Growth Ambition as a Function of Entrepreneurial Perceptions and Motivation


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This paper examines whether entrepreneurs seeking growth for their ventures have different expectancies relative to other entrepreneurs. More specifically, this research explores the relationship of entrepreneurs’ opportunity motivations and their perceptions about developing innovative products and market reach to entrepreneurial growth ambitions. We hypothesized that entrepreneurs with opportunity motivation to increase income, or independence are more likely to have high job growth ambitions than those who either want to maintain income or started out of necessity. Similarly, entrepreneurs who perceived they have innovative products or services that display market newness or competitive uniqueness, and those perceiving their opportunities have international intensity are more likely to have higher growth ambitions. We used data from entrepreneurs participating in the 2011-2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor survey in the United States to test our hypotheses and found all our hypothesized relationships were positive and statistically significant. These results, except one, were also upheld for the 2009-2010 under very different economic conditions and thus suggest the robustness of our results. Previous research has examined the relationship of human or social capital and institutional factors to growth. Our research shows that part of this story needs to include how motivations and perceptions about opportunities matter in the willingness of entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Our results also have implications for policy makers. Simply encouraging people to start business is not good enough, resources should be directed toward identifying individuals that believe they have a high potential opportunity to start business and are motivated to achieve that potential.

Academic Division



Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations | Marketing

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