If you have strong self-esteem and hunger for personal control, you probably would make a good entrepreneur, a BYU professor says.
David Stimpson of Brigham Young University's psychology department has conducted a study to find the differences between people who charge ahead independently in the business world and who likely always will be someone else's employee.Stimpson told a group of BYU students that he based his study on the theory that successful entrepreneurs have four traits in common: They have a need for achievement, high self-esteem, a sense of personal control and are innovative.
Traditionally, studies on entrepreneurs have focused on their characteristics, but Stimpson's research concentrated on their attitudes.
When researchers studied characteristics beginning in the 1950s, they discovered there was a mild correlation between entrepreneurs and achievement orientation.
"They see themselves as actors rather than pawns," Stimpson said. "They have somewhat higher self-esteem. These relationships tend to be low to moderate and are somewhat unsatisfactory predictors of entrepreneurial behavior."
Stimpson approached the measuring process by asking subjects questions that probed their attitudes, such as "Do you believe it's important to continually look for new ways to do things in business?" and "Is it more important to think about future achievements rather than past accomplishments?"
Data were collected from entrepreneurs as well as a group of non-entrepreneurs throughout the United States, and the results showed strong, statistically significant differences between the two groups.
Stimpson added managers to the study and found they fell roughly between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs.
When used on an international level, Stimpson's test suffers, because attitudes that make people successful in America don't necessarily get people ahead in other countries.
"There are bigger differences between cultures than there are between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs," Stimpson said. "The measuring instrument we've developed does a very good job of identifying some things that are different between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs in the U.S., but what makes sense in this country doesn't make sense in other countries. . ."