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Entrepreneurial Motivation, Personality and Competencies. Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Institute for Work, Social and Organizational Psychology. Dominika Dej Institute of Work-, Organizational- and Social Psychology, TU Dresden Prague, 25. 07. 2011.

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entrepreneurial motivation personality and competencies

Entrepreneurial Motivation, Personality and Competencies

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences Institute for Work, Social and Organizational Psychology

Dominika Dej

Institute of Work-, Organizational- and Social Psychology, TU Dresden

Prague, 25. 07. 2011

Silesian University in Katowice

Dresden University of Technology

today s agenda
Today‘s agenda
  • We get to know
  • Entrepreneurial motivation
  • Entrepreneurial personality traits
  • Entrepreneurial competencies
  • Assess your entrepreneurial potential
  • Active group exercises
Theory + (Inter) Action

“Skills cannot be mastered by listening to lectures but by observation of positive models (…) coupled with repeated practice and feedback.” Richard Hackman

 Participation: Leaving the comfort zone

Pillars of the seminar

what is motivation
What is motivation?

Motivation is the desire to achieve a goal, combined with the energy to work towards that goal

Motivation is the basic drive for all of our actions and it directs our behavious

A motive is a need for specific experiences

Motives are stimulated by the situation


3 main motives
3 main motives

(McClelland, 1985)

Achievement motivation

is based on reaching success and achieving all of our aspirations in life. An individual with achievement motivation wishes to achieve objectives and advance up on the ladder of success. Here, accomplishment is important for its own sake and not for the rewards that accompany it.The capacity to derive satisfaction from the autonomous mastery of challenging tasks.

Power motivation

is the drive to influence people and change situations. Power motivated people wish to create an impact on their organization and are willing to take risks to do so. Includes need for control and prestige. The capacity to derive pleasure from having mental or emotional impact on other individuals or groups of individuals.

Affiliation motivation

is a drive to relate to people on a social basis. Persons with the affiliation motivation perform better when they are complimented for their favorable attitudes and co-operation. A capacity to derive satisfaction from establishing, maintaining, and restoring positive relationships with others.


explicit motives
Explicit Motives

Achievement: „I am basically a competitive person, and I compete just for the sake of competing.“

Autonomy; „In my work assignments, I try to be my own boss“

Affiliation: „When I have a choice, I try to work in a group instead of by myself.“

Power: „I seek an active role in the leadership of a group.“

Explicit motives are expressed through deliberate choices…

I am a person who…


(PRF, Jackson, 1984)

implicit motives
Implicit motives

Implicit motives are spontaneous impulses to act…

  • What is going on here?
  • Who are these people?
  • What do they think?
  • What do they want?
  • What will happen?

(Winter, 1991)


implicit vs explicit motives
Implicit vs. explicit motives

r ≈.0

Implicit Motives

Explicit Motives

I am a person who…


(McClelland, Koestner & Weinberger, 1989; Brunstein, 2006)

Class activity: Entrepreneurial motivation

1) What personal factors motivate people to start up a business?

2) What external situational factors motivate people to start up a business?

3) What factors (both personal and situational) discourage people to become entrepreneurs?

opportunity vs necessity
Opportunity vs. Necessity

Opportunity driven entrepreneurs

(future orientation)…

- want to exploit a perceived business opportunity

  • - strive for independence, self-actualisation, recognition and profit
  • maximization
  • - on average they rise higher than necessity driven entrepreneurs
  • Necessity driven entrepreneurs
  • (‘away from’ orientation)…
  • are pushed into entrepreneurship because all other options for work are
  • either absent or unsatisfactory
  • - dissatisfaction with working conditions, contents and time
  • pursue entrepreneurship to secure their own existence

1. Estimation of start up chances

in a given environment

2. Perception of own necessary skills and


3. Availability of role models

4. Fear of failure and its personal, social,

and financial consequences


Start up

Need of achievement
  • Denotes individual’s need to strive hard to attain success.
  • Setting demanding targets for oneself, being proactive, tendency to take immediate responsibility for tasks, plan and control events. Want to receive feedback about their level of performance.

Locus of control

  • One aspect of the cognitive style which represents the extension to which individual feels in charge.
  • Perception of control over the environment by one’s action, belief that luck and fate do not really determine what happens.

Example of Entrepreneurial Traits

Risk taking
  • Describes the individual cognitive style with respect to taking risks.
  • Actively seeking risky assignments and having greater propensity to take risks.

Personal initiative

  • A behaviour syndrome resulting in an individual’s taking an active and self- starting approach to work and going beyond what is formally required in a given job.

Tolerance of ambiguity

  • Describes one’s ability to make decision with incomplete information.
  • Making decisions in situations of high uncertainty.
  • Describes the tendency towards experimentation, trial and error, lateral thinking.
  • Thinking in non-conventional ways, challenging existing assumptions, flexibility and adaptability in problem solving.

Need of autonomy

  • Represents one’s strive to be independent and having control.
  • Avoiding restrictions, rules, procedures and strong need for independence and autonomy.


  • Describes optimistic self-beliefs to cope with a variety of difficult demands.
  • Belief that one's actions will produce desired results.
Ambition (Healthy ambition)
  • Strong desire to attain high results; willingness to make something real and to meet high standards

Egoistic passion

  • acting in one’s own interests, passion in following own goals doesn’t mean ignoring other people. Scarifying other things in order to follow own priorities


  • Hardiness, endurance, stamina


  • being persistent in following ideas in troubles, not giving up

Example of Entrepreneurial Motivational Traits


Big-Five personality variables

(FFM; Costa &McCrae, 1992)

your entrepreneurial potential
Your entrepreneurial potential

1) Personal initiative

  • Self-efficacy
  • Achievement seeking
  • Creativity

Your task

Fill out the questionnaires

Calculate the mean score (M)

Discuss your results briefly with your neighbour

personal initiative
Personal initiative
  • Entrepreneurs' from Poland, Germany & The Netherlands

(N= 325), Mean = 4.00 (SD= .54)

  • No gender & country differences
  • No differences between industry sectors (IT vs. Restaurants)
  • Norm Population (M= 3.5)
  • (Frese, Kring, Soose & Zempel, 1996)

Your vs. entrepreneurs’ entrepreneurial potential

self efficacy
  • Entrepreneurs' from Poland, Germany & The Netherlands

(N= 325), Mean = 3.13 (SD= .36)

  • No gender & country differences
  • No differences between industry sectors (IT vs. Restaurants)
  • Norm Population (M= 2.9)
  • (Schwarzer & Jerusalem, 1989)
psychological tests measuring entrepreneurial potential
Psychological tests - measuring entrepreneurial potential
  • Are they useful and when?
  • Advantages/ Disadvantages
  • What are their alternatives?
personality traits vs competencies
Personality traits vs. competencies

Personality trait

  • A relative stable, consistent, and enduring internal characteristic that inferred from a pattern of behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and habits in the individual.


  • One‘s developed repertoire of skills, especially as it is applied to a task or set of task

VandenBos, G.R. (Ed.) (2007). APA Dictionary of Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychology Association.

Entrepreneurial Career Vision
  • Includes formulation of long term goals and preparation of action- implementation plan.

Decision Taking

  • Means to analyze the different alternatives available in order to determine the best path to follow assuming full responsibility of the outcomes.


  • Ability to gather, integrate and manage required resources in order to start, maintain and grow within the organization.

Examples of Entrepreneurial Competencies

Conceptual thinking
  • One’s disposition to identify the relation existing among different components in complex situations, that are not directly related, and the ability to construct models that are easy to use.

Entrepreneurial networking

  • Includes establishing, maintaining and taking advantages of interpersonal and institutional relationships in order to achieve entrepreneurial goals.


  • One’s disposition to change focus in order to follow better fitting options that allow tasks to be well executed.