Understanding entrepreneurial mind-set

Sample research proposal

Understanding entrepreneurial mind-set in terms of psychology and motivation: A primary focus on SME’s


An entrepreneurial mind-set is an indication of a business thinking approach as well as its opportunities that grab the advantages of uncertainty. An entrepreneurial mind-set demonstrates the innovative and active searching of opportunities and serves actions intended at capitalizing on opportunities (Brown and Rheingold, 2008). It is crucial to establish an entrepreneurial mind-set so as to develop and maintain the competitiveness of economic business firms as well as the population’s socioeconomic lifestyle by creation of value and employment. This high level of importance is displayed in the sense that supporters of new ideas are developed organisations with new precious concepts, which are emerged and resourced in a culture that is encouraging, engaging and enabling (Gupta, MacMillan and Surie, 2004). According to the argument of McGrath and MacMillan (2000), organisations as strategists should embrace an entrepreneurial mind-set with the objective to sense opportunities, mobilise resources and take advantage of opportunities. An entrepreneurial mind-set, on an individual level, refers to a life philosophy, and on an organisational level an essential part of a firm’s culture and climate is formed by it.

  1. Aims/objectives/Research Questions:

The primary aim of this study is to understand the entrepreneurial mind-set in terms of motivation and psychology and following objectives will be met in this regard:

  • To explore the motivational structure and personality traits that constitute the entrepreneurial mind-set
  • To explore and understand the characteristics and crucial determinants of an entrepreneurial mind-set
  • To explore and recognise the psychological characteristics of entrepreneurs
  • To explore the ‘entrepreneurs’ mind-set in the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by using contemporary psychological tool and a self-assessment tool

These are the aim and objectives of study and the basis of this study is to explore and comprehend which determinants of an entrepreneurial mind-set are lacking in the SME sector and to be fully capable of generating ideas to enhance these domains as an approach to promote the success of SME and hence minimizing their high rates of failure in the UK. This is most important as there are many research studies that provide evidence by pointing out the ground reality that a lack of entrepreneurial mind-set results in the failure of a business. Besides this, this research study will also try to proof whether absence entrepreneurial mind-set plays its role in escalating failure rate of SME in the UK.

Research Question

Based on the above mentioned aims and objectives, this research study will answer the following key research question:

What are certain motives and personality characteristics of an entrepreneur?

  1. Methodology:


Ontological consideration is all about the nature of relationship between social phenomena and social actors. Objectivism is the standing that social phenomena are independent of actions and behaviours of social actors and there are no effects on phenomena by their interface, while constructionism considers the social phenomena as social constructions which develop and confront with continuous change owing to their interaction with social actors and with their actions ad behaviour. (Bryman, 2008)

For this study, entrepreneurial mind-set in terms of psychology and motivation is the social phenomena under consideration and the social actors under considerations are entrepreneurs. Since phenomena of entrepreneurial mind-set have a firm relationship with the social actors (entrepreneurs), constructionism is the more right ontological position. Since the social actors’ behavioural pattern and action which are responsible to work for making changes are qualitative in nature and cannot be studied through the methods associated with natural sciences thus better choice for epistemological position are interpretivism.

Research Method

The current study is going to use different methods to gather, analyse and present authentic and reliable information and in doing so qualitative methods will be used with both primary and secondary researches.

Secondary Research

Data regarding entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial mind-set will be accumulated by reviewing past research studies. It means that the secondary research will be used as qualitative method. For this, article and journals, news articles, and textbooks on entrepreneurial mind-set will be thoroughly reviewed. Secondary sources will be used as they consist of data that has previously been produced and explored and can be contemporary or historical, qualitative or quantitative (Smith, 2008). The reason behind using this research approach is that there is an ease of access to plentiful sources of secondary information. In the past collection of secondary information required researchers to physically visit libraries, or wait for reports to be dispatched by mail; however, the secondary research is now more openly and easily accessed with the availability of online access (Kothari, 2004). This approach offers convenient and generally standardised usage methods for all secondary research sources (Kothari, 2004).

Primary Research

This study will also collect data by using primary research method and in doing so, Self-administered questionnaires (online) would be used. Questionnaires method will be used because through this large amounts of data can be accumulated from a large number of participants even in a short span of time and this method is also very cost effective (Bodden, 2013). Researcher can develop questionnaires with limited affect to its validity and reliability (Bodden, 2013). According to Kothari (2004), the results extracted from the questionnaires can generally be swiftly and easily evaluated by a researcher. These results can also be analysed more scientifically and objectively as compared to other forms of research (Bodden, 2013).

Research Instrument: Self-administered Questionnaires

In this research study, self-administered questionnaires will be developed and used to obtain information from entrepreneurs in the UK. The questionnaires will be designed in such a way that will enable the participants (entrepreneurs) to complete the questionnaires form with complete ease within a comparatively short span of time. This data collection approach has been preferred as it has the potential to enable the participants to respond the questions at their own convenient, because they are always busy. Moreover, this data accumulation method also makes sure high anonymity of the participants and as such enables them to be more frank, open and honest with their answers (Mitchell and Jolley, 2012).

Moreover, the questionnaires will be based on two significant sections. The first section includes questions associated with the participants’ demographic and other general information, like working knowledge and experience, educational and qualification background and their aspiration to pursue knowledge and skills of business. The other section comprises self-assessment questions associated with, such as, participants’ personality characteristics and skills.

A five point Likert scale will be used for second section in which participants would be asked to state the level to which they agreed or disagreed with the questionnaire’s statements.

Sampling Technique

For this study, the population (participants) is entrepreneurs in the SME sector in the UK. Entrepreneurial firms will be identified by online approach, and it will also be made sure that all the firms are aware of the topic of our research study. Participants who are familiar with and well-informed are capable of providing more thoughtful responses (Rubin and Babbie, 2007). A total of 50 to 80 entrepreneurs will be recruited, and all of them will be contacted and asked to partake in the study.

Data Analysis Method

Content Analysis will be used to analyse data. Content analysis refers to a method to systematically describe written, spoken or visual communication. Any medium that can be recorded and reviewed is suitable. Content analysis can be used to analyse new material recorded by the researchers, and to classify open-ended responses to interview or survey questions. (Mitchell and Jolley, 2012)

  1. Brief Literature Review:

Two self-theories related to intelligence have been presented by Dweck (1999). They provided insight into the motivational as psychological processes necessary for success. According to them, every single individual has either a growth mind-set (incremental theory of intelligence) or a fixed mind-set (entity theory of intelligence). The belief of individuals having a fixed mind-set is that an individual’s intelligence, skills, and characteristics are eternal and fixed. These people also believe that an individual’s capability emerges from skills instead of from their gradual and steady development of abilities through the approach of learning and as such surrender or decline in the face of hindrances (Dweck, 1999). People who have a fixed mind-set, their confidence level is and they incline to go with low performance goals, which thus leads to them to respond in a helpless and incapacitated characteristic manner-pattern of usual feelings, behavioural patterns and thoughts, while confronting challenging issues (Pollack, Burnette and Hoyt, 2012)). People having a growth mind-set believe that learning is the factor behind an individual’s capability and success, and such a learning can be grown and changed by intelligence with endeavour and believe in attempting other methods or looking for assistance while confronting with problematic issues and incline to adopt learning goals. According to Dweck (1999), these people having low or high confidence level react with a typical response pattern of feelings, attitudes and thoughts, in any type of environment and circumstance they face by concentrating more on learning new concepts. Some characteristics of the entrepreneurial mind-set are, according to McGrath and MacMillan (2000), eagerly exploring new opportunities; seeking best opportunities with vast discipline; seeking only the excellent opportunities; concentrating strongly on execution; and etc.

According to Bilán et al., (2005), entrepreneurship education is always viewed to be a process of lifelong learning that promotes the creation of personal expertise, capabilities and attributes to assist the learner to stay alive in the business world. A most constructive association has been developed between the business creation and education. This development of association requires the need for entrepreneurship education to enhance and exploit returns to more technical training in the perspective of leading informal sector. Thus, the stance of Iaquinto and Spinelli (2006) is that the education of entrepreneurship is very imperative as it can be taught and it can play crucial role in job creation and make a huge impact on poverty elimination.

Knowledge and experience has also been found as crucial determinant in entrepreneurial achievement. Past entrepreneurial knowledge and experience is the most reliable and authentic predictors of prospect performance of an entrepreneur. In their study, Feldman (2014) adopted some methods of teaching, which comprise managing a real business, visit to the location of business, and interview with an entrepreneur. The researchers come to a conclusion individuals who chosen running a real business method accepted that it modified them as they were fully capable of obtaining real business experience; permitted them to realise and experience the responsibility sense in comprehending the core benefits and potential risks of establishing a business, while gaining real business experience in making wealth; and designing a plan about the business management functions. However, according to the study of Krueger (2007), people whose positive awareness level is low about entrepreneurial experience prior to following the entrepreneurial education, they experienced major modifications in their overall knowledge related to setting up an entrepreneurial firm following partaking in the educational programme. Therefore, entrepreneurial education facilitates people with more social experience, like opportunities to exercise key duties and responsibilities, to develop individuals own businesses and to learn from relevant role models.

According to Perks and Hughes (2008), risk is basically the uncertainty level and prospective losses degree related to the outcomes and it may be acquired from a given behaviour’s set. Risk taking approach is also defined by Morrison (2000) as a crucial component associated with the strategic entrepreneurial mind-set. The reason behind this is that risk-taking is necessary to business growth and achievement, which is based on how the risks in their environment are taken and manager by entrepreneurs. According to Haynie and Shepherd (2009), adopting an entrepreneurial mind-set is necessary to all business ventures as it lays the entrepreneur’s capability of accepting and managing risk. A firm relationship has been found by Abdullah (2015) between the risk-taking willingness (risk tolerance) and achievement of entrepreneurial business, which more emphasizes the need for integrating risk in entrepreneur education.

The aspect of motivation demonstrates an absolute psychological factor as this factor has the potential to lead and direct an individual’s behaviour and attitude in a firm, level of endeavour, and a persistence level despite hindrances (Morrison, 2000). According to Baron and Shane (2005), entrepreneurs are assisted by the factor of motivation in gaining knowledge and in developing skills and hence provide the energy required for the implementation the actions. Motivation aspect has also the potential to separate people who assess opportunities in a positive manner from individuals who do not; those who practice speedy growth from unhurried growth; those who enjoy outside financial backing from people who do not and those who continuously make effort to pursue opportunities against those who leave all their endeavours. There is an association between motivations and opportunities to these research workers and by evaluating the motivation of prospect entrepreneurs and exploring the association between motivation and the decision made in simulation, research workers could then ascertain and assess the ways entrepreneurial decisions are influenced by the aspect of motivation. According to the indication of Baron and Shane (2005), for precisely evaluating the impacts of motivation aspect on decisions taken by entrepreneurs, it is essential for researchers that they recognise the extent of forces maintained by the opportunities control the opportunities’ impacts and project precisely the impact of the individual motivations about entrepreneurial decisions.

  1. Resources you need/Access to primary and secondary data:

Secondary data, is data collected by someone else, it is reviewing someone else’s work. For my secondary data I will be using online Journals, books, articles, reports, libraries and academic websites. I will assess these materials through, Google Scholar, also use Universities library catalogue, electronic resources, where I can without any trouble access, e-books and online journals.

Primary research consists of a collection of original primary data. For my primary data I will be producing questionnaires and will use Survey Monkey, this will allow me target the specific audiences I require for my dissertation.

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