Exploring entrepreneurial attitudes towards change throughout the development of the start-up project
Many authors (refer: Swayne and Tucker, 1973; Kahneman and Lovallo, 1994; Baron, 1998; Stewart et al., 1998; Simon et al., 1999; Simon and Houghton, 2003; Baum and Lock, 2004; Mathews, 2008) have examined the traits and skills of the entrepreneur. Others have been more interested in their behaviors (refer: Bhave, 1994; Byers et al., 1997; Sarasvathy, 2001; Shook et al., 2003; Baron, 2007; Davidsson, 2008), trying to describe the entrepreneurial processes on the initial stages of venture development. However, studies that try to define how an entrepreneur reacts when facing changes have not been found in the literature. The focus of this research is thus, to explore the attitude of the entrepreneur towards changes throughout the development of the start-up project.
The theoretical background is divided into three main parts: the entrepreneurial attitude, the attitude towards change, and the relation between perceptions of organizational climate and attitudes. The first section reviews the literature about the traits and behaviors that define an entrepreneur. The second section concentrates on research papers concerning the attitude towards change for middle managers in well-established firms. Finally, the third section, through a review of the relevant literature, emphasizes the importance of the impact of the working environment perception on people’s attitude towards work.
The approach of this qualitative study is inductive at first, but also incorporates a deductive approach during the data analysis using a grounded theory method. The data were gathered through seven semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs from Cyprus, India, Mexico, United Kingdom, and Sweden.
The outcome of the present study is a model emphasizing the main results of the research. It presents three main reasons (interest/work experience in the business area, definition of the gap in the market, and desire to create) that lead to the decision to initiate the project. The market and future perception, as they have an impact on the actual start of the process, are presented and discussed as well. Concerning the attitude towards changes occurring during the process, four different reactions have been found to be relevant (adaptation, search for assistance, determination/commitment, and passion/persistence). Furthermore, the help provided by the learning experience, the social networking, and the future planning to overcome changes were also identified. Finally, the perception by the entrepreneur of the change and the overall process are explained.
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