Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur Characteristics and Management Control: Contingency Influences on Business Performance

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneur Characteristics and Management Control: Contingency Influences on Business Performance

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Past research does not reveal much about whether and how entrepreneur characteristics (experience, level of tolerance for ambiguity, and self-efficacy) and management control (planning, internal and customer orientation) influence the entrepreneur's honing and enterprising actions, and ultimately a firm's performance. In a study of 162 firms, we found these factors important; however, the contingent influence of environmental uncertainty, task complexity, and strategic competence determine, to a large degree, which factors are relevant to consider. We elaborate upon this complexity and note a need for further research in this area.

INTRODUCTION

The question of how entrepreneurs and other formal leaders influence their organizations has long been debated. For instance, the Babson College database (and related links) reveals numerous examples of how various entrepreneur characteristics are linked to performance. Bass and Stogdill's Handbook of Leadership (1990) lists more than 7,500 references on the subject with no consensus on the impact. While some studies attribute little or nothing to the entrepreneur, others find a clearer link between the entrepreneur as a person and successful organizational outcomes. There is still scant prior research regarding how entrepreneur characteristics influence business outcomes. It seems that many intermediate factors are present between individual characteristics and business performance (Baum, Locke, & Smith, 2001). However, despite a lack of consensus regarding which specific factors are involved and the exact patterns of entrepreneur characteristics' influence on outcomes, there is growing evidence suggesting that entrepreneur characteristics have an impact on business performance (see Boone, De Brabander, & Hellemans, 2000; Miller & Toulouse, 1986; Poon, Ainuddin, & Junit, 2006; Westerberg, Singh, & Häckner, 1997).

However, one key finding in the literature is that, even though the entrepreneur may be a key factor in understanding the success of a business, there are several other important factors. Without considering the other factors or how entrepreneur characteristics are positioned in relation to them, one risks obtaining a very limited picture and an incomplete understanding of the pattern of how this influence occurs. Our research integrates several such additional factors but specifically focuses on the influence of management control. This is an area that has not much been studied in prior entrepreneurship research. Although factors such as planning and customer orientation are widely touched upon in entrepreneurship education and training (Kuratko, 2005), we do not know much about how they influence running a business. We also focus upon another potentially important group of variables. One general conclusion from prior research to determine the influence of entrepreneur characteristics on business performance is that action-related variables are important (Baum et al., 2001). Entrepreneur characteristics do influence performance indirectly by influencing the actions of the entrepreneur. Our approach acknowledges two such actions-honing and enterprising. We consider the possibility that entrepreneur characteristics such as self-efficacy and experience, together with management control factors, could influence possibilities for applying honing and enterprising actions, which may ultimately affect business performance. Because these factors' influence may not be universal, we also hold that the factors have different relationships in different contexts and different situations. In other words, we apply a contingency perspective (e.g., Thompson, 1967; Tosi, 1992; Woodward, 1965) to research the relevance of fit among the individual, the organization, and the organizational environment in order to recognize patterns and influences on firm performance. This is something that prior research has not often acknowledged. We next outline the framework. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.