Since Kilby's hunting of the Heffalump, determinants of
entrepreneurial behaviour (1) have been searched for in various
directions. It is somewhat surprising that even today there prevails an
(at least implicit) understanding and belief in homogeneous Heffalumps.
That is to say, we do not take into account seriously enough the great
variation in entrepreneurial roles and types when trying to understand
and find linkages between personal characteristics and entrepreneurial
behaviour. Thus, instead of searching for one Heffalump, we should
rather search for the species or tribe of those important actors. While
searching for these characters, it is important to note that the mode of
appearance of entrepreneurial actors varies to a great degree. That is a
fact that is very explicit in entrepreneurship literature. However, in
research focusing on the determinants of entrepreneurial behaviour the
distinction between different forms of 'entrepreneurial
behaviour' is neglected.
It is a common view amongst the researchers in entrepreneurship
that the moment of emerging entrepreneurial identity and intentionality
is an important research object. Especially studies on varying
backgrounds of would-be entrepreneurs and research on 'who, when,
and which factors have influence on their decision to start up' are
seen as important (see e.g., Dyer, 1994; Schein, 1994; Koskinen, 1996).
In this paper we regard entrepreneurial identity as a latent
occupational concept of oneself, and use our data of a
'normal' population to study how common entrepreneurial
identities are (the proportion of people identifying themselves as
possible entrepreneurs) and what kinds of different identities exist in
a population. From there we continue by studying, the entrepreneurial
intentions (of starting up a business) within the population. Also
relationships between identities and intentionality are studied. The
paper ends up with an analysis of the pushfactor's effect on the
relationship between entrepreneurial identity and intentionality. There
is quite a lot of theorising about the influence of the push-factor on
entrepreneurship, but there are rather few research results about
certain push-factors' influence on the intentionality of different
personalities. This study tries to focus on that theme by elaborating
the effect of the push-factor on various groups of persons.
DETERMINANTS OF ENTREPRENEURIAL ACTION
At a very general level of discussion, the various explanations of
entrepreneurship can be categorised into two schools: (i) the
environmental school and (ii) the people school. The environmental
school bases its explanation of the existence of entrepreneurship on the
cultural and structural conditions of (most often) the local
environment. A recent survey by Reynolds, Storey and Westhead (1994)
focused on various economic-structural characteristics in six countries
trying to find out relationships between structural variables and
entrepreneurship. Also Johannisson and Bang (1992), Davidsson (1993) and
Havusela (1995) have reported empirical findings on the relationship
between structural variables and entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship-related values and attitudes have been used as a
measure indicating local culture (see e.g,. Davidsson, 1993). Similarly,
in the classical work of McClelland (1961) the personal achievement
motive was used to measure an achieving culture at the level of society.
According to various investigations, there is a link between both
structural and cultural aspects of environment and entrepreneurship. In
many cases, however, this link seems to be quite vague and the strict
causality between the independent (environment) and the dependent
(entrepreneurship) variable is uncertain and thus problematic.
The people school of entrepreneurship stresses the importance of
'right stuff' (see e.g. Ronstadt, 1984). At an extreme, the
point is that an individual having 'entrepreneurial
characteristics' always finds the path to entrepreneurship
regardless of environmental conditions. The mainstream of 'people
school' research uses the so-called 'trait approach' in
explaining both entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial success.
Perhaps the most widely used traits are the need for achievement
(McClelland, 1961) and the locus of control (Rotter, 1966; Levenson,
1973). Also tolerance of ambiguity and creativity have often been linked
to entrepreneurship. Bateman and Crant (1993) defined a measure for the
proactive personality. This 'new trait' seems to be a rather
promising determinant of entrepreneurial behaviour. The trait approach
has found various linkages between personal characteristics and
entrepreneurship. Also these relationships are usually quite weak, but
it can be argued that traits in general possess at least some
explanatory power with regard to entrepreneurship. The critique on the
trait approach has for example focused on the fact that it has not
succeeded in defining, a unique entrepreneurial stereotype with a
certain pattern of characteristics, and that the relationship between a
trait and actual behaviour is weak (see e.g. Chell, 1985).
It is true that traits alone have a limited explanatory power with
regard to entrepreneurship. As a solution to this problem an interactive
approach (interactionism) tries to explain entrepreneurial behaviour as
a function of the person and environmental conditions (Chell, 1985: 48).
Huuskonen (1992) has also discussed the co-effect of personal
characteristics and the objective reality individuals live in. In his
approach the person's subjective interpretation of the objective
reality functions as a triggering element towards an entrepreneurial
Values and attitudes in general and especially those linked closely
with entrepreneurship are connected with entrepreneurial career
development. Environmental observations shape people's attitudes
and beliefs. Attitudes and beliefs influence the potential
entrepreneur's view when he or she compares entrepreneurial and
non-entrepreneurial career alternatives (c.f. Huuskonen, 1992: 8182).
Ideological values have been regarded as important determinants of
entrepreneurial behaviour by classical writers like Weber and
McClelland. Weber relates ideological values straight with
entrepreneurial behaviour, whereas McClelland uses the need for
achievement concept as an intermediating psychological variable between
values and behaviour. (Kilby, 1971: 7-8).
Gibb and Ritchie (1981) have proposed an alternative 'social
development model' to explain and understand entrepreneurial
start-up decisions. They suggest that "entrepreneurship can be
wholly understood in terms of the types of situation encountered and the
social groups to which individuals relate" (1981: 183). Also
Stanworth and Curran's (1976) definition of entrepreneurial
identities refers to certain reference groups. That is, persons can
identify themselves as certain types of entrepreneurs (artisans,
classical entrepreneurs or managers). Entrepreneurial identity may be a
new promising link in the discussion of entrepreneurial potential as it
can be used to distinguish between various would-be entrepreneurs. The
concept can be defined as an individual's latent occupational
identity in relation to entrepreneurship. In most studies of
entrepreneurship, there has clearly been an aim to define
entrepreneurship as a unique and coherent phenomenon. This approach has
failed mostly because of the complexity of the empirical reality of
entrepreneurship. In order to measure entrepreneurial potential, it is
very important and interesting to find out how people define themselves
as entrepreneurs and what is the link between identity, attitudes,
traits and intentions.
Intentionality is a state of mind directing a person's
attention (and therefore experience and action) towards a specific
object (goal) or a path in order to achieve something (means) (Bird,
1988: 442). Intentionality is, thus, grounded on cognitive psychology
that attempts to explain or predict human behaviour. It is seen that
behavioural intention results from attitudes and becomes an immediate
determinant of behaviour. Fishbein and Ajzen (1975) have illustrated
this relationship as follows:
Beliefs ==> Attitudes ==> Intentions ==> Behavior
Entrepreneurial intentions are aimed at either creating a new
venture or creating, new values in existing ventures. Intentionality
includes both rational/analytic thinking (goal directed behaviour) and
intuitive/holistic thinking (vision) (Bird, 1988). Motivational factors,
such as the need for achievement (McClelland, 196 1) and the need for
control (Brockhaus, 1982) predispose individuals to entrepreneurial
intentions. Boyd and Vozikis (1994) have treated self-efficacy as an
important triggering or inhibiting factor of intentionality.
Self-efficacy is originally derived from Baundra's (1977) social
learning theory and it refers to a person's belief in his or her
capability to perform a given task. Self-efficacy also affects a
person's beliefs regarding whether or not certain goals may be
attained. (Boyd and Vozikis, 1994: 66). Thus it follows that if a person
has positive attitudes to entrepreneurship and his/her intentionality
has arisen, and if the triggers (suddenly changing, personal or
environment--based conditions) are stronger than the barriers to
start-up, the decision to found an enterprise occurs (Volery, Doss,
Mazzaroll & Thein, 1997).
The period of pre start-up has been described by many writers. For
example Schollhammer and Kuriloff (1979), Vesper (1980), Cooper (1982),
Churchill (1983), Kazanjian (1984) and Stevenson, Roberts and Grousbeck
(1985) have touched upon the theme. Those models usually include the
stages of pre-start-up, start-up, growth and maturation (e.g. Churchill,
1983; Kazanjian, 1984). Cooper (1982) defines the pre-start-up stage as
"The pre-start-up stage includes those events which lead a
specific entrepreneur to a specific venture opportunity. It can involve
varying degrees of deliberate planning, development of contacts and
resources, and systematic search for entrepreneurial
Churchill (1983) defines the start-up-stage in three different
"Seriously consider doing it--decide that having your own
business is a serious possibility and that you want to be an
entrepreneur. The potential entrepreneur undergoes a change in
outlook--for what was pure speculation or an intellectual game now
becomes a distinct possibility. Plan for it--First, develop the
fundamental business concept ... second, prepare the business plan. Do
it--take the plunge and actually launch (or acquire) the business."
Common to all definitions of the pre-start-up stage is the focus on
business related facts, which together form a straightforward pathway to
business start-up. The pre-Start-up models usually begin with a
"perception of market opportunities" (Kilby, 1971), "when
the desire for entrepreneurship is recognized" (Vesper, 1980), or
"understanding forces creating opportunity" (Stevenson et al.
1985: 23). Some writers have seen the pre-start-up period to begin with
more person-oriented phases like the "entrepreneur sees a
need" (Schollhammer & Kuriloff, 1971: 31) or "seriously
consider to do it" (Churchill, 1983).
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Determinants of entrepreneurial action (like the starting up of an
enterprise) form a complex web of different explanatory concepts and
variables. Even though the strict causality of these determinants in
relation to entrepreneurial action is somewhat questionable, there is
evidence enough to draw at least a hypothetical picture of the (loosely)
explanatory structure behind entrepreneurial action. Figure I
illustrates our thinking. We consider the following determinants of
personal development as prerequisites to entrepreneurial action. Values
and attitudes form a base for entrepreneurial development. McClelland
(1961) placed the need for achievement motive as an intermediating
variable between cultural values and entrepreneurial action. Our
thinking follows a similar line of reasoning in that also other personal
characteristics can be placed as intermediating factors between a
positive value base and entrepreneurial action. In our studies we have
used nach, locus of control, tolerance of ambiguity, creativity and
proactivity as those intermediating personal variables.
It is possible to distinguish between three different main phases
or areas of entrepreneurial determinants. The first can be termed the
values base and it consists of a personal value structure, more precise
attitudes to and beliefs in entrepreneurship as well as of various
entrepreneurial characteristics and ways of behaviour (see e.g.,
Bygrave, 1989: 9). While some entrepreneurial characteristics are
'products' of a positive value base, they also add to the
second level of the process, the development of a person's
occupational base. The level consists of concepts related to a
person's occupational development, such as different forms of
occupational knowledge and skills. These are mostly developed through
education and experience (or, to follow Collins, Moore and Unwalla,
1964: "the school for entrepreneurs"). Also motivations have
significant meaning for the occupational development of a person.
Entrepreneurial identity is a person's context-bound and socially
influenced subjective interpretation of his/her eventual role as an
entrepreneur, stemming from his/her personal values, motivations and
skills (the concept of entrepreneurial identity is discussed more
profoundly later). Entrepreneurial intention is the link between the
development of a person's occupational base and real
entrepreneurial behaviour. The third and final area of entrepreneurial
background processes is the phase of pre-start-up, which we see here as
a straight pathway to realised entrepreneurship, even though it has been
found that not all intentions lead to business start-up (Learned, 1992;
Volery et al., 1997).
As to entrepreneurial determinants, it is very important to
distinguish between personal and external determinants. One of the main
messages in Figure I above is that the entrepreneurial process is always
a personal process, i.e. a person is subjectively involved in it and no
external involvement can not realise the process unless the person wants
it. Putting it differently, all external push--and pull-factors
influence the start-up process through individual actors.
Prior research has dealt with several types of push factors.
Specht's (1993) literature review showed that the five most common
contextual factors used as determinants of entrepreneurship can be
grouped as social, economic, political, infrastructure development and
market factors. The failure of a previous organisation, getting fired,
or concluding that the organisation or one's career is not
progressing can also be treated as factors 'pushing' towards
entrepreneurship. (Collins et al, 1964, Shapero & Sokol, 1982;
Vesper, 1983). Push--and pull-factors are usually connected with the
startup process of a new firm. However, it is also possible to argue
that several environmental factors influence the development of a
person's value base as well as occupational base. Moreover, the
environmental factors change during a person's development. In the
early years the environment provides the cultural prerogatives needed
for primary and secondary socialization (Berger & Luckmann, 1966),
changing then from fostering and supporting to forming structures,
expectations, pressures and obstacles.
From our point of view the discussion and research concerning the
effect of external factors (push and pull) on the entrepreneurial
process is too general. That is, the research has not tried to show the
external factors' effect on different personalities and persons
with different occupational identity. In this study we try to specify
our research focus on a certain phase of the entrepreneurial development
process (entrepreneurial identity) and study certain environmental
factors' influence on its relationship with entrepreneurial
THE CONCEPT OF ENTREPRENEURIAL IDENTITY
The literature of entrepreneurship recognises various types of
entrepreneurs. The basic differentiating line is usually drawn between
craftsman and opportunistic entrepreneurs (Smith, 1967; Stanworth &
Curran, 1976; Routamaa & Vesalainen, 1989; Lafuente & Salas,
1989) even though many authors define more than two types. The above
writers define varying forms of entrepreneurship through the
socio-psychological approach and entrepreneur's goal orientation,
especially growth. Vesper's (1980) categorisation of entrepreneurs
differs from the above in that it is mainly based on the way an
entrepreneur is carrying out his/her business. However, definitions of
the different types among, the would-be entrepreneurs are rare. We aim
to analyse a certain population in order to find out the quantity and
especially the quality of entrepreneurial identity of would-be
entrepreneurs within that population.
The concept of entrepreneurial identity has its roots in
entrepreneurial types used to differentiate between various types of
entrepreneurs. Especially Stanworth and Curran's (1976) definition
of the entrepreneur identity has influenced our thinking. Following,
Gouldner (1958) they used the concept of latent social identity to deal
with "the several possible constellations of meanings which may
form the core of the entrepreneur's self definition of the
entrepreneurial role" (Stanworth & Curran, 1976: 104). Identity
search, understanding oneself within one's social environment, has
been considered as one of the main themes of human life. Identity
develops in youth so that occupational identity is one of the latest
areas of development (Erikson, 1959). Identity may have a foreclosure
status in the sense that a young person has taken the identity for
granted e.g,. as a legacy from his/her parents. In another path of
development, identity achievement, the young person looks for and tries
out several different identities and on the basis of the cumulated
experience, he/she chooses one. Identity becomes reevaluated at
different stages in life, when conditions of life change and when crises
are encountered (Marcia, 1980). Identity has been distinguished in
several areas: clarity of definition of one's self, commitment to
values, beliefs and objectives, activity towards these commitments,
consideration of identity alternatives, approval of one's self, and
thrust in one's own future (Waterman, 1982).
Schein's (1978) theory of career anchors is also applicable
here. Schein (1978) argues that as people move into their careers they
gradually develop clearer self-concepts in terms of their:
1. Talents and abilities: they discover at what they are and what
they are not good.
2. Motives and needs: they determine what they are ultimately
seeking out of their career (e.g., good income, security, interesting
work, or opportunities to be creative).
3. Values: they realize with what kind of company, work
environment, product, or service they want to be associated.
Schein continues by arguing that "talents, motives, and values
become interrelated in a total self-concept through a reciprocal process
of learning." This learning process can be seen as an important
linkage between the values base and the occupational base defined
earlier in this paper. It can be argued that entrepreneurial identity is
the central concept of the occupational base. It is anchored in the
values and occupational experiences, education as well as motivations,
and it strengthens and changes the entrepreneurial intentions according
to the circumstances. Also external factors like entrepreneurial culture
or the existence of entrepreneurial 'heroes' as living
examples of entrepreneurship have a certain influence on each
person's occupational entrepreneurial identity.
Schein originally defined eight career anchors: (1)
Security/stability, (2) autonomy and independence, (3) entrepreneurship,
(4) technical/functional competence, (5) managerial competence, (6)
service, (7) pure challenge, and (8) life style. The original career
anchor of entrepreneurship is defined on the very strict basis of
Schumpeterian entrepreneurship where extreme creativity and the need for
creating a new business are the dominant features of the anchor. In the
light of varying entrepreneurial roles (e.g., from self-employed to
conglomerator or from artisan to classical entrepreneur) the
entrepreneurial career anchor serves as too narrow a perspective to
understand entrepreneurs' career decisions. Taking an opposite
approach to the anchors it can be argued that only the anchor of
security/stability is clearly against all entrepreneurial career
Our definition of occupational entrepreneurial identity is based on
varying entrepreneurial identities and its main rationale can be
crystallised by asking, if entrepreneurship, what kind of
entrepreneurship? On the basis of the above discussion the
entrepreneurial identity can be defined as a person's inclination
to adopt a certain type of occupational entrepreneurial role. It has a
career anchor-type of nature in that it is latent (social identity) and
it becomes more explicit when the person becomes older and more
experienced in different occupational situations.
RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND METHODOLOGY
This research report focuses on four questions:
(1) How common are different entrepreneurial identities in a
(2) How do the groups of persons categorised by the entrepreneurial
identity differ according to personal characteristics, entrepreneurial
attitudes and other background factors,
(3) What is the level of entrepreneurial intentions in each group,
(4) What kind of effect has a certain push--factor to the
entrepreneurial intention in each group.
As a base population we used the small Finnish country municipality
of Laihia which has a total population of approximately 7,500
inhabitants. We excluded all inhabitants under 16 and over 65 years of
age and took a randomly selected sample of 1,000 names from the
remaining population, which was about 4,800 inhabitants. After one
reminder with a questionnaire we got a response rate of 48,5 % and thus
our data consists of 485 acceptable questionnaires. The age class 46--65
is somewhat underrepresented and the age class 31-46 years somewhat
overrepresented. In other respects, the data corresponds well with the
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
Entrepreneurial identity was measured by a 19-item block of
statements describing various entrepreneurial roles (the items listed in
figure 3.) The data was analysed at three levels. First, we looked at
the straight distribution of each type of role. Second, we conducted an
exploratory factor analysis to find out some basic dimensions of
identity, and third we used the factor coefficients in a cluster
analysis in order to form groups of different would-be and
non-entrepreneurs in the sample.
In the study we have also measured various personal
characteristics. Tolerance of ambiguity was measured by a block of 6
questions (Cronbach's alpha 0.69). The need for achievement was
measured by a block of 8 questions (0.73). In order to measure locus of
control we used a Levensontype of questionnaire instead of Rotter's
by making the same statements as two Finnish researchers, Pitkdnen and
Vesala (1988), had used earlier (our alpha for the measure was 0.70).
Creativity was measured by a block of 8 items (0.77) as we did with
proactive behaviour, for which we used a shortened version of Bateman
and Crant's (1993) measure (alpha 0.83). In the light of the
coefficient alpha all the measures are internally valid. Our aim here is
not to concentrate on the 'traitsdiscussion' but to use the
above personal characteristics as background variables to study whether
different groups of would-be entrepreneurs differ with regard to
Intentionality was measured by a block of 19 items. Of the items
six dealt with the respondents' aim to start some kind of an
enterprise within a year. The next six considered various searching
activities for the year, such as active search for an opportunity,
financing or a partner. The rest of the items (7) dealt with various
aims related to development and training activities in order to acquire
entrepreneurial and managerial skills. In this research report we use
only the 'real' aims to start an enterprise within a year.
As a push-factor we measured a person's dissatisfaction with
prevailing occupational conditions. Acknowledging that people may
experience drastically different occupational conditions, we defined
three different scales of questions: One for those having a job at the
moment, one for those unoccupied at the moment (unemployed,
mothers/fathers at home, students etc.) and one for farmers. Each scale
(4-6 items per scale) represents the personal push-factor of
dissatisfaction with prevailing occupational conditions. The three
groups' dissatisfaction followed fairly well the shape of normal
distribution but there were expected differences of scale. To improve
their comparability within a single variable, the scales were
standardised and normalised to follow a normal distribution. This kind
of push-factor can be categorised in the group of negative
displacement-type of push-factors defined by Shapero and Sokol (1982).
The distribution of all the 19 entrepreneurial roles is represented
in Figure 3. It can be noticed that the most popular entrepreneurial
role is that of an independent professional. This may include several
professional solo entrepreneurs like lawyers, consultants, doctors or
other professional experts whose expertise is acquired through education
Over 60% of all respondents could at least partially agree that
this kind of an entrepreneurial role might be appropriate for them. The
data was factor-analysed in order to find new and more coherent
dimensions of entrepreneurial identity. The results of the
factor-analysis are reported in
Table 1. The varimax-rotated factor pattern produced five factors
when the criterion was set on the basis of eigenvalue > 1. Factor 1
appeared to represent the main entrepreneurial elements like
"businessman" (loading .7) and "owner-manager"
(.8)--identities. Also the more innovative elements like
"inventor" (.58), "scientist" (.65) and
"expert" (.62) loaded strongly on this factor. This factor can
be thus labeled as classical entrepreneurial identity.
[FIGURE 3 OMITTED]
The second factor consists purely of items of internal
entrepreneurship with respective loadings of "internal
innovator" (.79), "internal provision earner" (.69) and
"internal developer" (.75). Thus the factor can be labeled as
The third factor consists mainly of "franchising," (.83),
"network-marketing" (.66) and
cooperative-entrepreneurship" (.53). All these items reflect the
new entrepreneurial roles in Finnish society. Franchising is increasing
rapidly, many unemployed have joined work cooperatives through which
they can offer their services on an entrepreneurial basis. Also
network-marketing is clearly booming in Finland at the moment. However,
the commonality of the network-marketing role is quite low, thus this
particular role is spread into other factors, too. Common to these
entrepreneurial roles is that in each type the entrepreneur is not alone
by him--or herself but some sort of 'principal' is always
closely involved with the business. This factor can be called the
custopreneurial identity. The term custopreneurship was launched by
Lehtinen (1988) and it has been defined as involving those operations
where the business has integrated its customers as resources into the
business operations to work entrepreneurially (Koiranen & Tuunanen,
The fourth factor is easily interpreted. Two main items have very
strong loadings, "farmer-identity" (.87) and
"forest-entrepreneur identity" (.89). This factor can be
called farmer identity.
In the last factor items "craftsman" (.78) and
"independent professional" (.72) loaded strongest. This factor
reflects a craftsmanship--dimension of entrepreneurial identity. The
difference between craftsmanship and professionalism here is that the
former is usually believed to be an identity for poorly and the latter
for highly educated persons. However, people seem to mix between these
elements because they loaded in the factor.
Compared with former entrepreneurship studies, it can be found that
the factor structure includes the opportunistic--craftsman distinction.
Factor 1 (classical entrepreneurship) corresponds to the one end of the
continuum and factor 4 (farmer entrepreneurship) and factor 5 (craftsman
entrepreneurship) to the other end. Factor 3 (custopreneurship) can be
placed in between the extreme ends of that continuum. It should be kept
in mind that the above factor pattern is a result of data gathered from
the normal population and thus it cannot be directly compared with
results from purely entrepreneurial data. Anyway, it can be concluded
that the data reflects entrepreneurial identities in a population
through five alternative dimensions:
Classical identity, which is characterised by businessman and
owner-manager identities as well as the more opportunistic and
innovative identities of innovator and scientist.
Intrapreneurial identity, which is characterised by innovative
behaviour, a positive attitude towards a flexible reward system, and
activity towards various development tasks within an organisation.
Custopreneurial identity, in which entrepreneurial roles of
franchising, cooperative entrepreneurship and network-marketing
Farmer identity, where both farmer identity and forestry
entrepreneur identity are the most characteristic features.
Craftsman identity, which is characterised by craftsmanship and
The analysis was continued with cluster analysis using the factor
scores computed. The cluster analysis resulted in five distinct clusters
which can be labeled as follows (Table 2). In cluster I the farmer
identity (cluster center (2) 1.24) is clearly a dominating factor. This
group of individuals seems also to have quite low inclination towards
classical identity (cluster centre--.52). Thus this cluster can be
labeled as farmer identity cluster and it consists of 98 individuals
which is 20.2 % of the sample. In cluster 2 the absence of any
entrepreneurial identity is extremely clear. All cluster centres are
negative; thus this cluster can be labelled as a non-entrepreneurial
cluster and it consists of 81 persons, which is 16.7 % of the sample.
The most dominating factor in cluster 3 is the classical entrepreneurial
identity (1.30). It is also worth noticing that three out of four other
cluster centres are negative; thus people in this group seem to be quite
focused in their identity. The cluster can be named as classical
identity cluster and it consists of 102 members, which is 21.0 % of the
sample. Cluster 4 is characterised by internal entrepreneurship. The
cluster centre does not, however, reach as high a score as other
dominating factors in other clusters (0.83). It is also worth noticing
that factor 5 gets quite a high value in this cluster, too. Thus both
the internal entrepreneurship and the craftsman/expert identity somewhat
dominate this cluster. The main reason why the two factors get such high
values in this cluster might be that many people having internal
entrepreneur identity are at the same time experts, who could easily
think of themselves as independent experts on a solo-entrepreneurial
basis. This cluster can, however, be named as an intrapreneurial
identity cluster and it consists of 88 persons, which is 18.1 % of the
sample. The last cluster is dominated by custopreneurial
entrepreneurship. The interpretation is quite clear as the other factors
have very low or negative cluster centres. This cluster can be named as
the custopreneurial identity cluster, and it consists of 116 persons,
which is 23.9 % of the sample.
Looking at the result from the perspective of various factors, it
is obvious that factor I (classical entrepreneurial identity), factor 3
(custopreneurial identity) and factor 4 (farmer identity) produced the
most clear-cut solutions in terms of focused interpretation (the single
factor clearly the dominating one in the cluster). Instead, the
craftsman/expert factor spread into several clusters, and thus no pure
craftsman cluster emerged. The main reason for that might stem from the
questionnaire, which does not distinguish clearly enough between
craftsman and expert identities which, in turn, leads to the result that
both identities loaded on the same factor. Comparing this result against
reality, it seems to be somewhat misleading.
Several differences between the clusters were found. First,
comparing the personal characteristics within and between the groups, it
was found that in the cluster of classical identity all the personal
characteristics measured were at the highest level (Appendix 1).
Correspondingly, all the characteristics in the group of
non-entrepreneurial identity were the lowest. Most of the values of
entrepreneurial characteristics of the classical entrepreneurship
identity group were also higher than the values of all other would-be
entrepreneur groups. The other three clusters (2, 3 and 4) were quite
equal with respect to personal characteristics. On the basis of the
above results, it is quite clear that entrepreneurial identity and
personal characteristics interrelate. Thus the strength of
entrepreneurial characteristics seem to settle down at three levels. The
highest overall level was measured in the group of classical identity.
The 'mid-group' consisted of the other three groups which were
also identified as entrepreneurs. Clearly the lowest scores of the
characteristics measures were found in the group of non-entrepreneurs.
Almost the same results could be found concerning the entrepreneurial
attitudes (Table 3).
In regard to the background characteristics, the persons with
custopreneurial identity were the youngest and the persons with farmer
identity the oldest. It seems that custopreneurial activities are
favoured by younger persons, which is logical because these (especially)
franchising and network-marketing types of entrepreneurial activities
are quite new phenomena. The groups of farmer identity (55.1 %),
classical identity (64.7 %) and intrapreneurial identity (55.7 %) were
dominated by men and correspondingly the groups of non-entrepreneurial
identity (55.6 %) and custopreneurial identity (56.0 %) by women. As to
the social background of the different groups of identities it was found
that only 28.4 % of the persons in the non-entrepreneurial group had
several relatives and/or friends who were entrepreneurs as compared to
the groups of classical identity (50%), farmer identity (48 %),
custopreneurial identity (44.8 %) and intrapreneurial identity (42 %).
The lowest educational levels were found in groups of farmer identity
and nonentrepreneurial identity (37.8 % and 33.3 of the persons in the
respective group) had only basic education. Persons having an
intrapreneurial identity represented the highest level of education
(only 12.5 % having just basic education).
INTENTIONALITY AND THE EFFECT OF THE PUSH-FACTOR
According to previous studies environmental push might have a
positive relationship to startups. Here we studied the push
factor's effect on intentionality. A push-factor acts as an
intermediate variable and it can be hypothesised that there exists a
positive correlation between intentionality and the push-factor. That
is, when the push-factor strengthens, the intentionality increases. As a
pushfactor we used here dissatisfaction with prevailing occupational
Approximately 30 % of the persons in the sample aimed at new
business start-up within a year. In the groups of custopreneurial and
classical identity, intentionality was strongest (37.1 % and 35.3 %)
aimed at start-up. At the overall level, the correlation between
intentionality and the push-factor was .13 (p< 0.001). The
relationship was elaborated further by calculating correlation
coefficients in various sub-groups (Table 4).
Table 3 shows that in the age group 16-30 the correlation changed
clearly (weakened as low as to 0.09). In other age groups the
correlation strengthened slightly (0.26 and 0.16). This result reflects
quite clearly that in the case of younger persons, the environmental
push does not have any effect on intentionality. Instead, the older
persons, especially the middle-aged, tend to have growing intentionality
if the environmental push increases. The effect of the push-factor also
strengthened in the group of poorly educated persons (0.16) and weakened
in the group of highly educated ones. Thus it seems that education has a
certain position in the chain of evidence concerning entrepreneurial
intentions. It is possible to assume that entrepreneurship is more often
the solution to problems of poorly educated than highly educated
persons, who might more easily find other work if the conditions in the
present job are not satisfactory enough. These findings correspond quite
well to the social marginality theory (e.g. Collins et al, 1964).
Further, it was found that intentionality strengthens in the group of
men (0.17) and weakens in the group of women (0.08). This was no
surprise either (see e.g, Cooper, Gimeno-Gascon & Woo, 1994).
In regard to identities, the correlation strengthened in the group
of farmer identity (0.29). The farmer identity may be more linked to
high environmental awareness than to strategic awareness (Gibb &
Scott, 1985). The result indicates also that environmental push does not
have any effect on intentions when a person has either a classical or a
non-entrepreneurial identity. The correlation weakened in the groups of
classical identity (-0.06) and non-entrepreneurial identity (0.05). The
reasons for this, of course, are different. For classical entrepreneurs,
'the internal flame' is enough to cause entrepreneurial
intentions and no push is needed, whilst in the case of
non-entrepreneurial identity not even an environmental push can wake up
the need for entrepreneurial behaviour.
The analysis was continued by calculating sub-correlations at the
third level of analysis (i.e., age, education and gender within the
identity groups). These results are also presented in Table 4. By
bringing in the entrepreneurial identity as an intermediate factor, the
correlations in the age groups were turned around from the original
setting. It was found that the push factor seems to have quite a strong
influence on intentionality especially in the groups of young, and
middle-aged farmer identities. The increase in correlation suggests that
persons having a farmer identity will be more influenced by the
push-effect than other groups.
In the classical identity group the lack of positive correlation
was confirmed. The bringing in of the classical identity erased the high
correlations in the age group 31-45 and in the group of poorly educated.
In the oldest age group 46-60, the correlation even turned significantly
negative (-0.39*). This finding suggests that the push-effect and
classical entrepreneurship are not linked together but classical
entrepreneurship is an internally motivated and triggered phenomenon.
As a new type of 'quasi-entrepreneurship',
custopreneurship has been well adopted by the young. Indeed, the only
positive change that the bringing of custopreneurial identity into the
equation caused, was that the correlation among the age group 16-30 grew
statistically significant (0.28*). On the other hand, the other age
groups declined in significance. The identity seems to fit well the
group of young men with a low level of education.
In the group of intrapreneurs the identity has the mildest effect
on the correlations. In the older age groups the correlation levelled
off as well as with the poorly educated. In many respects the group
seems to behave quite similarly to the classical entrepreneurs, with a
remarkable exception in the age group 46-60, where the push has fairly
high (though statistically insignificant) correlation. The effect of the
push-factor rises significantly also in the group of old
non-entrepreneurial identities. In fact, the largest change takes place
in the age-group 31-45, where the positive (0.26***) correlation drops
to negative (0.19ns). So it seems that having a non-entrepreneurial
inclination is predominantly a phenomenon of the middle-aged. Another
finding is the lack of correlation in the low-educated group. This
non-entrepreneurial group shows clear signs of passivity. We think that
here is a sign of the significance of the positive value base, which
provides entrepreneurship as an optional career choice for those who
feel unsatisfied with their current positions.
The aim of this paper was to study entrepreneurial identities in a
certain population and on the basis of the findings be able to discuss
the possibilities of finding the 'real entrepreneurs' or of
'pushing' people towards entrepreneurial careers. We studied
also the relationship between different identities and entrepreneurial
intentionality, especially focusing, on the effect of a certain
environmental push-factor as a mediating variable between identity and
intentionality. The main findings of this study can be categorised as
follows. First, most of the people in the population have an
occupational entrepreneur identity. The group of people who did not
possess an entrepreneurial identity was quite small; only 16.7 % of the
population could be included in that group (cluster). This result,
however, may be regionally biased and thus dangerous to generalize.
Further research will reveal whether there are differences between the
identity structures of various regional areas.
Second, the most common entrepreneurial roles were those of the
independent professional, the team entrepreneur and the craftsman. These
roles fill in both the intrapreneurship and micro business
entrepreneurship posts, and were thus in no respect surprises. However,
the findings suggest that most people do carry entrepreneurial
determinants with them and, therefore, attempts to differentiate
entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs with clear-cut measures may be
Third, the further analysis of the separate entrepreneurial roles
formed four types of entrepreneurial identity: (i) the classical
identity, (ii) the intrapreneurial identity, (iii) the custopreneurial
identity and (iv) the farmer identity. The fifth group of persons was
characterised by non-entrepreneurial identity. The classical--and
farmer--dimensions followed fairly well the existing logic of
entrepreneurship literature. The classical entrepreneurs proved to score
highest on all the personal characteristics. In many respects, however,
even if the classical entrepreneurs scored highest in almost everything,
the entrepreneurial identity groups did not differ drastically from each
other in their value basis concerning entrepreneurship. The appearance
of a separate intrapreneurship dimension was an interesting new finding
in entrepreneurship research. The recent trends within larger
organisations to increase the individuals' expertise and
responsibilities has led to the clear emergence of the intrapreneur type
of identity. They are well-educated and differ from classical
entrepreneurs only in a few personal characteristics. Another
interesting finding, was that several quite modern types of
entrepreneurial roles loaded on the same factor, which could be named as
custopreneurial identity. This finding brings in additional confirmation
on Baumol's (1990) theorising on the changing nature of
entrepreneurship as a phenomenon. The custopreneurial movement makes it
even more difficult than before to point out clear-cut differences
between entrepreneurial and non-entrepreneurial behaviour.
Custopreneurship seems to fit young people well, both as giving new
options for employing oneself and as offering new unusual ways of
balancing between work and leisure time.
Fourth, the push-factor as operationalised by 'dissatisfaction
with prevailing occupational conditions' has a statistically
significant relationship to intentionality. That is, if people are
dissatisfied with their prevailing occupational conditions, the
probabilities of entrepreneurial intentions rise. However, this
relationship is not universal in the sense that it would influence
different people or groups of people similarly. According to our
results. the push-factor has no effect at all on the groups of classical
entrepreneur identities. As an interpretation of this result we assume
that this particular type of identity does not need any external push
because entrepreneurship is an in-grown quality of the type. On the
other hand, in the group of non-entrepreneurial identities the absence
of the push-factor effect can be explained by arguing that the identity
is so strong, an element that at least this kind of push can not wake up
the need for entrepreneurial action. In both of the groups where the
push-factor has no effect on intentionality neither age, gender nor
education has any strengthening effect, whereas in the other three
groups of identity, those factors had a mediating role which
strengthened the effect of the push-factor. Age, gender and education
alone clarified the effect of the push-factor. According to the results
summarised above, a young, educated man with classical entrepreneur
identity is least influenced by the push-factor and a young or
middle-aged man with a farmer identity is most influenced by the
push-factor in regard to his entrepreneurial intention. These results
bring in an important notion of the people and environment school on
entrepreneurship (Ronstadt, 1984). It seems that the extreme types of
entrepreneurship are not subject to the push-effect, and the 'right
stuff' argument holds firm, while the three other groups seem to
confirm the significance of the environmental push towards
Entrepreneurial identity seems to be quite a good determinant of
intentionality. As the psychological theories of identity development
clearly suggest, the development of human identity takes place during
the first years of life. When we think about the promotion of
entrepreneurship, the development of entrepreneurial identities becomes
one of most important areas of action. The education system as a whole
is in a key position in young people seeking their identity. However, it
is somewhat questionable, at least in Finland, whether our education
system promotes or inhibits the adoption of entrepreneurial identities.
Scales for measuring dissatisfaction with prevailing occupational
conditions The following questions have been divided into three groups
according to the current occupational status of the respondents. Choose
a) group 1, if you work as an employee
b) group 2, if you work as a farmer (this includes all forms of
c) group 3, if you have no employment at the moment (concerns the
jobless, students, etc.)
Choose an alternative depending on whether you
1) wholly disagree
2) disagree to some extent
3) neither agree nor disagree
4) agree to some extent
5) wholly agree
1. The following statements are intended for respondents who hold a
part-time or full-time job at present.
The threat of unemployment is in my case acute.
The relations between my employer and myself are badly exacerbated.
My present job does not offer me opportunities of promotion.
My present job is not challenging enough.
I am not satisfied with my present wage level.
I cannot carry out my ideas in my present job.
2. The following statements are intended for farmers and concern
the present situation in agriculture.
The income earned in agriculture is in my case extremely uncertain.
The income earned in agriculture is at present quite insufficient.
A traditional farm like mine gives few opportunities for
Agriculture no longer offers me enough challenges.
3. The following statements are intended for the unemployed, for
students and for others who do not at present go to work.
To get a job seems at the moment almost hopeless.
I am extremely dissatisfied with my present financial position.
I feel that my knowledge and skills are wasted in the present
I have energy but, being unemployed, cannot use it in any sensible
I feel I am useless in the present state of affairs.
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(1) The term 'entrepreneurial behaviour' here refers to
the pre-start-up and start-up periods of an entrepreneur's personal
and business-related development; especially strategic management
literature uses the term in the narrower sense of the strict
Schumpeterian interpretation with extreme innovativeness as the main
(2) Cluster centre is a Euclideian mean of variables (here factor
scores) of each cluster.
Jukka Vesalainen, University of Vaasa, Finland
Timo Pihkala, University of Vaasa, Finland
ROTATED FACTOR MATRIX OF ENTREPRENEURIAL IDENTITIES
Variable Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3
Internal Innovator .79
Internal Provision Earner .69
Internal Developer .75
Cooperative Entrepreneur .53
Network-Marketing Entrepreneur .66
Eigen Value 5.75 1.73 1.45
Variance Explained 30.3 9.1 7.7
Cumulative Variance 30.3 39.4 47.1
Only Loadings > .5 are Shown
Variable Factor 4 Factor 5 Comm
Internal Innovator .70
Internal Provision Earner .63
Internal Developer .67
Cooperative Entrepreneur .56
Network-Marketing Entrepreneur .49
Farmer .87 .81
Forestry Entrepreneur .89 .83
Craftsman .78 .63
Independent Professional .72 .66
Eigen Value 1.35 1.16
Variance Explained 7.1 6.1
Cumulative Variance 54.2 60.3
Only Loadings > .5 are Shown
A FIVE CLUSTER SOLUTION OF THE ENTREPRENEURIAL IDENTITIES OF THE SAMPLE
Cluster Number of Factor 1 Factor 2
1 98 -.52 -.29
2 81 -.76 -.32
3 102 1.30 -.02
4 88 -.32 .83
5 116 .07 -.15
Factor 1: Classical Identity
Factor 2: Intrapreneurial Identity
Factor 3: Custopreneurial Identity
Factor 4: Farmer Identity
Factor 5: Craftsman/Expert Identity
Cluster Factor 3 Factor 4 Factor 5
1 .00 1.24 .41
2 -.27 -.24 -1.31
3 -.32 .09 -.25
4 -.79 -.65 .59
5 1.07 -.48 .34
F 131.51; probability <.001
F 23.84; probability <.001
F 87.06; probability <.001
F 100.21; probability <.001
F 89.16; probability <.001
Attitudes and Personal Characteristics of Four entrepreneurial
and One Non-Entrepreneurial Identities
Variable 1 2 3 4 5
SYRIT 3.82 3.36 3.70 3.69 3.77
SKAPI 3.82 3.25 3.93 3.81 3.76
SPIEN 3.75 3.30 3.76 3.64 3.62
SRYHT 3.18 2.90 3.29 3.26 3.25
SKOGN 4.09 3.54 3.96 3.96 3.85
SEPAV 3.15 2.86 3.46 3.34 3.25
SSUOR 3.23 2.89 3.42 3.42 3.17
SELAH 3.11 2.89 3.35 3.35 3.18
SLUOV 3.23 2.83 3.44 3.44 3.17
SPROA 3.60 3.12 3.83 3.83 3.58
t-tests for Independent Samples
Variable 1-2 1-3 1-4 1-5 2-3
SYRIT *** ns ns ns ***
SKAPI *** ns ns ns ***
SPIEN *** ns ns ns ***
SRYHT ** ns ns ns ***
SKOGN *** ns ns *** ***
SEPAV ** *** ns ns ***
SSUOR *** ** ns ns ***
SELAH 0 ** ns ns ***
SLUOV *** ** ns ns ***
SPROA *** ** ns ns ***
t-tests for Independent Samples
Variable 2-4 2-5 3-4 3-5 4-5
SYRIT ** *** ns ns ns
SKAPI *** *** ns * ns
SPIEN *** *** ns ns ns
SRYHT *** *** ns ns ns
SKOGN *** ** ns ns ns
SEPAV *** *** ns ** ns
SSUOR *** *** ** *** ns
SELAH *** *** ns * ns
SLUOV *** *** ns *** ns
SPROA *** *** 0 *** ns
Variable Mean F
SYRIT 3.68 5.52
SKAPI 3.73 10.2
SPIEN 3.63 5.49
SRYHT 3.19 6.26
SKOGN 3.89 7.41
SEPAV 3.23 8.0
SSUOR 3.19 6.78
SELAH 3.17 5.16
SLUOV 3.21 10.5
SPROA 3.58 16.4
ns= not significant
SYRIT=Attitude Toward Entrepreneurs
SKAPI=Attitude Toward Capitalism
SPIEN=Attitude Toward Small Firms
SRYHT=Attitude Toward Starting a Business
SRYHT=Attitude Toward Starting a Business
SKGON=Cognitive Attitute Toward Enterpreneurship
SEPAV=Tolerance of Ambiquity
SELAH=Internal Locus of Control
Sub-Correlations (Spearman) between Intentionality and the Push-Factor
n [r.sup.2] p
Overall 443 .13 ***
Group n [r.sup.2] p
age 16-30 135 0.09 ns
age 31-45 200 0.26 **
age 46-60 104 0.16 **
low education 321 0.16 ***
high education 122 0.05 ns
men 227 0.17 **
women 209 0.08 ns
farmer 98 0.29 ***
** p<.05 *** p< 0.01
Group n [r.sup.2] p
age 16-30 18 .36 **
age 31-45 44 .37 **
age 46-60 30 .20 ns
low education 76 .30 **
high education 16 .12 ns
men 52 .40 **
women 39 .19 ns
age 16-30 32 -.18 ns
age 31-45 31 .16 ns
age 46-60 19 -.39 *
low education 62 -.03 ns
high education 27 -.09 ns
men 54 -.18 ns
women 34 .05 ns
age 16-30 41 .28 *
age 31-45 45 .02 ns
age 46-60 16 .28 ns
low education 74 .26 **
high education 28 -.11 ns
men 43 .32 **
women 59 .03 ns
age 16-30 27 -.02 ns
age 31-45 35 .25 ns
age 46-60 17 .40 ns
low education 57 .25 *
high education 26 -.01 ns
men 46 .31 **
women 33 -.08 ns
age 16-30 18 .23 ns
age 31-45 39 -.19 ns
age 46-60 20 .39 *
low education 52 .03 ns
high education 25 .07 ns
men 52 .40 **
women 39 .19 ns