Entrepreneurial identity, intentions and the effect of the push-factor.
The research on entrepreneurship has for long been trying to find personality characteristics which could serve to explain business start-up. Often these studies have, however, been looking for only one stereotypical character, the classical entrepreneur, and contrasted this character with the non-entrepreneurial counterpart.

This study focuses on the process of business start-up, and more precisely on the pre-startup phase, where people's self-conceptions, intentions and eventual need to find alternative career-options have the most central effect on the start-up decision. Our study aims to show that there actually exist more than these two extreme types of identities in the entrepreneurial-non-entrepreneurial continuum. We also look for the relationships between entrepreneurial identities, the start-up intention and the environmental push into entrepreneurship.

The findings suggest that there indeed exist more than one or two entrepreneurial identities. Beside the classical entrepreneur identity, we found also farmer, intrapreneur and custopreneurial identities. Furthermore, the results suggest that these identities function as important intermediaries in the pre-start-up phase of the entrepreneurial process. For example, the effect of push-factors seems more compelling people having farmer identities, whilst people with classical entrepreneur identities do not seem to react in any significant way.

The main interest of this study is in finding that the entrepreneurial identity has such a strong effect on the entrepreneurial process. The environmental pressure or subjective compulsion to choose an entrepreneurial career option does not relate to classical entrepreneurship nor to totally non-entrepreneurial people, but to those in between who have doubts about their usefulness, needs, attitudes and competencies for entrepreneurship. However, the positive value base for entrepreneurship is essential for the development of an entrepreneurial identity. The development of one's identity is formed during the early years as a human being, and, therefore, the study points to the importance of supporting the development of a positive value base.

Article Type:
Business schools (Study and teaching)
Entrepreneurship (Analysis)
Businesspeople (Evaluation)
Entrepreneurship (Evaluation)
Vesalainen, Jukka
Pihkala, Timo
Pub Date:
Name: Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal Publisher: The DreamCatchers Group, LLC Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, general Copyright: COPYRIGHT 1999 The DreamCatchers Group, LLC ISSN: 1087-9595
Date: July, 1999 Source Volume: 5 Source Issue: 2
Product Code: 8244000 Business & Secretarial Schools NAICS Code: 61141 Business and Secretarial Schools SIC Code: 8244 Business and secretarial schools
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number:
Full Text:

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.


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 career.

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 follows:

"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 opportunities."

Churchill (1983) defines the start-up-stage in three different sub-stages:

"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).


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 intentions.


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 alternatives.

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.


This research report focuses on four questions:

(1) How common are different entrepreneurial identities in a population,

(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, and

(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 base population.


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 personal characteristics.

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 and experience.

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.


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 intrapreneurial identity.

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, 1996).

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 entrepreneurship dominate.

Farmer identity, where both farmer identity and forestry entrepreneur identity are the most characteristic features.

Craftsman identity, which is characterised by craftsmanship and independent professionalism.

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).


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 conditions.

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 futile.

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 behaviour.

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 agricultural work)

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 development.

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 situation.

I have energy but, being unemployed, cannot use it in any sensible manner.

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 content.

(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


Variable                         Factor 1   Factor 2   Factor 3

Businessman                           .70
Inventor-Intrepreneur                 .58
Owner-Manager                         .80
Scientist-Entrepreneur                .65
Expert                                .62
Internal Innovator                               .79
Internal Provision Earner                        .69
Internal Developer                               .75
Franchisee                                                  .83
Cooperative Entrepreneur                                    .53
Network-Marketing Entrepreneur                              .66
Forestry Entrepreneur
Independent Professional
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

Businessman                                            .59
Inventor-Intrepreneur                                  .58
Owner-Manager                                          .71
Scientist-Entrepreneur                                 .55
Expert                                                 .52
Internal Innovator                                     .70
Internal Provision Earner                              .63
Internal Developer                                     .67
Franchisee                                             .72
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



Cluster   Number of   Factor 1   Factor 2
Number     Persons

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

*** p<.01

** p<.05

* p<.10

ns= not significant

1=Farmer Identity

2=Non-Entrepreneurial Identity

3=Classical Identity

4=Intrapreneurial Identity

5=Custopreneurial Identity

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

Overall Level

          n     [r.sup.2]   p

Overall   443   .13         ***

            * p<.10

   Second Level

   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

   Third Level

   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
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