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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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Key questions

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 big five based on costa and mccrae s 1992 model of personality structure
The ‘Big Five’ based on Costa and McCrae’s (1992) model of personality structure

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.

Key questions

  • Deakins, D and Freel, M. 2009.Entrepreneurship and Small Firms. 5th Edition, McGraw Hill.

  • Kuratko, D, & Hodgetts, M 1995 Entrepreneurship: Theory, Process and Practice Thomson

  • Burns, P 2007 Entrepreneurship and Small Firms 2nd ed. Palgrave Macmillan

  • CHELL, E 2008 The entrepreneurial personality: a social construction

  • HULL, D., BOSLEY, J., UDELL, G 1980 Renewing the hunt for the heffalump: identifying potential entrepreneurs by personality characteristics, Journal of Small Business, 18: 11–18.

  • McCELLAND, D. C. 1965 Achievement motivation can be developed, Harvard Business Review, 43: 6–24, 178.

  • PALICH, L. E. and BAGBY, D. R. (1995) Using cognitive theory to explain entrepreneurial risk-taking – challenging conventional wisdom, Journal of Business Venturing, 10: 425–438.

  • TIMMONS, J. A., SMOLLEN, L. E. and DINGEE, A. L. M. (1985) New Venture Creation, (2nd ed.), Homewood, IL: Irwin.

  • ZHANG, Z, ZYPHUR, M, NARAYANAN, J 2009 The genetic basis of entrepreneurship:effects of gender and personality. Organizational Behavior and Human decision processes110 pp93-107

  • ZHAO, H, SEIBERT, S., LUMPKIN, G 2010 The relationship of personality to entrepreneurial intentions and performance: A meta analytic review Journal of Management 36(2) pp381-404

  • KAPLAN, J 2009 Patterns of entrepreneurship. 3rd ed. New Jersey: Wiley & Sons

  • Bygrave, W & Zacharakis A, 2010 The portable MBA in Entrepreneurship.  

Key questions

  • Timmons, J & Spinelli, S 2008 New venture creation: Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century

  • STOREY, D & GREENE, F 2010 Small business and entrepreneurship Prentice Hall

  • CROMBIE, I., 1996 The Pocket Guide to Critical Appraisal.London: PMJ Publishing Group

  • VAN DEN BRINK-BUDGEN,R., 2000 Critical Thinking for Students. Oxfor

  • COTTRELL, S., 2005 Critical Thinking Skills Basingstoke:Palgrave Lewis, D. (1987), Mind Skills: Giving Your Child a Brighter Future, Souvenir Press, London

  • Ornstein, R. (1986), The Psychology of Consciousness, Penguin, Harmondsworth,

  • David A. Kirby, (2004) "Entrepreneurship education: can business schools meet the challenge?", Education + Training, Vol. 46 (8/9), pp.510 – 519

  • Ferrett, S. (1997) Peak Performance

  • CHELL, E (2008) The entrepreneurial personality; a social construction. 2nd ed. Routledge


  • Online test of entrepreneurship


  • Online test of right/ left brain

Key questions

  • STEFFENS, P., DAVIDSSON, P, FITZSIMMONS, J 2009 performance configurations over time: implications for growth and profit oriented strategies Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice January pp125-148

  • FRANK, H., LUEGER, M., KORUNKA, C 2007 The significance of personality in business start up intentions, start up realization and business success Entrepreneurship & Regional development 19 May pp227-251

  • KOR, Y., MAHONEY, J., MICHAEL, S 2007 Resources, capabilities and entrepreneurial perceptions Journal of ManagementStudies November pp1187-1212

  • LUCHSINGER, V., BAGBY, D 1987 Entrepreneuship and Intrapreneurship: Behaviors, comparisons and contrasts SAM Advanced Management Journal. Summer pp10-13

  • BIRLEY, S. and WESTHEAD, P. (1993) A comparison of new businesses established by “novice” and “habitual” founders in Great Britain, International Small Business Journal, 12: 38–60.

  • SMITH, N. R. (1967) The Entrepreneur and His Firm: The Relationship Between Type of Man and Type of Company, East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press

  • ROTTER, J. B. (1966) Generalised expectancies for internal versus external control of reinforcement, Psychological Monographs, Whole No. 609, 80: 1–28.

  • SSCHERE, J. C. (1982) Tolerance of ambiguity as a discriminating variable between entrepreneurs and managers, Academy of Management Proceedings, 45: 404–408.

  • DELMAR, F., DAVIDSSON, P. 2000 Where do they come from? Prevalence and characteristics of nascent entrepreneurs Entrepreneurship and Regional Development1 21–23.

  • WESTHEAD, P., WRIGHT., W, MCELWEE, G 2011 Entrepreneurship; perspectives and cases. Harlow: Prentice Hall