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COEUR - BCM Business Creativity Module Critical Thinking and the Creative Personality Carolyn McNicholas Aberdeen Business School, RGU. Key Questions. How do creative/ entrepreneurial people differ? What makes one creative/ entrepreneurial? Can anyone be creative/ entrepreneurial?

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COEUR - BCMBusiness Creativity ModuleCritical Thinking and the Creative Personality Carolyn McNicholasAberdeen Business School, RGU

key questions
Key Questions
  • How do creative/ entrepreneurial people differ?
  • What makes one creative/ entrepreneurial?
  • Can anyone be creative/ entrepreneurial?
  • Do you need special skills and characteristics to be an entrepreneur?
  • Are entrepreneurs born or made?
personality traits
Personality Traits

Strong need for achievement (Nach) McCelland 1965

  • high achievers
  • spend time considering how to do a job better or how to accomplish something important to them.
  • They actively seek out opportunities to take responsibility and
  • They welcome feedback on their actions

Risk taking propensity

  • Medium, calculated risk takers
  • Avoid high and low risk situations
  • Ability to evaluate risk
personality traits1
Personality Traits
  • Locus of control Rotter 1966
  • desire to be in control of their own fate
  • High internal LOC
  • the achievement of a goal is dependent on their own behaviour
  • Tolerance of ambiguity Schere 1982
  • have an open mind,
  • respond quickly to change,
  • need to know only the key facts
  • have a flexible attitude
personality traits2
Personality Traits
  • Desire for autonomyBirley and Westhead 1993
  • high need for independence
  • Smith 1967- fear of external control
  • Determination
  • Initiative
  • Creativity
  • Self confidence
  • Trust
personality traits chell haworth and brearley 1994 chell 2008
Personality Traits Chell, Haworth and Brearley (1994) & Chell 2008
  • Opportunity recognition/ Opportunistic
  • Entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE)
  • Social competence
  • Intuitive
  • Innovative
  • Imaginative
  • Proactive
  • Agents of change
the personality approach
The Personality Approach

Observations are that:

  • Some personality traits can be acquired by people
  • Some traits eg high energy, emotional stability are innate
  • Most entrepreneurs do not possess all of the ideal personality traits
  • The validity and reliability of personality scales are questioned
the personality approach1
The Personality Approach
  • Entrepreneurs are not homogenous
  • Gender, age, social class, nationality and education make a difference
  • Environment and cultural influences must also be taken into account
  • Entrepreneurial decision making is based on the interaction of many factors (motivations, stage in life cycle, personal economic context)
background of entrepreneurs
Background of Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs are:

  • Female
  • Immigrant
  • Socially oriented
  • Family oriented
  • Rurally based
  • Young and old
  • Life style oriented (hobby/part time)
  • Serial Entrepreneurs
the 10 ds bygrave 2010










The 10 Ds Bygrave (2010)
critical attributes for success brannick 1995
Critical Attributes for Success Brannick 1995
  • Numerical ability 1%
  • Verbal ability 3%
  • Professional marketing qualification 5%
  • Computer literacy 5%
  • Imagination 17%
  • Observational powers 18%
  • Personal judgement 24%
  • Ability to get on with others 27%
desirable and acquirable attitudes timmons 2008
Desirable and Acquirable Attitudes Timmons (2008)

Commitment and determination

  • Tenacity and decisiveness
  • Able to commit quickly
  • Disciplined
  • Persistent in solving problems
  • Willing to undertake personal sacrifice


  • Self starter
  • Team builder and hero
  • Share the wealth
  • Integrity and reliability
  • Superior learner and teacher
desirable and acquirable attitudes timmons 20081
Desirable and Acquirable Attitudes Timmons (2008)
  • Opportunity obsession
  • Have intimate knowledge of customers needs
  • Market driven
  • Obsessed with value creation and enhancement
  • Tolerance of risk, ambiguity and uncertainty
  • Calculated risk taker
  • Risk minimiser/ sharer
  • Tolerant of uncertainty
  • Tolerant of stress
  • Able to resolve problems and integrate solutions
desirable and acquirable attitudes timmons 2008 contd
Desirable and Acquirable Attitudes Timmons (2008) contd
  • Creativity, self-reliance & ability to adapt
  • Creative and lateral thinker
  • Ability to adapt and change; creative problem solver
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Rely on own judgement & lack of fear of failure
  • Motivation to excel
  • Goal and results orientation
  • Low need for status and power
  • Aware of weaknesses and strengths
  • Have perspective and a sense of humour
characteristics of entrepreneurs kaplan 2009
Characteristics of Entrepreneurs Kaplan 2009
  • Passionately seek to identify new opportunities
  • Pursue opportunities with discipline and focus on a limited number of projects
  • Focus on action and execution
  • Involve and energise networks of relationships
so what is an entrepreneur
So what is an Entrepreneur?
  • “Who is the entrepreneur ?” may be the wrong question
  • Why successful entrepreneurs think the way they do, might be better?
  • Thinking processes can be taught, so we can all be entrepreneurs if we learn how to develop and evaluate opportunities
cognitive abilities westhead wright mcelwee 2011
Cognitive abilitiesWesthead, Wright & McElwee 2011
  • Information acquisition and dissemination
  • Intelligence, ability with information
  • Sense making
  • Unlearning
  • Implementation and improvisation, autonomous behaviour, experimentation, reflection and action
entrepreneurs cognitive processes palich bagby 1995
Entrepreneurs Cognitive Processes (Palich & Bagby 1995)
  • Entrepreneurs do NOT perceive themselves as being more pre-disposed to taking risks than managers
  • Entrepreneurs interpret equivocal data in a more positive way than managers
    • Strengths versus weaknesses
    • Opportunities versus threats
entrepreneurs cognitive processes palich bagby 19951
Entrepreneurs Cognitive Processes (Palich & Bagby 1995)
  • “What each man wishes, that he also believes to be true” - Demonsthenes
  • Entrepreneurs categorise situations as having strengths and opportunities, because the positive attributes, are more salient to them
components of critical thinking
Components of CriticalThinking
  • A set of skills to process and generate information and beliefs, and
  • The habit, based on intellectual commitment, of using those skills to guide behaviour

It is contrasted with the mere acquisition and retention of information alone, (because it involves a particular way in which information is sought and treated)

core critical thinking skills

Critical Thinking

Core Critical Thinking Skills







Source: Facione, P. A (1998)

attributes of a critical thinker ferrett 1997
Attributes Of A Critical Thinker Ferrett 1997
  • Asks pertinent questions 
  • Can/does admit a lack of understanding or information 
  • Has a sense of curiosity 
  • Is interested to find new solutions 
  • Is willing to examine beliefs, assumptions, and opinions and weigh them against facts 
  • Listens carefully to others and can provide feedback 
  • Seeks evidence to support assumptions and beliefs 
  • Can/does adjust opinions when new facts are found 
hemispheres of the brain ornstein 1896
Hemispheres of the brain Ornstein 1896

The left side handles language, logic and symbols.

  • Information processing; step by step
  • Systematic thinking

The right side takes care of the body\'s emotional, intuitive and spatial functions.

  • Information processing; intuitive
  • Unsystematic thinking

right brain thinking lewis 1987
Right brain thinking Lewis 1987
  • ask if there is a better way of doing things;
  • challenge custom, routine and tradition;
  • be reflective – often deep in thought;
  • play mental games, trying to see an issue from a different perspective;
  • realise that there may be more than one “right” answer;
  • see mistakes and failures as pitstops on the route to success;
  • relate seemingly unrelated ideas to a problem to generate a solution; and
  • see an issue from a broader perspective, but have the ability to focus on an area in need of change.
entrepreneurial skills
Entrepreneurial skills
  • communication skills, especially persuasion;
  • creativity skills;
  • critical thinking and assessment skills;
  • leadership skills;
  • negotiation skills;
  • problem-solving skills;
  • social networking skills; and
  • time-management skills.
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