Academic journal article Journal of Employment Counseling

A Study of Factors That Influence Unemployed Persons

Academic journal article Journal of Employment Counseling

A Study of Factors That Influence Unemployed Persons

Article excerpt

The following research analyzes, through a field study, several relevant personality traits, or variables, that may be used to help the unemployed by directing them to entrepreneurship. Three sample groups (unemployed, employed, and entrepreneurs) were compared using several intrinsically motivating variables: knowledge, inclination to entrepreneurship, self-efficacy, achievement needs, and propensity to act. The results showed that these variables are related and can be used as a medium of intervention to achieve the desired ends.

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The stimulus for this research was a paper published by the Tinbergen Institute in which the authors concluded, "Changes in unemployment clearly have a positive impact on subsequent entrepreneurship. At the same time, changes in entrepreneurship have a negative impact on subsequent unemployment" (Audretsch, Carree, & Thurik, 2002, p. 10). Because their study was based on a sample of 23 countries over a period of 24 years (1974-1998), the connection between unemployment and entrepreneurship seems well established. The results of the study suggest that to reduce unemployment, every economy should encourage entrepreneurship. McFarling (2000) defined four types of entrepreneurs: those who have both the opportunity and the inclination, those who have the opportunity but not the inclination, those who have the inclination but not the opportunity, and those who have neither the inclination nor the opportunity. These definitions are based on two factors: opportunity and inclination.

OPPORTUNITY

This variable, in the majority of cases, is not based on chance occurrence. The legend of Archimedes, who, while taking his bath, discovered the rule that gives the weight of a body immersed in a liquid, forgets to mention that the problem of weighing large bodies was troubling Archimedes for a long time before he resolved the problem. As a researcher, I can accept that even instinct-based decisions are educated guesses based on previous experience and a long process of mental incubation. A Japanese proverb says, "Thinking without doing is a dream, doing without thinking is a nightmare." Bird (1988) mentioned that entrepreneurial opportunities are a result of careful thought and action. More than that, the model of entrepreneurship is complex, and, in order to provide a framework with which this model can be tested, a long process of preparation is required, which may be as complex as the model itself (MacMillan & Katz, 1992). For the purposes of this study, I began with the assumption that every entrepreneurial opportunity a person may encounter is the result of a process of creative thinking based on four phases:

* Preparation--gathering and relating data to already existing knowledge. Sometimes this process may be latent, and sometimes it will be focused on certain areas. A large part of the data gathered will be discarded later on as irrelevant or redundant.

* Incubation---characterized by some kind of mental struggle, the process of resolving conflicts that occur when working with contrasting data, dealing with the realities of daily life, and perhaps changing long-held beliefs. Sometimes this struggle will be so severe that it blocks the thinking process and interferes with finding an effective result, preventing an individual from "seeing the forest for the trees."

* Illumination--the by-product of the previous phase. Sometimes it comes as a breakthrough after pondering a subject for a long time (as in the case of Archimedes), and sometimes it comes as a result of using a deliberate step-by-step process.

* Verification--investigating an idea to see if it is feasible or finding ways to improve it.

INCLINATION

As with any other human behavior, a person must be activated by some kind of motive before beginning the process of looking for a business opportunity. I believe that the indispensable motive for searching for such opportunities is a person's inclination to entrepreneurship, and this inclination will be influenced by the situation at hand or by personality traits. …

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