Reality or Illusion?
A Comparative Trait Study of American And
James W. Carland, Western Carolina University
Western Carolina University
Cullowhee, NC 28723
JoAnn C. Carland, Western Carolina University
Matti Koiranen, University of Jyvaskyla
This paper develops the key aspects of the entrepreneurial psyche
as depicted in the American model of entrepreneurship. The
authors empirically compare an American group of entrepreneurs to
a Finnish group in terms of traits. The paper concludes with a
discussion of the implications of identified differences for the
potential success of the exportation of the American model to
other nations attempting to encourage entrepreneurship.
With the crumbling of the centrally planned economies of Eastern
Europe has come the cry: ENTREPRENEURSHIP! Virtually everyone
seems to be looking toward the resurgence of entrepreneurship to
drive a conversion of these economies toward free enterprise and
to fuel an increase in standards of living and in the health of
the nations (Roman, 1991). A similar attitude toward
entrepreneurship seems to exist throughout the world as numerous
countries look toward the phenomenon as a savior of stagnating
economies (i.e., Kohi & Sood, 1987; Tiffin, 1987; Gupta, 1989;
Meredith, 1989; Balkenhol, 1990; Giamartino, 1991; Nelson, 1991).
Like the legendary Phoenix rising from its ashes to live again,
entrepreneurship is expected to surge from its grave and leap to
the defense of crumbling economies around the world.
Americans seem to see this international focus as proof of the
superiority of the American model of entrepreneurship. Those who
are more generous might say that the American view is a result of
history. Less generous ones might say that the American view has
its roots in innate feelings of superiority. At any rate,
increasing numbers of American researchers are traveling the
globe to teach entrepreneurship. The American ideology has
dominated the conventional world view of entrepreneurship
(Peterson, 1988). There is great danger in this view because
entrepreneurship occurs differently in other nations (Giamartino,
McDougall & Bird, 1993).
Entrepreneurship is unique among organizational and economic
functions in that it is initiated by an act of human volition
(Hofer & Bygrave, 1992). It is this intentionality that
distinguishes the entrepreneur (Bird & Jelinek, 1988). If one
wishes to understand the entrepreneurial process, one must
understand the role of the individual in triggering that process
(Carland, Hoy & Carland, 1988). Further, entrepreneurship is
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The Exportation of the American Model of Entrepreneurship: Reality or Illusion? .