Experience, Skills and Intentions of Entrepreneurs towards Social Innovation


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Experience, Skills and Intentions of Entrepreneurs towards Social Innovation

  1. 1. Experience, Skills and Intentions of Social Entrepreneurs towards Innovation Jan SPRUIJTa,b,1 a Academy of Marketing, Avans University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlandsb Professorship of Innovative Entrepreneurship, Avans University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands Abstract. This study draws upon social entrepreneurship as a rapidly growing field of interest. The rationale is to find out what part of social entrepreneurship can be learned and what part is based on personality. Results indicate that social entrepreneurs are just like most entrepreneurs in their experience and skills. The difference lies in the fact that social entrepreneurs seem to be more introverted and less organized. They differ widely in their intentions, especially in their drive to be innovative. The intentions of social entrepreneurs are strongly linked to innovativeness, creativeness and visionary factors. However, extroverted, intuitive and open-minded social entrepreneurs are more likely to possess those skills and intentions. Keywords. Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, Personality, Innovation, Creativity, Management.IntroductionThis article indicates preliminary results of an empirical study on personality traits ofsocial entrepreneurs. As characterized by Bill Drayton, CEO and founder of Ashoka, anon-profit organization aiming to develop social entrepreneurship, “socialentrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not restuntil they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” The term has been introduced byPrahalad who wrote that two third of the world population is living at “the bottom ofthe pyramid” and that this group is large enough to be able to gain the attention ofentrepreneurs that also value social impact besides economic growth (Prahalad, 2006).There is much debate about the definition of social entrepreneurship - isn’t everyentrepreneur trying to be socially impactful in a way? - however most of them seem tolink entrepreneurship to the capability of having a social vision or particular aim (Low& MacMillan, 1988; Mair & Martí, 2005). Mair & Martí distinguished three differentmovements amongst scholars, according to which social entrepreneurship is: 1. aiming at not-for-profit initiatives to create social value, 2. a commercial business sector aiming at socially responsible practice and 3. a means to address social problems and accelerate social transformations. 1 Corresponding author: Jan Spruijt, Avans University of Applied Sciences, Onderwijsboulevard 215,5223 DE ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; E-mail: jp.spruijt@avans.nl
  2. 2. In contrast with theoretical definitions, NGO’s and not-for-profit organizations areoften included in the definition. Therefore, the rationale for social enterprises istwofold (OECD, 2012): 1. They deliver service in a participatory nature, engaging in communities – its stakeholders – and pioneering leading towards social cohesion and 2. Strive for social inclusion through workforce integration of marginalized people eg. long term unemployed, disabled, homeless and/or minorities. In an earlier article I proposed the following definition of social entrepreneurship:Social entrepreneurship is the process of pursuing opportunities to deliver new andinnovative products or services leading towards social cohesion and social inclusion. Social entrepreneurship has seen rapid growth during recent years. The context fordoing business gradually changed from being in a static state towards a more dynamicstate. Greiner points out the following trends in organizational contexts: the transitionfrom domestic and static economies towards global and dynamic economies, fromhomogenous, experienced and permanent workforces towards diverse, educated andflexible workforces, from the use routine technologies and mass production towardscomplex and knowledge-driven technologies and customization and from bureaucratic,efficiency-driven organizations towards organic and innovation-driven organizations(Greiner & Cummings, 2004). The latter – innovation-driven organizations – seems of particular interest whenviewing social entrepreneurship from a future-oriented perspective. The earlydefinitions of innovation focus on profit-driven new products resulting in economicgrowth (Schumpeter, 1994). Innovation is one of the most important success factorswhen it comes to entrepreneurship (Levie & Lichtenstein, 2010). Impactful innovation,as an alternative to the inconsistently used term social innovation, could therefore beput forward as one of the main success factors for social entrepreneurship. Recentliterature points out that when the motivating driver is changed, the same principlesstill apply (Bessant & Tidd, 2007) . This means that sometimes the rationale forinnovation is not economic growth but the desire of making a difference in society. According to Schilling, innovation is: “The act of introducing a new device,method or material for application to commercial or practical objectives” (Schilling,2005). Early literature mostly described product innovation as part of a product lifecycle with accompanying segments (Levitt, 1965; Perreault, McCarthy, Parkinson, &Stewart, 2000; Rogers, 1995). The art of innovating – the continuous process ofinnovation – became part of a new era of business: innovation management: the aim tomake the chance of successful technological and commercial innovation as large aspossible (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1997; Schilling, 2005). Many scholars have tried to identify phases or stages of innovation processes,resulting in the following stages of innovation: market research, idea generation,conceptual and technological development and commercialization (Gopalakrishnan &Damanpour, 1997; Ortigueira, 2008; Verhaeghe & Kfir, 2002), see table 1.
  3. 3. Table 1: Overview of different models for innovation(Gopalakrishnan (Adams, Bessant, (Goffin & (Verhaeghe & (Rothwell, 1992)& Damanpour, & Phelps, 2006) Pfeiffer, 1999) Kfir, 2002)1997) InputsIdea Generation Knowledge Creativity Idea Generation Idea GenerationProject Definition management Human Resources Technology AcquisitionProblem Solving Strategy Innovation Networking StrategyDesign and Project Portfolio Development Developing,development management Management prototyping & manufacturingMarketing and Commer- Project Commer- Marketing &commer- cialization management cialization Salescialization Over the years, the context of innovation has changed rapidly, which hadconsequences on the methods and techniques used to address the above-mentionedphases (Chesbrough, 2003; Rothwell, 1992). Table 2: Overview of innovation processes in different contexts Market Research Idea Generation Conceptual Commer- Development cialisation Technology Push Fundamental Technical Design Production Sales Science Market Pull Customer Developments Production Marketing & Requirements Sales Integrated Market Research Idea Generation Research & Marketing & Innovation Development Sales Open Innovation Market & Trend External Idea Open and Marketing & Research Generation Cooperative Sales Development Impactful Social (Media) Crowdsourcing Open Shared Business Innovation Research Development and Models, Co-Creation Participative Models In almost two third of the more than 1500 citations to Greiner’s model forentrepreneurial phases, personalities are discussed and linked to growth (Levie &Lichtenstein, 2010). Innovation is in 19% of the citations topic of subject. In general, itcould be stated that entrepreneurial success is significantly linked to the personalcharacteristics of entrepreneurs (Baum & Locke, 2004; Crane & Matten, 2007; Greiner,1972, 1998; Low & MacMillan, 1988; Ven & Poole, 1995). Seeking for a correlationbetween the two, many scholars have used the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator, mostsignificantly by Carland and Reynierse. Scholars have also found evidence for theimpact of for instance the Big Five personality types (Begley & Boyd, 1987; Koe HweeNga & Shamuganathan, 2010; Ortigueira, 2008; Singh & DeNoble, 2003; Van Ryzin,Grossman, DiPadova-Stocks, & Bergrud, 2009; Zhao, Seibert, & Lumpkin, 2010) andfactors as entrepreneurial vision, intentionality, psychology.
  4. 4. 1.1. Purpose, Originality and RelevancyThe aim of this study is to find preliminary results for the relation between personalitytypes, social entrepreneurship and the impact that learning and personal developmenthave on that relationship. This article is original in the fact that it provides first results on the possibilities foreducating and training for social entrepreneurship and social responsibility. The results.This would be relevant for educational facilities, students and lecturers in the first place.Moreover, as the results of this study only scratch the surface of possible implications,they could guide other scholars to further develop hypotheses and evidence for learningin social entrepreneurship. Besides that, organizations and institutions willing toemploy social entrepreneurs or socially-oriented managers, could find it useful to usepersonality indexing techniques to screen and select candidates. Lastly, it would beuseful for educational institutions who tutor and coach their students to prepare themfor roles in social organizations.1.2. Research QuestionsThe research model has been drawn upon the theory that personal development takesplace at several logical levels (Bateson, 1972) and that three of them are relevant tofind evidence for personal development amongst social entrepreneurs: - Experience (Knowledge, Capital) – first level of learning - Skills – second level of learning - Intentions – third level of learningThese levels have been linked to social entrepreneurship and the impact on socialparticipation (Collins & Ison, 2009). Experience Skills Intentions Characteristics Social Entrepreneurship Figure 1: Research modelThe abovementioned research model has led to the following hypotheses for this study: - H0: there is a correlation between personality types according to the MBTI- scale of the sample group and social entrepreneurship. - H1: H0 is influenced by the rate of experience of social entrepreneurs. - H2: H0 is influenced by the amount of skills of social entrepreneurs. - H3: H0 is influenced by the intentions of social entrepreneurs.1.3. Research Design and MethodologyMBTI is a methodology for characterizing personalities (Jung, 1971; Jung, Baynes, &Hull, 1991; Keirsey & Bates, 1998). Myers & Briggs elaborated on this model andproposed certain combination of types. They introduced a measurement tool (Myers,
  5. 5. 1962), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). The indicator gives scores on fourpersonality traits: • Attitude to outer world: Extraversion (E) vs. Introversion (I) • Function to gathering information: Sensing (S) vs. Intuition (N) • Function to decision making: Thinking (T) vs. Feeling (F) • Attitude to organizing life: Judging (J) vs. Perception (P) Myers and Briggs advocate that everyone has a preference for one of the twoextremes and that it is not possible to be ‘somewhere in the middle’. Comparing known data samples of entrepreneurial characteristics and populationaverages, it was possible to sketch percentages of personality types that are over-represented among entrepreneurs in comparison with the average population.Entrepreneurs are mostly found amongst the NT cognitive dimension and to someextent to ST and NF people (J. Carland & Carland, 1992; Tieger & Barron-Tieger,2000). In order to study the hypotheses mentioned above, this article uses the MBTI as anindicator for personality, knowing that other personality indicators, such as Big Fivewould preferably also be included in the analysis. The sample group consisted of 78people, however 23 of them were excluded from the analysis because of invalid data orinconsistent data. The survey consisted of two parts, both held independently from eachother to increase validity. Interaction of the two could have caused interferencebetween the (description of) personality types and the factors taken into account. Theusers were anonymized but coupled through an identification number. Results were then analyzed by factor analysis to exclude irrelevant questions andto group together certain factors. This way, four (invisible present) factors were derivedand taken into account in the foregoing analysis. Correlation is analyzed through singleregression analysis and all indicators are depicted as Pearson’s R, which – in the caseof single regression analysis – coincides with the standard regression coefficient (β)which is used in other studies to increase the comparableness of studies and thereforethe conclusions of this sample group. The group characteristics: Table 3: Group characteristicsCharacteristic Sample Sample sizeEducational level BSc: 31 N=53 MSc: 15 PhD: 1 Other: 6Age Average: 23,1 years N=55Country of residence Spain: 6 N=53 Hungary: 7 Netherlands: 4 France: 10 Italy: 5 Poland: 3 Germany: 7 Belgium: 6 Romania: 5
  6. 6. 2. Results2.1. MBTI and Social Entrepreneurship (H0)The following table shows the distribution of the MBTI indicators among the samplegroup: Table 4: MBTI of sample groupCharacteristic Percentile Sample sizeExtroversion - introversion 0,509 – 0,491 N=55Sensing - intuition 0,654 – 0,346 N=55Thinking - feeling 0,454 – 0,546 N=55Judging - perceiving 0,672 – 0,328 N=55 A few sample studies have tried to score “key values” of entrepreneurs, relatingthem with MBTI and thus building a relation between social entrepreneurship andMBTI. Reynierse et al. show evidence that a sample population consisting of 122entrepreneurs, inventors, managers, administrators, small business owners and MBAstudents sharing social characteristics such as “Social Responsibility” – and thereforeassumed to be social entrepreneurs within the definition provided before - are strongerthan average correlated to Introversion and Feeling, suggesting “the joint contributionof internalized reflection and personal, subjective values that extend beyond theimmediate business relationship.” Reynierse didn’t find any evidence for the S-N aspects, so it would be reasonableto suggest that social entrepreneurs are, like entrepreneurs, strongly distributed towardsthe N (as compared to the total population). In contrary with entrepreneurs, who are ingeneral over-represented in the NT temperament, social entrepreneurs are over-represented in the NF temperament. Both entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs have astronger tendency towards the J (judging) way of organizing life. Table 5: Overview of different sample studies on MBTISource Characteristic Extro- Sensing Thin- Judging Data version- -Intui- king- -Per- Intro- tion Feeling ceiving versionMyers et al (Myers e.a., Total Population 0.7% -23.2% 9.8% -4.1% --1985)Huefner et al.; Carland Entrepreneurs -9.3% 3.9% -3.7% 1.6% N=430et al. (J. A. Carland e.a.,1996; Huefner e.a.,1996)Reynierse et al. Social 19.8% - 31.8% - N=122(Reynierse e.a., 2000) Responsibility Community 20.8% - 33.3% - N=122 Relations People Emphasis 21.3% N=122This study -0.9% -15.6% 4.6% -17.2% N=55
  7. 7. Our sample indeed supports the fact that social entrepreneurs are – more thanaverage – intuitive, however the sample size is much less intuitive than entrepreneursin general. Also, the fact that social entrepreneurs are stronger related to the feelingspectrum is supported. Moreover, also the fact that social entrepreneurs are moreintroverted than entrepreneurs in general is supported by the sample group. On thejudging-perceiving indicator, this study has found a strong relation to the judgingspectrum, which doesn’t support earlier findings.2.2. Innovative factorsFor each of the three dimensions – experience, skills and intentions – this study hastaken into account 15 different factors identifying the amount of innovation that socialentrepreneurs seek for. The following table shows a factor analysis of these differentfactors. This results in the following groups of factors: • Managerial factors: management, coordination, leadership, communication and problem-solving • Entrepreneurial factors: entrepreneurship, impulsiveness, result-orientation and networking • Innovative factors: visionary, creativeness and innovativeness • Commercial factors: commerciality, collaboration and socially-oriented On the next page the factor analysis and the frequency table have been depicted. Itis clear that the current skills and experience of the sample group is most developed inmanagerial and commercial factors. It doesn’t seem surprising, most education isoriented towards these fields. Entrepreneurial and innovative factors show lessexperience and skills, but especially the innovative factors show the largest gapbetween skills and intentions. This group of factors is clearly underdeveloped in currenteducation and training, but very much wanted. However, it seems contradictory thatentrepreneurial factors aren’t much intentioned. The factor impulsiveness is completelydropped in the analysis.
  8. 8. Table 6: Factor analysis Component Analysis (Skills) Component Analy- Component Analysis sis (Experience) (Intentions)factor 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 1 2 3 4Entrepreneurship ,592 ,019 ,543 -,228 -,002 ,663 -,422 ,028 ,525 ,403 ,188 ,320Management ,640 -,236 -,075 -,443 -,213 ,645 -,519 -,113 ,765 -,116 ,375 ,007Coordination ,645 -,229 ,002 -,212 -,459 ,731 -,280 -,012 ,781 -,255 -,059 ,030Impulsiveness ,236 ,390 ,587 -,081 -,290 ,326 -,628 ,238 ,224 ,546 ,055 ,598Visionary ,382 ,570 ,261 ,115 ,525 ,692 ,138 ,410 ,594 ,445 -,369 ,142Leadership ,706 ,212 -,006 -,386 ,121 ,630 ,008 ,130 ,762 ,103 ,058 ,244Creativeness ,610 ,513 -,315 ,104 -,068 ,602 ,321 ,578 ,547 ,527 -,096 -,476Innovativeness ,567 ,460 -,330 ,160 -,148 ,610 ,175 ,438 ,636 ,399 -,058 -,263Commerciality ,397 ,059 ,037 ,584 -,338 ,497 -,126 ,155 ,358 -,148 ,432 -,076Socially-oriented ,547 -,210 ,129 ,335 ,230 ,685 ,061 -,157 ,307 -,204 ,516 ,178Communication ,810 -,024 ,159 ,192 -,185 ,667 ,450 -,071 ,773 -,077 -,175 -,186Collaboration ,582 -,525 -,007 ,413 ,019 ,341 ,657 -,075 ,764 -,122 ,100 -,241Result-oriented ,607 -,066 -,470 ,013 ,221 ,655 ,066 -,477 ,362 -,530 -,371 ,399Problem-solving ,695 -,148 -,373 -,259 ,237 ,657 -,045 -,475 ,649 -,409 -,466 ,046Networking ,502 -,372 ,409 ,021 ,377 ,533 ,200 -,502 ,553 -,371 ,172 -,086 Extraction Method: Principal Component Analysis. Main factor above 0.60, other factors above 0.40 Table 7: Averages and standard deviation Experience Skills Intention Average σ Average σ Average σManagerial factorsManagement 5,7 1,96 7,0 1,37 8,0 1,72Coordination 6,3 1,82 7,1 1,56 8,0 1,52Leadership 6,6 2,03 7,0 1,95 8,0 1,69Communication 7,4 1,62 7,5 1,72 8,7 1,22Problem 7,0 1,76 7,5 1,63 8,8 1,16Totals 6,6 7,2 8,3Entrepreneural factorsEntrepreneurship 5,0 2,16 5,9 1,45 7,4 1,75Impulsiveness 5,4 2,31 5,6 2,20 5,9 1,97Result 6,7 1,92 7,2 1,57 8,1 1,43Networking 7,0 1,82 7,2 1,80 8,3 1,53Totals 6,0 6,5 7,4Innovative factorsVisionary 5,5 1,99 6,3 1,92 7,6 1,58Creativeness 6,6 2,20 6,9 1,93 8,3 1,43Innovativeness 6,0 2,13 6,7 1,77 8,1 1,31Totals 6,0 6,6 8,0Commercial factorsCommerciality 6,0 1,98 6,9 1,65 7,7 1,60Social 6,5 2,13 6,8 1,84 7,8 1,62Collaboration 7,6 1,52 7,4 1,57 8,5 1,46Totals 6,7 7,0 8,0
  9. 9. 2.3. Experience as a moderating factor for social entrepreneurship (H1)From the factor analysis it became clear that analysis on the results of this group offactors isn’t particularly clear. Probably, respondents understood different meanings ofexperience and the results are less likely to be valid. The following table indicatescorrelations based on Pearson’s R with a p-value lower than 0.2. We can see clearlythat experience within managerial factors under social entrepreneurs is linked towardsintroversion, sensing and judging. This is related to earlier findings which argue thatmanagers are more introverted, more sensing, more feeling – not supported by thissample - and more judging than entrepreneurs (Carland and Carland, 1992; Huefner etal, 1996). Also the entrepreneurial factors show clear correlation to past experience. They arelinked to introversion, intuition, thinking and judging. The middle two are supported byearlier literature on entrepreneurial characteristics. However, the first (introversion) andthe last (judging) aren’t supported and could therefore indicate the main differencebetween social entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs. Table 8: Correlation between experience and factors E-I S-N T-F J-P R р R р R р R рManagerial factorsManagement 0,28 0,035Coordination 0,22 0,102Communication -0,21 0,126Problem-solving -0,32 0,016 0,25 0,064Entrepreneurial factorsEntrepreneurship -0,21 0,117Result-oriented -0,23 0,083 0,34 0,011Networking 0,17 0,196Commercial factorsCommerciality -0,31 0,0222.4. Skills as a moderating factor in social entrepreneurship (H2)Current entrepreneurial and innovative skills are an important predictor for futuresuccess of the organization (Greiner, 2004, Carland et al, 1996). This study seems tosupport that idea as the correlations between all four factor groups and most of thepersonality characteristics are strong. The table shows a relationship betweenmanagerial factors and introversion, sensing and thinking. This is in line with foregoingdiscussion, which showed the same correlations with experience. The correlation withthinking is not obvious, as earlier studies indicate that social entrepreneurs, in contraryto entrepreneurs in general, are more feeling-like. This could possibly indicate that theyhave the intention to base their decision more on feeling, but that there current skill setand educational training doesn’t give them a good base for that. Also, the
  10. 10. entrepreneurial factors are linked to more characteristics: sensing, thinking and judging.Again, the results of this study on sensing-intuition skills don’t relate with earlierfindings (Carland and Carland, 1992; Huefner et al. 1996), but could have the samereason as mentioned before. What wasn’t expressed in past experience, is slightlyvisible in current skills: a relationship between innovative factors and thecharacteristics of social entrepreneurs. There seems to be a correlation betweeninnovative skills and extroversion and perceiving typologies. Commercialcharacteristics are strongly related to sensing types. Table 9: Correlation between skills and factors E-I S-N T-F J-P R р R р R р R рManagerial factorsManagement 0,22 0,113 0,34 0,012Coordination 0,21 0,129Leadership 0,23 0,096Problem-solving -0,21 0,127 0,34 0,01Entrepreneurial factorsResult-oriented 0,23 0,084 0,24 0,078Networking 0,26 0,056Innovative factorsVisionary -0,20 0,146Innovativeness 0,22 0,104Commercial factorsCollaboration 0,42 0,002 0,20 0,142Commerciality 0,26 0,0522.5. Intentions as a moderating factor in social entrepreneurship (H3)There is a large gap between the results of the former two items (experience, skills) andthe intentions of social entrepreneurs. The sample group is very strong correlated to thefactor group innovative intentions. These factors are related to all aspects of the MBTI:social entrepreneurs with innovative intentions are correlated with extroversion,intuition, thinking and perceiving. This is supported by earlier findings on innovationand risk-taking characteristics in combination with MBTI (Carland et al, 1996). More Table 10: Correlation between intentions and factors E-I S-N T-F J-P R р R р R р R рManagerial factorsManagement 0,20 0,137 0,28 0,04Leadership -0,21 0,132Communication -0,18 0,197Entrepreneurial factorsEntrepreneurship 0,24 0,081 -0,18 0,184Result-oriented 0,344 0,01Networking 0,25 0,066Innovative factorsVisionary -0,32 0,019 -0,26 0,054Innovativeness 0,22 0,103 0,21 0,13 -0,28 0,039Creativeness -0,21 0,123 -0,19 0,154Commercial factorsSocially-oriented -0,20 0,144Commerciality 0,26 0,055
  11. 11. research into this topic has been done in combination with the Big Five analysis. Zhaoet al (Zhao et al., 2010) show that innovation is linked to openness to experience andagreeableness, which are – in MBTI terms – correlated with intuition, feeling andperceiving (Halversen and Tirmizi, 2008). Next to these, it is also interesting to see thatamongst both managerial and entrepreneurial factors the sample is less unambiguous.This could mean that some of the factors are interpreted as important factors whenrelating to intentions to innovation, such as leadership and entrepreneurship, but otherfactors aren’t, such as management, communication and networking.3. ConclusionsAll hypotheses are supported. Results indicate that social entrepreneurs are just likemost entrepreneurs in their experience and skills. The difference lies in the fact thatsocial entrepreneurs seem to be more introverted and less organized. They differ widelyin their intentioned, especially in their drive to be innovative. The intentions of socialentrepreneurs are strongly linked to innovativeness, creativeness and visionary factors.However, extroverted, intuitive and open-minded social entrepreneurs are more likelyto possess those skills and intentions. For this reason, it could be concluded that there seems to be a large gap betweenthe current experience and skills of social entrepreneurs and the future intentions ofsocial entrepreneurs. Firstly, the people who are social entrepreneurs don’t seem tohave the intention to be one and those who aren’t, seem to have the intention to becomeone. This sounds reasonable. Another important conclusion is that innovative skills andexperience aren’t correlated to social entrepreneurs, while their intentions are. To bemore concrete: social entrepreneurs have the intention to develop their skills andexperience on innovativeness, creativeness and vision, while exactly these factors seemto be less addressed in current education and training as the sample group mostlyconsists of highly educated people.
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