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The Psychology of Entrepreneurship

14 July 2020, 18:00-19:15 BST (Online)

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The concept of entrepreneurship has been very helpful in drawing attention to the importance for the economy of setting up new business ventures. These may be new businesses or new initiatives in existing businesses. Today the importance of entrepreneurship is widely accepted. However it is questionable how useful the concept of entrepreneurship now is for psychologists if we are to help communities of current and potential entrepreneurs to achieve their business ambitions.

There are various definitions of entrepreneurship, and some are very broad. For example the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), an international research programme, defines entrepreneurship as: “Any attempt at new business or new venture creation, such as self-employment, a new business organisation, or the expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a team of individuals, or an established business.” This definition covers a wide range of situations, and the competencies to succeed in them vary considerably.

The competencies needed to mobilise a start-up are different from those needed to gain traction for a new idea in a large organisation. GEM identifies the ability to recognise business opportunities as a key factor that determines the likelihood that an individual will become an entrepreneur. However recognition of business opportunities is not a unitary competency; different competencies are required for different kinds of opportunities.

On a different dimension, a recent study identified the competencies required by high-growth businesses. They differ from those required for businesses pursuing a less ambitious growth path. In addition, people in different environments, for example less developed countries, may lack key competencies that are ubiquitous elsewhere. It follows that the concept of ‘entrepreneurship’ is too vague and broad-brush for psychologists working with current and potential entrepreneurs. A more specific focus is required on the competencies specific groups of entrepreneurs need to succeed.


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Fees incl. VAT.

  • Society Member £48.50
  • Non-Society Member £80

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