Competence-Based Profile to Characterize Successful Entrepreneurs

Competence-Based Profile to Characterize Successful Entrepreneurs

Lourdes Canós-Darós (Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain) and Cristina Santandreu-Mascarell (Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-207-5.ch013
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In this chapter, the authors list different points of view about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. For this, they take into account the relationship between an entrepreneur and his or her environment. Thus, the chapter identifies the main competences that characterize an entrepreneur distinguishing between innate and/or learned competencies.
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Emergence of new businesses and entrepreneurial talent are fundamental in the current new economy, moreover if we are dealing with new technologies and dynamic environments. Entrepreneurship is a form of multidimensional and complex behavior which study has led to different theories. The question of what characterizes an entrepreneur has been widely debated (Hitt et al., 2002) based on two ideas (Levie and Muzyka, 1996; Chua et al., 2004): entrepreneur is born or made? Although there are many multidisciplinary empirical studies, there is no a general accepted theory (Amit and Schoemaker, 1993; Ripsas, 1998). These theories lead to three approaches: characteristics or traits approach, behavioral approach (Wooldridge and Jennings, 1995; Köllermeier, 1992) and a more modern perspective that considers creation of companies as a complex and dynamic process (Bruyat, 1993; Bruyat and Julien, 1999).

Entrepreneur is a concept based on some combination of competencies. An entrepreneur has the ability to create many different and new situations, in which confluence unusual factors. In this context, some options are more appropriated than other, setting up opportunity until the end. In other words, an entrepreneur tirelessly works in combinations of factors that create opportunities (notice that this is not the same as being an opportunist) and he or she finds the best way to be successful. Then, process starts again. This does not change the profile of the entrepreneur. Nowadays, new environment must be adapted to entrepreneurial needs from an academic point of view. Thus, future professionals have to acquire generic and specific skills, some of which promote and strengthen entrepreneurship (Casson and Wadeson, 2007; Tobin and Pettingell, 2008; Boone and Kurtz, 2010). Once the entrepreneur answers the question about what kind of opportunity he or she wants to pursue, it is figuring out how to assign material, technical or personal resources. Personal resources have to be used properly on time and in a good manner. Competencies can be used in different ways; indeed, lack or overabundance of some of them could also determine the characteristics of the opportunity to be set up and probabilities to implement it successfully (Zhao et al., 2010).

Entrepreneurs do not have to try to find combinations of competencies that ensure success, but rather to understand how to develop competencies in order to create opportunities. If launching a revolution is pursued, even implicitly, some exceptional talent and charisma competencies to achieve necessary support and assistance will be required, among other. For example, we can mention entrepreneurs who led the transformation undergone by IBM from a hardware company to a service solutions company; or entrepreneurs of some of the flagship companies of the early Internet era as e-Bay, who looked for the best talent, the more appropriate investments and the promotion of changes in consumer habits. On the other hand, if entrepreneurs identify a niche in a market already established, they also have to consider different solutions for the customer, the way to achieve profitable business models that retain higher value for the company, etc. (Shane and Venkataraman, 2007).

In this context, we can suppose that the common point in concepts of entrepreneur or entrepreneurship is innovation, regardless of theories or approaches (Lichtenstein et al., 2006). This is relevant in management studies and for the real situation of companies, because the need of continuous adaptation based on innovation, competencies, knowledge, etc. (Nonaka et al., 2000). Then, the profile of entrepreneur does not have to change, but to be focused to the environment. In this chapter we deal with this idea in order to know the main characteristics that identify an entrepreneur, showing common points studied in literature and highlight the more representative ones in the new economy.

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