Examining Entrepreneurship

Business management guru Tom Peters foresees that organizational success will soon require the "entrepreneurizing of every job" (1994, p.67). But what is entrepreneurship, that trait which motivates people to become their own boss and start a business?

We surveyed 410 Romanians and 123 Russians, nominated by their local Chambers of Commerce as established and successful entrepreneurs. Rasch analysis of 32 items shows both the core meaning of entrepreneurship and also distinctly local aspects. In the Figure, the main diagonal captures items about whose motivational power both Russians and Romanians agree. Control over one's own time and place, the opportunity to implement one's own ideas, and the enticement of more money and higher status motivate both groups of entrepreneurs. Escaping from unsafe job conditions, "NotUnsafe", is less motivating.

On the plot, diagonals are drawn 1 logit from the main diagonal, outside are those items whose motivational power is different for the groups. In the lower right corner, Romanians are more motivated by individual benefits: flexibility, opportunism, adventure, fun and the chance to learn. In the top left corner, Russians are more motivated by social benefits: interacting freely with people, being with people liked and admired, forming part of a community, even leading it.

Rasch analysis yields remarkable insights into the diverse nature of entrepreneurship. The Romanians are in the mold of the free-wheeling American entrepreneurship of Bill Gates, Ted Turner and Donald Trump. The Russians follow after earlier merchant princes of Venice and the Netherlands. What of "entrepreneurizing" within an organization? Peters' writings feature community, trust, leadership, adventure and learning, but are ambivalent about money, personal status and control over one's own time. This cuts diagonally across the construct of entrepreneurship defined in the plot. Perhaps this explains the difficulties organizations encounter as they seek to flatten and fracture the corporate pyramid, turning each worker into a mini-boss.

Joe S. Roberts, Coleman Foundation
David E. Drehmer, De Paul University

Peters, T. (1994) The Tom Peters Seminar. New York: Random House/Vintage Books.

Examining Entrepreneurship. Roberts J.S. & Drehmer D.E. … Rasch Measurement Transactions, 1997, 11:3 p. 573

Rasch Publications
Rasch Measurement Transactions (free, online) Rasch Measurement research papers (free, online) Probabilistic Models for Some Intelligence and Attainment Tests, Georg Rasch Applying the Rasch Model 3rd. Ed., Bond & Fox Best Test Design, Wright & Stone
Rating Scale Analysis, Wright & Masters Introduction to Rasch Measurement, E. Smith & R. Smith Introduction to Many-Facet Rasch Measurement, Thomas Eckes Invariant Measurement: Using Rasch Models in the Social, Behavioral, and Health Sciences, George Engelhard, Jr. Statistical Analyses for Language Testers, Rita Green
Rasch Models: Foundations, Recent Developments, and Applications, Fischer & Molenaar Journal of Applied Measurement Rasch models for measurement, David Andrich Constructing Measures, Mark Wilson Rasch Analysis in the Human Sciences, Boone, Stave, Yale
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