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Motivational foundations of identifying and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities

Thomas K. Maran (University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria) (LeadershipWerk, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Anna K. Bachmann (Institute of Entrepreneurship, University of Leichtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Christine Mohr (UMIT, Hall, Austria)
Theo Ravet-Brown (Institute of Entrepreneurship, University of Leichtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Lukas Vogelauer (Institute of Entrepreneurship, University of Leichtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)
Marco Furtner (Institute of Entrepreneurship, University of Leichtenstein, Vaduz, Liechtenstein)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 12 March 2021

Issue publication date: 27 May 2021

561

Abstract

Purpose

Motivation can serve as the engine that turns intention into action, and, as such, is indispensable in the early phase of the entrepreneurial process, where opportunity recognition and exploitation are key. However, research in this area has so far shed a selective spotlight on specific facets of entrepreneurial motivation, whereas the consideration of basic motives has been widely neglected. Hence, the purpose of this paper is to illuminate the basic motivational foundations of one core aspect of entrepreneurial behavior, namely opportunity recognition.

Design/methodology/approach

The study examined how motivation influences the process of recognizing and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities in a sample of 312 managing directors and managing partners of small and medium-sized enterprises. Opportunity recognition and exploitation were assessed by two different measures: one evaluating the objective number of recognized and realized business opportunities, the other assessing the perceived proficiency in identifying and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities. Implicit and explicit facets of basic motivation were measured using a comprehensive assessment of human needs.

Findings

Findings show that entrepreneurs' achievement motive is an important driver in both the identification and exploitation of opportunity. The power motive affects the perceived ability to exploit business opportunities. Interestingly, the explicit affiliation motive showed an inhibitory effect on the perceived ability of opportunity identification, whereas implicit affiliation motive is affecting the number of recognized and realized business opportunities positively.

Originality/value

This research clearly highlights the preeminence of basic motivational factors in explaining individual early-stage entrepreneurial behavior, making them a prime target for training interventions.

Keywords

Citation

Maran, T.K., Bachmann, A.K., Mohr, C., Ravet-Brown, T., Vogelauer, L. and Furtner, M. (2021), "Motivational foundations of identifying and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 1054-1081. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-05-2020-0291

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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