Entrepreneurial orientation: A psychological model of success among southern African small business owners

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This study examines the relationship of the psychological construct Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) with business success in a sample of N = 248 southern African business owners. We reintroduce the individual in EO research and show the importance of the person of the entrepreneur for business performance: Hierarchical regression analyses revealed significant relationships between EO components (personal initiative, achievement-, and risk-taking orientation) as well as overall EO and business performance. In addition, confirmatory factor analysis supported a single factor construct of EO that consists of learning, achievement, and autonomy orientation, competitive aggressiveness, innovative and risk-taking orientation, and of personal initiative. In this study, we develop an individual-based psychological concept of Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) and investigate the relationship between business owners' EO and business performance in southern Africa. EO has primarily been discussed from a firm-level perspective (e.g., Covin & Slevin, 1991; Lumpkin & Dess, 1996). It characterized businesses in their early years and was found to be important for firm success. In contrast, we apply a psychological approach with EO as an interindividual difference variable. Thus, our focus is the business owner and the general relationship between individual EO and performance of southern African small business owners.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)315-344
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 09.2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

We gratefully acknowledge the funding of this research through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Community, project no.: FR 638/13-1). We would also like to thank Human Resources (Pvt.) Ltd., Klaus Martin Nickel, Susanne Escher, and Rafal Grabarkiewicz who were all of help in collecting the data. Christian Friedrich is now at the Department of Management, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa.

Stefanie I. Krauss is now working for AUDI AG Organization & Information Management, Ingolstadt, Germany.