Developed characteristics 2
Need for achievement 2
Internal locus of control 2
Undeveloped characteristics 2
Risk-taking propensity 2
Entrepreneurs are those persons who spot opportunities and seek to generate economic value through creating and expanding economic activity (OECD-Eurostat, 2009). However, this definition is very general. For the lack of agreement on the essential entrepreneurial characteristics, there is no specific definition of entrepreneurs. For example, Hornaday (1982) identifies more than 40 traits associated with entrepreneurs, while Gibb (1982) considers there are only 12 core characteristics. Some of them are similar, but not all. Personal traits such as need for achievement, locus of control, innovativeness, risk-taking propensity, self-confidence and self-efficacy are closely related with entrepreneurial values and behaviors (Koh, 1996). This essay aims to identify and discuss these six key traits of being an entrepreneur. Examples and theoretical backgrounds are provided to support the argument.
Need for achievement
McClelland (1961) is the first theorist propounding that need for achievement is empirically associated with entrepreneurial behavior. He suggested that high achievers prefer moderate difficult tasks that offer calculated risk and provide clear performance feedback. Based on his studies, McClelland (1965) then proposed the strong link between such behavior and entrepreneurial success. Holland (1985) confirmed his theory, adding that entrepreneurial occupation are more attractive to those high achievers since it provides more opportunities to take advantage of their personality trait. Pillis and Reardon (2007) further stressed that n-ach is the strongest predictor of entrepreneurship.
However, Sexton and Bowman (1985) questioned the theory of n-Ach, saying that it is as applicable to managers as it is to entrepreneurs, and, there is no validate link between high achievement motivation and the decision to start a business. Yet based on a number of studies, it has been proved that, compared to managers, the company founders have higher achievement motivation (Begley & Boyd, 1987; Miner, Smith & Bracker, 1989). Besides, it is also related to company growth (Miner et. al.1989). This characteristic is not unique to the entrepreneurs, but is common to all the successful individuals.
Two month summer internship in a financial company demonstrates my strong need for achievement. As a fresher in the company, I was responsible for the beginning part of daily paper of my department which required me to collect data from Bloomberg. This software was totally new to me, however, my adept computer skill made this challenge easier. The superior always checked my pace and provided the clear feedback which accelerated my progress. The more positive feedback I received, the more I was encouraged to devote myself to the company. At the end of internship, I can handle all pages of department paper and even took part in the superiors’ seminar. Internal locus of control
Locus of control refers to people’s perception of whether they can control the event that affect them (Rotter, 1966). Specifically, individuals with internal locus of control (I.L.O.C) believe that they have control over what happens in their lives, while those with external locus of control (E.L.O.C) tend to attribute their outcomes to the external factors like luck or fate. Recent locus of control researchers’ studies show that not all the dimensions of Rotter measure can equally predict the entrepreneurial behavior (Gatewood, Shaver, and Gartner 1995 and Shaver and Scott 1991). Entrepreneurs are more likely to have an I.L.O.C. rather than an external one (Brockhaus and Horwitz 1986). Levin and Leginsky (1990) also find that entrepreneurs tend to reveal a