7
Characteristics of Entrepreneurs

The previous chapter has laid the groundwork for the present one. Its main theme was that high n Achievement suits men particularly for the entrepreneurial role. At least students with high n Achievement behave in many of the ways that theoretically should lead to successful entrepreneurship. But again, theory alone is not satisfactory. Do men with high n Achievement in fact more often become entrepreneurs and are they more successful in that role, as they should be if their motivation peculiarly fits them for it? Of course, there is no guarantee that society will make it easy for men with high n Achievement to enter business. However, as the previous chapter demonstrated, there is a built-in mechanism which tends to bias occupational choice toward business among boys of middle (but not upper) class status with high n Achievement. We might, therefore, expect in general to find more of them in business than, say, the professions. Furthermore, if n Achievement really adapts a man to perform the entrepreneurial role well, we should expect that those with lower n Achievement would on the average perform less well and would tend to be weeded out of managerial positions, leaving the n Achievement level in such positions higher than in other occupations.

So in a mobile society where an occupational position is somewhat dependent on performance (rather than on family or political connections), managers, executives, or entrepreneurs should have higher n Achievement than men in other comparable occupations. But what constitutes a comparable occupation--teaching, medicine, the law, the ministry, accounting? One can think of objections to all of them. For professionals must also behave in an entrepreneurial way at times. Probably the best comparison group would be a random sample of men of the same age and education from all other types of occupations. But we were able to approximate it only in the United States as shown in Table 7.1. Fortunately, two of the pictures used in our study of the motivation of businessmen in four countries were also used in the national survey of motivation on a random U.S. sample conducted by Veroffet al. ( 1960). Thus it was possible simply to compare achievement imagery scores on the two pictures for the 153 male college graduates in the sample with the scores made by a fairly representative group of successful middle level executives who were part of the Middle Management Program at the Harvard Business School or

-259-

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The Achieving Society
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xiii
  • 1 - Explaining Economic Growth 1
  • 2 - The Achievement Motive: How it is Measured and Its Possible Economic Effects 36
  • 3 - Achieving Societies in the Modern World 63
  • 4 - Achieving Societies in the Past 107
  • 5 - Other Psychological Factors in Economic Development 159
  • 6 - Entrepreneurial Behavior 205
  • 7 - Characteristics of Entrepreneurs 259
  • 8 - The Spirit of Hermes 301
  • 9 - Sources of N Achievement 336
  • 10 - Accelerating Economic Growth 391
  • References 439
  • Appendices 451
  • Appendix I 453
  • Appendix II 461
  • Appendix III 464
  • Appendix IV 475
  • Appendix V 488
  • Appendix VI 492
  • Appendix VII 494
  • List of Tables 499
  • Index 503
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