By Ruba Qaqish
“The entrepreneur,” said French economist Jean-Baptiste Say around 1800, “shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.”
For a long time, entrepreneurship scholars have been searching for individual characteristics that are unique to entrepreneurs. They have found that entrepreneurs have a special type of curiosity.
Entrepreneurial curiosity is a positive motivational system oriented toward investigating the entrepreneurial environment to learn tasks related to entrepreneurship and to incorporate new experiences to improve business. Entrepreneurial curiosity is an aroused emotional state that occurs after an entrepreneur is confronted with a novel, complex, or ambiguous stimulus. Curiosity allows the entrepreneur to find new opportunities and expand business – it’s a powerful generator of business ideas.
Recent studies have suggested that exceptional entrepreneurial achievement happens when this entrepreneurial curiosity is coupled with another entrepreneurial trait – self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their personal ability to accomplish a job or a specific set of tasks. It affects performance through interest, motivation, and perseverance. Individuals with higher levels of self-efficacy believe they have what it takes to successfully engage in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial self-efficacy thus refers to the strength of an individual’s belief that he or she can successfully perform the roles and tasks of an entrepreneur.
Research indicates that entrepreneurial curiosity is engaged when an entrepreneur is facing different stimuli related to entrepreneurship in their environment, while self-efficacy explains human behaviour that influences the determination of an individual’s choice and perseverance. Studies conclude that these concepts are two of the most important determinants of the success of entrepreneurs.
Since entrepreneurial curiosity is about exploring new things that could create additional profit and about company improvements, it is clear that without entrepreneurial curiosity, entrepreneurial self-efficacy alone cannot motivate entrepreneurs to create good entrepreneurial results.
Self-efficacy predicts such important work-related outcomes as job attitudes, training proficiency, and job performance. Entrepreneurial curiosity deals with discovering markets, distinguishing market niches, and delving into entrepreneurship matters, so entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurial curiosity together motivate individuals to invest time in entrepreneurial tasks and to optimize working time to create good results. Together, these two related traits establish a platform for the optimal decision-making of entrepreneurs for their enterprises. The higher the level of entrepreneurial curiosity and entrepreneurial self-efficacy an entrepreneur has, the better the results.
From a wider perspective, with these entrepreneurial characteristics defined, there is an opportunity to identify individuals with higher levels of these traits and to provide them with an entrepreneur-friendly climate to start their own ventures. In bigger organizations, managers can test employees to identify entrepreneurial individuals and stimulate them to become active in entrepreneurship.
- Mitja Jeraj and Miha Marič. Entrepreneurial Curiosity – The New Construct, conference presentation. International Conference on Organizational Science Development, 2013. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273137840_Entrepreneurial_Curiosity_-_The_New_Construct
- Mitja Jeraj and Miha Marič. “Relation between entrepreneurial curiosity and entrepreneurial self-efficacy: a multi-country empirical validation,” Organizacija 46, Nov.-Dec. 2013. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/5cac/
- Mitja Jeraj, Miha Marič, Ivan Todorović , Mladen Čudanov, and Stefan Komazec. “The role of openness and entrepreneurial curiosity in company’s growth,” Amfiteatru Economic 17, Feb. 2015. http://www.amfiteatrueconomic.ro/temp/article_2392.pdf
First published in the September 2019 edition of The Business Advisor.