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.
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 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.
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.
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
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