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Table of Contents
                            Book Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
Tables
Figures
Acknowledgements
1 Who is an entrepreneur?
2 The economists’ view of the entrepreneur
3 The socio-economic environment
4 The search for entrepreneurial traits: ‘The Big Three’
5 New entrepreneurial traits
6 Interactionism and cognitive approaches to personality
7 Paradigms, methodology and the construction of the entrepreneurial personality
8 The heterogeneity of entrepreneurs: cases and colour
9 The entrepreneurial personality: the state of the art
Bibliography
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

The Entrepreneurial Personality

Is there such a thing as an ‘entrepreneurial personality’? What makes some-
one an entrepreneur is a question that has intrigued the lay person and the
scholar for many years, but can such a personality be identified or is it
simply a socially constructed phenomenon? Elizabeth Chell pursues an
alternative line of argument: to show that the entrepreneurial personality
is, on the one hand, socially constructed, but on the other hand, presents
consistency in behaviours, skills and competencies.

This second edition of the highly acclaimed The Entrepreneurial Personal-
ity revisits the topic and updates the evidence from a multi-disciplinary per-
spective. The book carefully weaves together the arguments and views from
economists, sociologists and psychologists in order to develop a strong con-
ceptual foundation. It discusses the inferences that these experts have made
about the nature of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial process, and
explores whether such evidence has enabled psychometricians to develop
robust instruments for assessing the characteristics of entrepreneurs. The
evidence for a range of purported traits is reviewed and the models and
research designs of interested social scientists are explained and evaluated.
Throughout, Chell laces her argument richly with a set of cases derived from
primary and secondary sources.

This book presents a timely set of views on the entrepreneurial personal-
ity, and will be of great interest to academics in the fields of entrepreneurship,
economics, management, applied psychology and sociology. This accessible
text will also appeal to the interested general reader, as well as practitioners
and consultants dealing with entrepreneurs in the field.

Elizabeth Chell has held chairs at the universities of Newcastle, UMIST/
University of Manchester and Southampton. She is a Fellow of the Royal
Society for the Arts (RSA) and the British Academy of Management.

Page 156

Interactionism

The precursors of interactionism can be traced back to the 1920s (Ekeham-
mer, 1974). However, it was not so much the rediscovery of this early work,
but criticism of existing schools of thought that led Argyle and Little (1972)
to arrive at interactionism through a criticism of trait theory, whereas
Bowers (1973) reached a similar position from his critique of situationism.
There are three positions to be separated. The traditional view of traits as
primary determinants of behaviour can be summed up in the formula B = f
(P), where B stands for behaviour and P for personality. Situationism, on the
other hand, emphasises environmental or situational factors as the main
determinants of behaviour and can be summarised as B = f (E), where E
indicates ‘environment’ or ‘situation’. Interactionism implies that neither
personality nor situation is emphasised, but the interaction of these two
factors is regarded as the main source of variation – hence, B = f PE(P × E).
One issue for the interactionist school is the interpretation that may be
placed on ‘interaction’. Is it physical and thereby mechanistic [personality
and situation variables (the independent variables) cause the behavioural
response (dependent variable)]1 or psychological, where perception of the
situation is paramount? (Endler, 1983). Here the interpretation and the
meaning of the situation to the individual ‘cause’ him or her to behave in a
particular way2 (see Chell, 1985a: 19–23). In other words, the assumption
of traditional trait theory is that a person would exhibit a particular trait
similarly across all situations, showing little or no variability; situationists,
on the other hand, theorise the dominance of the situation, where there is no
variability in behaviour shown by people finding themselves in like situ-
ations; and in the interactionist model people show variability in their
behaviour across situations, that is, people behave in particular ways in
some situations but not others. This means that the psychologist should
consider both the aspects of person and situation in order to specify or
predict behaviour (Argyle and Little, 1972).

Measuring both personality and psychological aspects of a situation is a
tall order, particularly in field settings, and would require a very sophisti-
cated research design in order to capture data from behaviour across a broad
spectrum of situations and over a reasonable time period. Applications of
interactionism in the field have been undertaken with some success (see, for
example, Hacker, 1981; James and Sells, 1981; Ivancevich and Matteson,
1984; and, more recently, Brigham et al., 2007). One situational character-
istic that entrepreneurship scholars have singled out is that of founding
versus non-founding. Begley and Boyd (1986), for example, compared a
sample of owners (n = 239) who were either founders or non-founders. The
founders scored higher than non-founders on risk-taking propensity, the
need for achievement and tolerance of ambiguity. They found no differences
on measures of locus of control or Type A stress behavioural tendencies.
Sexton and Bowman-Upton (1986) measured conformity, energy level,

Cognitive approaches to personality 143

Page 157

interpersonal affect, risk-taking, social adroitness, autonomy, change, harm
avoidance and succorance. They sampled females from the following groups:
entrepreneurship majors (n = 54), non-entrepreneurship business majors
(n = 73), managers (n = 96) and entrepreneurs (n = 105). Among their find-
ings, they reported five of nine strong similarities between entrepreneurs and
the entrepreneurship majors and four significant similarities between busi-
ness students and business managers. Furthermore, practising entrepreneurs
were found to be lower in conformity and higher in energy level, risk-taking
and autonomy than business managers.

The influence of situations on behaviour and the inability of traits to
predict behaviour accurately was the line of attack made by Mischel (1968).
Situationism per se (i.e. the idea that behaviour can be explained wholly by
the situation a person finds himself in) was found to be untenable (Bowers,
1973). Mischel (1973, 1981) therefore argued for a reconceptualisation of
personality from the position of a cognitive social learning theorist, that is,
he assumed that behaviour was a learned response and that past experience
had a part to play in how people interpreted situations and reacted to them.
Furthermore, what is learned depends on the person’s construction system
(Kelly, 1955). This view accepts that people form consistent conceptions or
impressions of others but challenges the scientific status of traits and their
applicability to real-life situations. However, the classic theories of traits do
not predict behaviour in a single, specific situation; rather, they demonstrate
stylistic consistencies in behaviour across a number of situations and over
time (Kenrick and Funder, 1988). To demonstrate the predictive validity of
the trait, the situation should be relevant to the trait and observations should
be made over a number of occasions. For example, to demonstrate anxiety,
one would measure the trait before an anxiety-creating situation, such as
sitting an exam, and take the measure before several exam sittings to reduce
error variance due to uncontrolled situational variables, such as the student
being ill on a particular occasion or having a liking for a particular subject
being assessed (Epstein, 1977). Kenrick and Funder (1988: 31) conclude
that the best predictive coefficients can be obtained if: raters familiar with
the persona being rated are used; multiple observations are made, by mul-
tiple observers, of dimensions that are publicly observable; and behaviours
are used that are relevant to the dimension in question.

The person–situation debate was a wake-up call to psychologists that
has resulted in new guidelines for improving predictive validity. However,
Funder (2001) notes that there is a need to improve the measures of
behaviours and situations. There is still, arguably, too much dominance of
laboratories, use of questionnaires and of college students. Other criticisms
suggest the atheoretical nature and lack of practical use of trait research
(Endler and Parker, 1992), that it is trivial and non-cumulative (Carson,
1989), but that traits can predict behaviour if core aspects of relevant situ-
ations are taken into account (Matthews et al., 2003: 52). Clearly, there is
no room for complacency by trait psychologists. Moreover, there is scope

144 Cognitive approaches to personality

Page 312

taking 23, 28, 37, 48, 92, 94, 101–06,
156, 168, 171; insurable 32;
management 48, 103–4, 105, 130,
250, 261; minimisation 103;
perception 14, 160; preference 92;
uninsurable 27, 32–3 (see also
uncertainty); risk taker, calculated 33;
moderate 102

risk-taking 23, 28, 37, 48, 92, 94,
101–06, 144, 156, 157, 168, 226,
propensity 13, 109, 111, 121

rivalry 64, 70
Robinson Crusoe 41
Roddick, Anita 173, 223–7, 238,

239, 240–1, 242, 252, 260, 261–2,
286

role model 217; role of bank 227; of
capitalist 19; of entrepreneur 13, 17,
18–9, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27, 28, 30, 33,
34–6, 39, 41–2, 43, 45, 46–7, 48, 48;
of leader 64–5; of team 228; task-role
domain 156

Rosch, E. 195–6, 286
Rotter, J. B. 84, 98, 100, 110, 114, 286
routine 55, 60, 64, 188, 190; behaviour

36, 198
rules 53–4, 71–2, 76, 77, 78, 188, 189,

200, 207, 213, 224, 226, 251; of the
game 178, 190–1

Ryle, Gilbert 186–7, 198, 206, 286

Say, Jean-Baptiste 19–20, 38, 47, 286
schema 153, 203, 207
Schultz, T. W. 36–7, 46, 81, 287
Schumpeter, J. 4, 5, 9, 17, 20, 23, 26, 28,

32, 34–6, 38, 43, 46, 47, 49, 50, 72,
102, 109, 126, 132, 133, 184, 197,
225, 242, 245, 251, 287

scientific method 175 (see also method)
scripts 73–5, 78, 80, 161–2, 171, 246

(see also schema)
self 175, 189; self-belief 158, 171, 193,

204; -confidence 114, 129, 168, 170,
224, 259; -determination 148, 259;
-efficacy 154, 155–8, 170–1, 204,
205, 208, 259; -employment 8, 82,
89, 106, 111, 154; -esteem (SE) 114;
fulfilment 55; image 71; -interest 21,
44, 48, 56; knowledge 203, 208;
perception 192; promotion 71;
-serving 158

sense making 55, 188, 259
sensing-intuitive type (S-N) 114–6, 119;

sensing-judging type (S-J) 120;

sensing-thinking type (S-T) 119; (see
also MBTI)

sex 94–5, 115 (see also gender); -bias
115

Shackle, G. L. S. 24, 33, 37–41, 38, 42,
44, 45, 46, 47, 49, 60, 65, 76, 133,
170, 245, 277, 282, 285, 287, 290

Shane, S. 6, 75, 80, 131–2, 246, 287
Shaw, Percy 217–9, 220, 238, 239,

240–1, 252, 261–2, 264
simulation, mental 163, 171
Sinclair, Sir Clive 196, 214
situation, characteristics 128; framing

153; socio-economic 7, 53
situationism 143
skills 111, 167, 172, 213, 229, 230, 232,

235, 265; management 221, (see also
management); new resource 96; of
entrepreneur 44, 49, 68, 96, 130, 235,
237, 251

small business 53; small business owner-
manager 92, 101, 105, 120–1, 127,
136, 163, 214, 216, 233, 239, 241,
260, 266

Smith, Adam 19, 21–2, 45, 288
social 192, 195; capabilities 77, 150;

capital 164–5; cognition 15, 200–5;
competences 68, 137–9, 140, 220;
constraints 77 (see also structure);
constructionism 4, 6, 79, 174,
186–90, 192, 195, 197, 199, 200–5,
207, 210, 212, 214, 241–2, 249,
257–8, 266–7; constructivism 186,
192–8, 206, 248, 253; embeddedness
61, 72, 74–5, 79, 191, 220, 237, 246;
enterprise 3; group 55; learning 65,
78, 98, 110, 144, 146, 149, 150, 200,
204, 206, 207, 239, 244, 247, 253,
254, 258–60, 266; need 218, 224,
226; norms 4; order 191; problem
218; relations 59, 68, 75, 164;
responsibility 4; rules 4, 6 (see also
rules); skill 65, 211, 214; status 77;
systems 4

socialisation 89
society 56, 76, 198, 226, 246–7, 254,

257
socio-cultural theory 5, 56–7, 59, 61,

258
socio-economy 56, 59, 76, 216, 246–7,

254–5, 257, 263
Sociology 6, 245–7
solipsism 177–8
Static State Theory 31–2

Index 299

Page 313

Stevenson, H. H. 87, 107, 289
strategic: advantage 77; alliance 66, 68,

78; behaviour 7, 99, 103, 104, 111,
119, 127, 222, 227, 231, 234, 261;
management 96

stress: (see also job stress) management
130

structuration theory 6, 12, 51–5, 58,
73–6, 79, 81, 246–7, 249

structure 52, 55, 73, 254–5, 255, 260;
levels in socio-economy 57, 58; socio-
cultural 61, 216, 235, structural:
domination 57, 58, 73, 76;
legitimation 57, 58, 73, 74, 76;
signification 57, 58, 73, 76

Strzelecki, Henri 220–23, 238, 239,
240–1, 252, 260, 261

subjective 189; decision-maker 72;
decision-making 77, 154; judgement
33, 154; preferences 42; subjectivism
28, 37–41, 49, 59, 60, 62, 76, 176,
209

success 43, 254 (see also performance)
Survey of Interpersonal Values (SIV) 118
Survey of Personal Values (SPV) 118

team: 117, 161, 262; leadership 227–31;
role 118

technology 34, 218
Thatcher 89; government 56
The Big Five 85, 87, 122–5, 128, 140,

151, 204
The Body Shop 223–7
Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) 89,

97
theory of planned behaviour (TPB) 134,

154–5
thinking-feeling (T-F) 115 (see also

MBTI)
Thunen, von, Johann 27, 38, 47
tolerance of ambiguity 112, 117, 130–1
trader 224; market 18 (see also

arbitrageur)
training 89, 129, 135, 136, 155, 227,

264–6, 267

trait 190, 193, 197, 199, 247;
co-occurrence 193–4, 196;
critique 4–5, 10, 87–8, 112,
148–9, 193–4, 198; measurement
113–131; psychology 6, 193–4,
200; specific 106; theory 5, 13,
84–87, 106, 143, 151, 199, 200–02,
257–8

transaction costs 60, 64, 68, 77
trust 60, 73
truth 175, 176, 178–9, 182, 187, 190,

191, 208, 213
Turgot, A. R. J. 19, 38, 47
Type A behaviour 129
typologies 190; of entrepreneurs

8–10, 31 (see also entrepreneurial
types)

uncertainty 18, 27, 31, 33, 36, 39, 42,
45, 46, 47, 48, 62, 77, 112, 118, 130,
153, 218

understanding 73, 178, 255, 258; tacit
65, 258

value: creation 3, 7; subjective theory of
28

venture creation 8 (see also business
founding)

Walker, Amasa 30–1, 38, 47, 196
Walker, Francis, A. 30, 38, 47
Walras, Leon 28, 38, 47, 50
Wealth of Nations 21
Weber, M. 5, 290
Weick, K. E. 53, 184, 188, 290
Witt, U. 5, 8, 64–6, 78, 80, 225, 245,

262, 290
Wittgenstein, L. 175, 190–1, 196, 209,

212, 290
Woodroffe, Simon 219–20, 238, 239,

240–1, 252, 261
world: class 213–4; physical 54; social

54

Yo! Sushi 219–20

300 Index

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