As will be seen in this course, entrepreneurship is a critical component
of economic development. Both individual entrepreneurs and communities benefit from increasing entrepreneurial activity. Scholars have been searching for the key components of entrepreneurship with the idea that if these components can be identified, they can be enhanced which will lead to more entrepreneurial activity. Individual entrepreneurs are the drivers of entrepreneurial activity. Therefore, the search has focused on individual entrepreneurs. Is it the psychological makeup of individuals, how they behave, or the skills, abilities and knowledge they possess that make the difference between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs? Research into the psychological makeup and the behaviors of individuals has not been very successful in identifying particular psychological characteristics or behaviors that separate entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs. More recent research has focused on the skills, knowledge, and abilities (i.e., competencies) needed for successful entrepreneurship. If specific competencies can be identified, maybe they can be enhanced and, thus, encourage entrepreneurial activity.
As the article states, most lists of competencies are heavily weighted toward business competencies such as management, accounting, marketing, finance, etc. While these competencies are needed by every entrepreneur, they are also needed by anyone involved in growing a business. This article asks the following critical research questions. Are there specific competencies that are unique to entrepreneurs? If there are, can the competencies be enhanced through education and training? Finally, how could you actually measure the level of competencies in individuals so baselines and outcomes could be established to see if competencies can actually be enhanced by interventions?
The article uses a Delphi technique to answer the first question and more traditional techniques (pilot study) to answer the other two questions.
The answer to the first question is yes there are 13 specific competencies that are unique to entrepreneurship. The following table from the article gives the results.
Entrepreneurial Competencies Identified from Delphi Study (p. 358)
1. Opportunity Recognition: the capacity to perceive changed conditions or overlooked
possibilities in the environment that represent potential sources of profit or return to a venture
2. Opportunity Assessment: ability to evaluate the content structure of opportunities to
accurately determine their relative attractiveness
3. Risk Management/Mitigation: the taking of actions that reduce the probability of a risk
occurring or reduce the potential impact if the risk were to occur
4. Conveying a Compelling Vision: the ability to conceive an image of a future
organizational state and to articulate that image in a manner that empowers followers to
5. Tenacity/Perseverance: ability to sustain goal-directed action and energy when
confronting difficulties and obstacles that impede goal achievement
6. Creative Problem Solving/Imaginativeness: the ability to relate previously unrelated
objects or variables to produce novel and appropriate or useful outcomes
7. Resource Leveraging: skills at accessing resources one does not necessarily own or
control to accomplish personal ends
8. Guerrilla Skills: the capacity to take advantage of one's surroundings, employ
unconventional, low-cost tactics not recognized by others, and do more with less
9. Value Creation: capabilities of developing new products, services, and/or business models
that generate revenues exceeding their costs and produce sufficient user benefits to bring about a fair return
10. Maintain Focus yet Adapt: ability to balance an emphasis on goal achievement and the
strategic direction of the organization while addressing the need to identify and pursue
actions to improve the fit between an organization and developments in the external
11. Resilience: ability to cope with stresses and disturbances such that one remains well,
recovers, or even thrives in the face of adversity
12. Self-Efficacy: ability to maintain a sense of self-confidence regarding one's ability to
accomplish a particular task or attain a level of performance
13. Building and Using Networks: social interaction skills that enable an individual to
establish, develop. and maintain sets of relationships with others who assist them in
advancing their work or career
The results of the pilot study indicate that these competencies can be measured and they can be enhanced by entrepreneurship education.
Would you add anything to the list of competencies? Do you see other uses for the list? Do you think that all of them could be enhanced by education and training or are some just inherent in the individual? Feel free to share your thoughts about the article.