (2007). Empirical Entrepreneurship in Europe. New Perspective. Edward Elgar Publishing: Northampton, Massachussets. European Commission (2003). Green Paper. Entrepreneurship in Europe. COM(2003) 27 final, Brussels Favretto G. and Sartori R. (a cura di) (2007). Le età dell impresa. Giovani imprenditori e lavoratori esperti. FrancoAngeli: Milano, Italia. Favretto, G. e Cubico, S. (2001). L esperienza del Centro Imprenditoria Giovanile di Verona. Valutazione e sviluppo del potenziale imprenditoriale, Magellano, 7, Fritsch, M. and Mueller, P. (2004). Effects of New Business Formation on Regional Development over Time. Regional Studies, 38(8), GEM Global Enterpreneurship Monitor (2005), Rapporto Nazionale Italia, [on line: Grilo, I. and Thurik, R. (2002). Determinats of entrepreneurship in Europe, in Audretsch, D.B., Thurik, R., Verheul, I and Wennekers, S. Entrepreneurship: Determinants and Policy in a European-US Comparison. Kluwer Academic Publisher: Dordrecht. Masters G. N. (1982). A Rasch Model for Partial Credit Scoring. Psychometrika, 47, Steele, G.R., (2004). Understanding Economic Man. Psychology, Rationality, and Values. The American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 63(5),

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