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There are varying definitions of entrepreneurship (e.g., Kirzner, 1973; Schumpter, 1934; Stevenson et al., 1989; Vesper, 1996) which portray the common feature of entrepreneurship as the act of creating a new venture (Gartner, 1985). Entrepreneurship can be regarded as the process of creating value by integrating the resources for exploiting an available opportunity. From this, it can be derived that an entrepreneur is "someone who perceives an opportunity and creates an organization to pursue it" (Bygrave & Hofer, 1991, p 14). Timmons, (1994) has identified three crucial driving forces of entrepreneurship, which include (i) the entrepreneur or founder, (ii) the recognition of opportunity and (iii) the resources needed to found the firm. The process of entrepreneurship is complicated with the existence of various other factors such as risk, chaos, information asymmetries, resource scarcity, uncertainties, paradoxes and confusion. Successful entrepreneurship can be developed only when all the three components are arranged in a proper fit. An entrepreneur has to face the challenge of manipulating and influencing the factors affecting the process of entrepreneurship so that he can improve the chances of success of the venture. Since opportunities seldom wait, right timing of the recognition of the opportunity becomes critically important for any entrepreneur.
Literature has identified a number of factors influencing the process of entrepreneurship, which include creativity, optimism, information search, alertness, social networking and prior knowledge. Based upon the presence of some of these personal traits and by adapting to the circumstances, entrepreneurs are able to work their ways to recognizing profitable ventures and convert them into operable business ventures. However, the question remains as to which are the ones out of these factors motivate people to become entrepreneurs. The objective of the study was to examine the relative impact different motivational factors acting upon people in different age groups to take up entrepreneurial activity.
1.1 Motivation and Entrepreneurship
The topic of motivation in the entrepreneurship can be addressed from an organizational psychological perspective. Campbell et al have developed a framework, which has identified the theories of motivation to progress from static, content-oriented theories to dynamic process-oriented ones. Content theories describe specific traits within individuals that initiate, direct, sustain and stop entrepreneurial behavior. Process theories on the other hand explain the ways in which behavior is initiated, directed, sustained and stopped.
There are other situational and environmental factors, which influence any entrepreneurial activity. Previous research have attempted to identify these situational and environmental factors such as job displacement, previous work experience, availability of various resources, and governmental influences acting on the entrepreneurial activities of individuals. However, empirical studies on contextual factors were unable to find greater nexus between explanatory power and predictive ability (Kruegar, Reily, & Carsrud, 2000).
Many of the recent entrepreneurship models are process-oriented cognitive models. They mainly focus on attitudes and beliefs of individuals and the ways in which they can act on predicting intentions and behaviors. Cognitive processes often lead to all human endeavors, especially complex ones such as new venture initiation. Humans are characterized to categorize the possible future outcomes to decide on most desirable ones. They further analyze whether it is feasible to pursue attaining these desired outcomes. It is not reasonable to expect people to pursue those outcomes, which they perceive to be undesirable or unfeasible. Therefore, the perceptions of the people become an important motivational factor with respect to their entrepreneurial choices.
It is found that many cognitive models explaining the motivation to choose a new entrepreneurial activity is based on Vroom's, (1964) expectancy framework. These models use different terminologies and they are built on different theoretical bases. However, the commonality among these models can be identified with Vroom's expectancy model. The Vroom model postulates that an individual can be expected to choose among alternative behaviors by considering the one, which will lead to the most desirable outcome for him. "Motivation is conceptualized as the product of expectancy, instrumentality, and valence." Vroom's (1964) expectancy model forms the common base for a number of process-oriented explanations connected with entrepreneurial motivation. Current process models are grounded on the basic conception that an individual's entrepreneurial intentions to choose a particular activity are predicted by the questions (i) is entrepreneurship is desirable to him to lead to provide the desired outcomes and (ii) is entrepreneurship is feasible for him to decide whether he possesses the required qualities to become a successful entrepreneur.
1.2 Current Process Models of Entrepreneurial Motivation
Baumol, (1990) suggested the role of reward structure in motivating entrepreneurial activity. Reward structure as an economic perspective for the initiation of a new venture is based on the usefulness, utility or desirability of an entrepreneurial career. Campbell's (1992) decision model makes a comparison of the expected net present benefits of entrepreneurship and the expected gains from a possible employment opportunity. On the same lines, Praag & Cramer, (2001) advocated that people choose entrepreneurship if they expect the rewards of such entrepreneurship would surpass the wages earned by them out of employment. Levesque, Shephard, & Douglas, (2002) examined the selection of the course of action between employment and entrepreneurship in the form of self-employment in the context of a utility-maximizing model, which tends to change based on the age of the individual denoting the stage of life. The common thread among these economic models is the explicit consideration of the role of risk in choosing to become an entrepreneur. Other recent research is based on an organizational psychological framework conducted by Bird, (1988). This work suggests the importance of entrepreneurial intentions as a precursor to new venture creation stressing the need to develop a behavioral, process-oriented model of entrepreneurship.
1.3 Purpose of the Study - Problem Statement
There are a number of motivational factors, which influence the entrepreneurial intentions of the individuals. Extensive attitudinal research has investigated the topic of the role of different attitudinal factors because these factors have been considered as the better explanatory factors for choosing entrepreneurial activities than demographic and personality variations. Most of these studies base their findings on attitudinal factors which have an influence on confidence, enthusiasm, inclination and aspiration towards choosing entrepreneurship (Aronson, Wilson, & Akert, 2005; Beugelsdijk & Noorderhaven, 2004; Henderson & Robertson, 2000). Some studies have examined the influence of attitude towards entrepreneurial aspiration (Krueger et al 2000). There is a void to be filled in the demographic area of research - for example, the influence of age and educational qualifications on the choice of entrepreneurship has not been studied extensively. In this context, the current study will attempt to examine the relative influence of age factor on individuals choosing to become entrepreneur. With the average age expectancy going up and the availability of resources in the hands of baby boomers, the chances of individuals becoming entrepreneurs at their middle ages cannot be ruled out. Therefore, a study of the influence of age factor on entrepreneurial decisions become important and they cannot be considered out of place. The findings of the research is expected to reveal the attitudinal and other motivational factors influencing the entrepreneurial decisions among individuals in different age groups, which can be used as a guiding factor in addressing different issues in becoming an entrepreneur in the middle age.
By engaging the quantitative research method of survey through a well-constructed questionnaire, the study has focused on the examination of the entrepreneurial choice among aspiring individuals in two different age groups. The study will also present an analytical review of the available literature on the topic.
For a comprehensive presentation, the paper is structured to have different chapters. The introductory chapter gives an insight into the topic under study. Chapter 2 will present a review of the relevant literature to extend the knowledge of the readers on the subject of entrepreneurial opportunity recognition process. Chapter 3 deals with the aims and objectives of the study followed by chapter 4 detailing the research methodology. Chapter 5 includes the findings of the research and a detailed discussion on the findings and some concluding remarks are presented in chapter 6.