Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

"What, Exactly, Is Entrepreneurial Commitment?": Modeling the Commitment of Successful Entrepreneurs

Academic journal article Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship

"What, Exactly, Is Entrepreneurial Commitment?": Modeling the Commitment of Successful Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt

Introduction

If you deny yourself commitment, what can you do with your life? (Harvey Fierstein).

Entrepreneurship is risky. It is analogous to being a lone captain of a boat, in the open and violent seas, on a seemingly endless journey to a land unknown and perhaps, unimaginable. Before take-off, the captain often envisages this journey to be a smooth sailing endeavor, with failures predictably "manageable" along the way. More often, though, it is not. The real test occurs when the boat begins to leak, while the destination is yet thousands of miles away. Self-assured, the entrepreneur plasters the leak, and his journey recommences. But who would guarantee that his boat will never again leak? Or, that a bad storm would never take place? No one. It may leak more frequently than expected, and storms may recur each day. Often the entrepreneur faces extreme hardships along the way, frustratingly making him slow down. In reality, many entrepreneurs decide to abandon ship. They quit.

What, exactly, makes a successful entrepreneur? What psychological mind-set is demanded for one to survive through the turbulent, dark seas, particularly in the first few years of venture seafaring? How then does this mind-set influence entrepreneurial behavior in the ensuing entrepreneurial phases? Does this psychological mind-set impact entrepreneurial performance? And, more importantly, if it does, what can be done to nurture and develop the psychological mind-set?

We quite often hear people talking about "commitment". For instance, it is customary to hear people promoting commitment in the workplace, commitment of students preparing for exams, commitment in a marriage or relationship, and many other scenarios that requirement commitment. In other words, commitment seems to be a prerequisite to realize positive behaviors and valuable outputs in our daily activities, signifying that it is one of the most dominant psychological factors in shaping behavior and how an individual acts. The psychological mind-set of commitment is still debated across a myriad of research domains, including entrepreneurship. Many have argued its significance in the entrepreneurial process, and commitment is said to directly impact entrepreneurial performance. In short, the role commitment plays in entrepreneurship is widely supported.

Nonetheless, although commitment is germane to the entrepreneurship literature, a handful of singularities still remain to be demystified. For instance, what, exactly, shapes entrepreneurial commitment? How does the "committed mind-set" influence entrepreneurial behavior and more precisely, entrepreneurial performance? More importantly, since commitment plays a key role in the entrepreneurship process, how then is it possible for us to cultivate a committed mind-set among prospective entrepreneurs? These are among the questions that will contribute to the wealth of academic literature and practical managerial implications throughout this research.

In the following sections, we discuss the state of Malaysian entrepreneurial activity and performance and examine how understanding the committed mind-set would immensely assist in the making of successful entrepreneurs.

Literature review

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) reports, Malaysian entrepreneurs perceive entrepreneurial conditions as "favorable", particularly when referring to physical infrastructure, internal market dynamics, i.e. entry regulations, and financial support (GEM, 2010a, 2011, 2012, 2014). Interestingly, Malaysian entrepreneurs rank themselves as "high" in motivational levels (Chelliah, Sulaiman, and Yusoff, 2010; Deraman, Zainuddin, and Hamdan, 2005; GEM 2014, 2010a, 2012; Yusof, 2001) much explained by the government's assistance in terms of infrastructure and funding to develop more young entrepreneurs (GEM, 2014, 2010a; Ortmans, 2013) and the motivation from other external drivers (GEM, 2014; Omar and Sapuan, 2010). …

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