ENTREPRENEURIAL BEHAVIOURS AND PRACTICES WITHIN THE MODERN BUSINESS ECONOMY
Organisational structures and behaviour’s within the modern global business economy are undergoing a period change (Burns, 2013; Dicken, 1998; Walters, 2004). Walters (2004) identifies a major cause of this change to be the increased interaction between global markets. In addition, increased demands have been placed upon businesses in the form of the greater expectations of customers in terms of product choice and the increased number of finance, supply and ordering methods available. In order to remain competitive in the modern business economy, organisations have increased their focus upon developing new products and services, or improving existing ones. Furthermore, the prediction that the global economy will double in size by 2032 (PricewaterhouseCoopers, 2015) will place increased pressure upon organisations, which may have to enter new international markets in order to generate sufficient revenue to enable growth. A major contributing factor in this development is viewed to be the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China; the demand for services and products within these growths regions will increase as nations continue to become wealthier. The expansion of the digital economy in particular, which involves only relatively low set-up costs, opens further potential avenues for new business. Entrepreneurs play crucial roles within this business environment through introducing innovative ideas and improving existing processes.
Baum et al. (2007) describe entrepreneurism as the human contribution to business success. The term entrepreneur has been used to describe individuals who have conceived, designed and often introduced a range of innovative developments predominately within commercial markets (Brockhaus and Horwitz, 1986). The increased levels of geopolitical instability and the greater access to disruptive technologies, particularly in terms of electronic communications over the course of the twenty-first century have contributed to the increased importance of entrepreneurs within the global business economy (Burns, 2013). In support of the view that entrepreneurial behavior’s result in the pursuance of opportunities by either individuals or the organisations they work for (Stevenson and Jarillo, 1990), an example of an innovative system that has impacted modern business has been the introduction of intranet and extranet systems (Liautaud and Hammond, 2000). The widespread introduction of such systems has improved the ability of businesses to communicate across departments and locations. The entrepreneurial vision, which designed these modern means of communications, resulted in the development of further services including cyber security, in order to reduce the risk of cyber crimes such as hacking, to gain business intelligence or denial of service attacks aiming to generate ransoms. Such examples demonstrate how entrepreneurs contribute to national economies through the development and growth of new services, and the resulting creation of jobs (Burns, 2013). Having recognised that their actions can impact upon the greater economy, research has focused upon identifying and analysing entrepreneurial behaviours (Delmar, 1996). It has been suggested that particular character traits are synonymous with entrepreneurial success (Blanchflower and Oswald, 1990; Burns, 2013 Carland, Carland and Hoy, 2002; Sarasvathy, 2001). These traits include the need for achievement, internal locus of control, innovation, opportunism, the acceptance of risk and uncertainty (Burns, 2013). Chell’s (1985) review of research identified three behavioural traits in particular as being integral to successful entrepreneurship; the need for achievement, locus of control and a propensity for risk taking. It may be beneficial to consider the impacts of these particular behaviours and practices upon the modern business environment.
McClelland (1961) made the early suggestion that entrepreneurs have a fundamental need for achievement. Such individuals will strive to take responsibility for processes, gain an understanding of existing systems, anticipate future developments and be willing to take degrees of risk (McClelland, 1961). The inherent need for achievement associated with entrepreneurs can be considered influential to such individuals’ persistent tendencies and their own strong locus of control (Brockhaus, 1982; Miller and Toulouse, 1986). This may be crucial given the ever- changing environmental, political and cultural conditions within the modern global economy. The drive for success may assist entrepreneurs to overcome challenges, which they as leaders of businesses and as employees of organisations routinely face in the modern business economy. Individuals with a greater need for achievement may in fact prefer challenges, which are harder to achieve (Chell, 2008). Bill Gates is an exemplar of this trait having suffered the failure of the unsuccessful performance his first business Traf-O-Data, before achieving success with Microsoft. Such persistent behaviours may be vital in a challenging global economy, which has resulted in higher tax rates and an increased reluctance of banks to offer loans to start-up businesses (Telegraph, 2014). It may also be valuable within public sector organisations responsible for protecting the security of national interests and citizens, while remaining cognizant of the expectation to do so within the limitations of reduced budgets. Employees within these public organisations possess both high levels of commitment to their roles and drives for success. This encourages the development of innovative suggestions, aiming to improve the ability to achieve organisational objectives within the highly challenging global environment.
In addition to creating new services and products, entrepreneurs have also been responsible for a range of changes including new systems of work, identifying new markets, new sources of materials and designing new production methods (Amit and Zott, 2010; Bornstein, 2007; Rae, 2015). It should nonetheless be considered that there are negative risks associated with these strong behaviour’s. The desire to maintain control can result in high levels of stress and a reluctance to delegate responsibilities. This can have a negative impact on the motivation and engagement levels of employees (Kets de Vries, 1985). The lack of delegation also opposes Greiner’s growth model (1972), which suggests that delegation and collaboration is a crucial aspect of effective business growth. While accepting the potential risks associated with entrepreneurism, the pace of development and change across economies and business environments has encouraged organisations to consider the effects of entrepreneurial behaviours within boardrooms (McKinney Rogers, 2007). Intrapreneurship (Kanter, 1986; Pinchot, 1985;) describes how individuals can act in an entrepreneurial way from within an organisation. By remaining alert to changing price patterns, technological advances and altering market demands, these individuals may be able to take advantage of profit winning opportunities (Kirzner, 2008). Recognising the capabilities of entrepreneurs, organisations and individual business leaders often follow their lead, potentially resulting in widespread business and industry changes, thereby impacting upon the wider business economy. It has been suggested that entrepreneurs application use of effectual reasoning, the confident belief that humans can respond to future circumstances effectively in particular offers potential benefits to competitive organisations (Read et al., 2009; Sarasvathy, 2001). In addition, the results of a research survey carried out by McKinney Rogers (2007) support the view that entrepreneurial behaviours can benefit organisations, through identifying that many business executives and managers expressed the belief that it was vital for the leaders of businesses to develop behaviours such as flexibility and innovation in order to effectively respond to the ever changing business environment. The endorsement and subsequent adoption of these behaviour’s by organisations has increased the impact of the entrepreneurial approaches upon the modern economy, arguably increasing its competitive nature.
The McKinney Rogers (2007) report identified the existing view that entrepreneurial behavior’s can be developed. Interestingly, this opinion was more prevalent within developing markets as opposed to more established economies. Interestingly, the increased levels of geopolitical instability in such regions may have also contributed to the increased importance of entrepreneurs within these international business economies (Burns, 2013). The increasing access to disruptive technologies in these regions, particularly in terms of electronic communications may offer opportunities to UK based private security companies, which are looking to enter markets in developing economies. As these companies employ national citizens, their potentially greater acceptance of entrepreneurial behaviour’s such as innovation, increased propensities for risk taking and the determination to achieve in challenging environments, may facilitate the growth of businesses in foreign markets. In addition to recognising the benefits of entrepreneurial behaviours in these foreign environments, it is worth considering that the decisions to diversify into such markets was made by individuals within the UK; such people demonstrate a number of entrepreneurial behavior’s which may result in business success.
A number of additional entrepreneurial behaviours offer benefits to the modern business environment. The actions resulting from these behaviours can lead to increased productivity, improved customer satisfaction and fundamentally increased revenue and wealth. The increased focus upon corporate social responsibility (CSR) across modern businesses has utilised one entrepreneurial behavior in particular; innovation (Burns, 2013). Innovation is arguably the most recognisable behavioural trait of an entrepreneur; innovation in particular “is the key to competitive advantage in a highly turbulent environment” (Neely and Hii, 1998, pp. 4). In synergy with possessing high drive and being task focused, entrepreneurs inclination for considering the range of options that are available, with a view to potentially determining innovative approaches to achieve outcomes, or to improve existing products may offer great benefit to organisations within the highly competitive modern business economy. Burns (2013) views the increased number of new small businesses entering business across the world as illustrative of the success of entrepreneurs. The successful implementation of innovative changes can increase consumer demands and raise the level of expectation in relation to the services available across an industry. This can encourage the growth of existing firms and the creation of new ones, thereby encouraging economic growth and creating jobs (Van Praag, 1999). This is demonstrated within the business environment when businesses within the security industry are constantly striving to diversify through the provision of new products, offered across new markets. An example of this in the security industry has been demonstrated by Protection Group International, which was one of the first UK businesses to offer private customers with updates on geopolitical and security threats to international business operations. However, while innovative suggestions are fundamental to business and economic progress, the ability to successfully implement changes or to sell products is not without challenges.
Entrepreneurs, particularly within smaller and new businesses may not have the financial resources, market networks and business structures in place to support success. Burns (2013) suggests the implementation of entrepreneurial behaviours within organisations needs to be managed effectively, in order to ensure that the ideas of different individuals work in concert, rather than in opposition. Furthermore successfully adopted innovations may also benefit competitors that choose to follow the lead of innovators and aspire to develop further improvements. The increased number of businesses within the security industry now offering international market threat analysis similar to the services offered by Protection Group International is illustrative of this. This competitive pressure is an accepted aspect of commercial business; the spread of advancements through diffused innovation benefit customers, industry and a nations economy (Rogers, 1983).
In addition to designing new products entrepreneurs may also improve systems of work. A recent example of this has been caused by the financial constraints experienced across both public and private sectors, resulting in reviews of existing work systems and on occasion the adoption of innovative practices. A simple example has included the sharing of vehicles between Civil Services and external partners in order to stimulate financial savings. Such novel suggestions are a crucial means of stimulating the often conflicting verbal engagements which result in the consideration of options and the resulting developments in processes (Amason, 1996, Jehn, 1997). However, while this may be viewed as a positive trait, disagreeable characteristics have been associated with innovative individuals (Gelade, 1997; Zhou and George, 2001). Entrepreneurs may demonstrate irritation and impatience towards those that resist change or display lethargy towards its implementation (Henry and Stevens, 1999). This can result in damaging conflict, which can have negative consequences for the individual displaying the behaviour and the organisation itself. This behaviour can have a particularly damaging impact upon businesses within the public sector security environment, given the increased cooperation between organisations and efforts to share resources, in order to reduce costs. Given these potential challenges, entrepreneurial success is greatly influenced by opportunism; the ability of an individual to make an accurate judgment in terms of when is an appropriate moment to make a change or to introduce a new product into a market (Casson, 1987; 1982; Chell, 2008). This view is refined by Blaug (1998, pp. 217) who states that an entrepreneur should be “a decision maker” and by Kirzner (2008), who describes this process as alertness. An example of such alertness within the security industry is also related to the introduction of cyber security services to developing economies. Although the prevalence of cyber and cyber enabled crime has grown alongside the increased reliance of businesses across the world upon information technology, individuals within security businesses have used entrepreneurial behaviours to determine the most financially appropriate moment to enter foreign markets. This is determined by a number of issues including competition, set up costs and the risk appetite of the business at a point of time.
Risk refers to the uncertainty about and the severity of the consequences, or outcomes of an activity with respect to something that human’s value (Aven and Renn, 2009); entrepreneurial behavior combines innovation and risk taking (Miller, 1983). Although there are conflicting research findings about the risk propensity of entrepreneurs (Brockhaus, 1980; Peacock, 1986), it has been suggested that entrepreneurs are greater risk takers than non-entrepreneurs (Shaver and Scott, 1991), in specific circumstances (Schwer and Yucelt, 1984). This may be important if one accepts that some acceptance of risk is required in order to introduce innovative developments into the business market. Successful entrepreneurs accept that introducing new products or processes comes with risks. They consider appropriate ways of mitigating, managing and responding to risks. The fact that entrepreneurs may have a higher risk tolerance is associated with innovative business developments, resulting in successful business; wealth creation and customer satisfaction. In addition to this view of risk, it could be argued that risk aversion may impact upon the ability to successfully design and gain support for innovative business suggestions. This would result in a lower rate of economic return on the time and money invested. However, a potential negative impact of a high-risk propensity is that new business lines may carry increased risk in terms of initial cost outlays and a relatively high risk of failure in comparison to existing and well-established products and processes.
Although there are many points to consider, entrepreneurs appear able to effectively consider and manage risks. The acceptance that risks are associated with innovative suggestions, the confidence to manage those uncertainties and the alertness to the best opportunities to introduce ideas are arguably inherent abilities; the self-starting and proactive natures of entrepreneurs (Frese and Fay, 2001) may be crucial for business success in the ever- changing environmental, political and cultural condition of the modern global economy. The drive for success may assist entrepreneurs to overcome challenges, which the leaders and employees of organisations face. Sarasvathy (2001) has suggested that these elements of entrepreneurial behaviour are related to effectual reasoning. The ability to achieve business success without relying upon defined processes or determined end states, associated with effectual reasoning may provide businesses with the flexibility required to respond effectively to changes in the modern business environment. Effectual reasoning may provide individuals with the ability to identify and maximize upon opportunities within a business environment challenged by restricted resources and increased competition, by ensuring to focus upon existing resources. The resulting structural development, increased gross domestic product and reduced levels of poverty experienced contribute to the wider economy (Chowdhury, 2007; Gupta and York, 2008; Morris et al, 2001; Nawaser et al., 2011).
Schumpeter (1911) placed great emphasis upon innovative entrepreneurial behavior, viewing the behavior to facilitate individuals with an ability to transform opportunities into profit. While some entrepreneurs may not exploit opportunities fully, yearning for the excitement of other possibilities, the generation of new products and services can stimulate growth in associated and supporting industries, all of which results in the creation of jobs. The development of entrepreneurial behaviour’s within individuals and organisations therefore offers benefits in the frequently changing environment of today’s business economy. The present author views that alongside the described need for achievement and the potential inclinations for risk taking, innovative abilities can benefit businesses, particularly within the security industry. This may be relevant within the current geopolitical climate, which has witnessed great threats to both the physical security of people and to the security of information stored on electronic systems. The growing threat from terrorist organisations in particular may provide opportunities for both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs within the security industry to develop products, which contribute to strengthening the security of private individuals, commercial businesses and public sector organisations. Examples may be related to the security of individuals travelling to regions of increased risk, or to the means of securing electronic information from the ever-developing threat posed by cyber terrorists and criminals. The development of such products and services will certainly be influenced by the entrepreneurial behaviour’s described in the present paper. Individuals and organisations that have effectively foreseen these developments, may have attempted to prepare for the ensuing opportunities by seeking to develop entrepreneurial behaviour’s and practices within individuals and teams. Businesses have attempted to achieve this through developing educational packages or employing training companies, to educate and coach leaders and managers to adopt and demonstrate greater entrepreneurial practices. Furthermore, the increased academic focus and research dedicated to the study of entrepreneurism is reflective of the recognition of its importance (Ács and Audretsch, 2006; Gorman, Hanlon and King, 1997; Scherer, Adams and Wiebe, 1989). Accepting that businesses have recognised the potential impact that entrepreneurial behaviours and practices play in today’s business economy, the direction of future research could focus upon the evaluating the efficacy of utilising personality profiling during recruitment processes for organisations and during on-going learning and development packages, in order to identify existing entrepreneurial characteristics within individuals. The results of such processes could be used by organisations to identify individuals that may have the potential to contribute to the growth and competitiveness of a business.
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