Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Exploring the Influence of Creativity and Political Skill on Entrepreneurial Intentions among Men and Women: A Comparison between Kenya and the United States

Academic journal article International Journal of Entrepreneurship

Exploring the Influence of Creativity and Political Skill on Entrepreneurial Intentions among Men and Women: A Comparison between Kenya and the United States

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Schumpeter (1934) refers to entrepreneurship as the fundamental phenomenon of economic development, and Schumpeter (1942) advocates entrepreneurship as the key to market success through the creative destruction process. This process involves the displacement of old products, processes, combinations, and technologies by new ones, as they are developed and introduced in the market. Zacharakis, Bygrave and Shepherd (2000) report that among countries with similar economic structures, the correlation between entrepreneurship and economic growth exceeds 0.7. In addition, Low (2001) explains that in the "new economy," there is an increased need for "entrepreneurial" thinking that is fast, flexible, opportunity-driven, and creative with respect to the acquisition of resources and the management of risk. This kind of thinking is useful, not only for the acquisition of resources, but also for their re-allocation to create new goods and services, introduce new businesses, and in turn, create jobs. Thus, entrepreneurship is crucial for the advancement of any economy, and indispensable for developing economies.

As a result, countries should strive to increase entrepreneurial behavior. A key segment that consistently exposes room for improvement in terms of entrepreneurial activity is women. Brush, Carter, Gatewood, Greene, and Hart (2006) provide statistical evidence that men are almost twice as likely to be involved with a new business start-up as women. In general, entrepreneurship should be encouraged, and specifically, the lack of women in entrepreneurship should be addressed.

As aforementioned, entrepreneurial behavior assists in the economic elevation of any country, and is essential for developing countries. It is explained in Naude (2010) that offering people in developing countries the choice of entrepreneurship through self-employment is welfare enhancing, as entrepreneurship drives structural change and economic growth, thereby opening up further opportunities for more productive wage employment, specialization, and labor mobility. The author also explains that entrepreneurship in developing countries allows people to escape from both absolute and relative poverty.

African nations are among the developing countries that will benefit immensely from entrepreneurship. Global inequality is a challenge for Africa and there are income gaps between the developed world and developing countries of Africa to be reduced (Fick, 2002). Entrepreneurship can act as an equalizer, helping to stable economies and aiding in narrowing these gaps. Fick (2002) notes that Africa will need to look to its entrepreneurs in order to achieve the rate of economic growth necessary to provide the increased prosperity desired by all her citizens.

Among the African countries, Kenya is no exception. Nafukho and Muyia (2010) assert that the issue of unemployment among university graduates, tertiary level graduates, school leavers and other vulnerable members of society in Kenya, like in many African countries, needs urgent attention. Entrepreneurship has been recognized as an antidote to combat and remedy the problem. There have been reforms and diversification of the school curriculum to create awareness among school and college graduates that there are opportunities for self-employment in the informal sector (Nafukho & Muyia, 2010).

Theoretically, entrepreneurship should increase when entrepreneurial intentions are high. It has been noted that behavioral intentions do influence actions. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) both embrace behavioral intentions as the immediate antecedent to behavior. [The only difference is that TPB also takes into account perceived behavioral control, which encompasses beliefs regarding the possession of requisite resources and opportunities to perform the behavior (Madden, Ellen, & Ajzen, 1992).] Therefore, entrepreneurial intentions form the initial strategic template for new organizations and are important underpinnings of new venture development (Bird, 1988). …

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