In a society, we often come across some people who are just excellent in building an organization; they just lead the organization to a great height, whereas some are reluctant to start a business. These qualities of starting an organization or leading it to a new height attributes to individual’s personality traits or anything else? The process of identifying the individuals characteristics or its social and environmental setup which plays an important role in setting and moving an organization, is one of the most challenging job for organizational or entrepreneurship or psychological researchers.
The field of entrepreneurship seeks to understand how opportunities discovered, created and exploited (Markan, Balkin and Baron, 2004; 149). The cognitive perspective on the other hand, emphasizes the fact that mental processes include everything we think, say or do during the startup process of any organization. These mental processes also include the cognitive mechanisms (style) through which we acquire, store, transform and use information (Baron 2004: 221).
The cognitive perspective provides us with useful lenses (patterns) with which to explore entrepreneur related phenomenon and to address some meaningful issues that we have not been able to probe effectively upto now. (Mitchell et. al. , 2002:93). Shepherd & Krueger (2002; 197) agree that social cognition research helps to give direction to the study of entrepreneurial thinking. Pretorius, Le Roux and Millard (2004) also quote the remark of Gatewood, Shaver, Powers and Gartner (2002:187) that recent researches have demonstrated the impact that cognitive and social processes have on entrepreneurial behaviour.
Basically entrepreneurship is a quality possessed by individual who create opportunities where others do not and who attempt to exploit those opportunities through various modes of organizing, without regard to resources currently controlled (Mitchell et. al. 2002:96). Similarly entrepreneurial cognition could be defined as the knowledge, structures that entrepreneurs use to make assessments, judgment or decision involving opportunity evaluation, venture creation and growth.
Therefore entrepreneurial cognition is about understanding how entrepreneurs use simplifying mental models to piece together previously unconnected information that helps to identify and invent new products or services and assemble the necessary resources to start and grow a business. Wright, Hoskisson, Busenitz and Dial (2000) defined entrepreneurial cognition as extensive use of individual Heuristic (shortcuts) and beliefs that impact on decision-making process.
Baron (1998:290) argues that the role of studying cognitive mechanisms in entrepreneurship is primarily that of formulating means for holding checks errors stemming from these cognitive mechanisms. The decision reached by the entrepreneurs and the strategies they adopt then have increased chance of success. Entrepreneurial cognition plays important role in identifying the role of the individual in the entrepreneurial process. It aids us in individual in the entrepreneurial do the things that they do.
Cognitive biases help entrepreneurs to perceived less risk, causing them to be more willing to start a new venture. The misfit between the entrepreneurs’ cognitive make up and the varying demands of the new venture over time, the central element in the individual entrepreneur. Both Busenitz and Barney (1997) and Baron (1998) found that entrepreneurs and managers use different biases and heuristics when faced with complex situations. These findings may be explained by the fact that entrepreneurs tend to operate in more uncertain and complex environments than do other individuals (Brigham & De Castro, 2003: 42).
The interaction between the individuals dominant decision making style, pattern or preference and the particular demands of a given situation may lead to varying degrees of fit and ultimately to either positive or negative outcome. Now it has been evident that entrepreneur have certain characteristics, cognitive skill and qualities and this achieved or ascribed qualities of the entrepreneur creates their self-identities. Self identify is in limited respect an analogue of the learned personality, quality & traits albeit from a very different intellectual tradition and with very different analytical implications.
Now the emphasis has been on identifying traits and attributes that the typical entrepreneur exhibits and possesses. Self identity in the sense of knowing that we are someone, that we can identify over selves as that someone, and the others also identify that self same someone. Self-identity is not a distinctive trait, or even a collection of traits, possessed by the individual. It is the self as reflexively understood by the person in terms of her or his biography. It is both a static and dynamic aspect of human experience that reflects the life course of individuals.
Self-identity and social identity should be viewed as part of the same process of identification. Achieving imagination, creativity and organization are the important ends for entrepreneurs; Individuals having self-identity are more likely to be an entrepreneur. Some of the factors such as higher education level and work experience, belonging from business classes and network etc. plays an important role in forming the people as an entrepreneur. Individual perceptions, attitudes and motivations are also the important factors, which plays role towards entrepreneurial activity.
Now our effort will be to attempt to understand how individuals adapt and manage transitions is to organizing construct of identify (Ibarra, 2003; Ashforth, 2001; Louis, 1980; Stebbens, 1970). Entrepreneurial identity refers to the personal characteristics that are commonly believed to distinguish people occupying an entrepreneurial role. For example, a study of women making the transition from employment to self-employment described as entrepreneur by traits such as: innovation, perseverance, dynamism autonomy, individualism and risk taking (Cohen and Musson 2000).
This contrasts with core features of a manger, which are characterized as emotional stability, aggressiveness, and objectivity (Greenhaus and Buetell 1985). These beliefs about characteristics are perceived traits that may be based on an individual’s direct experience in the role, past work experience, relationship with entrepreneurs, or on ideal types propagated by the media and broader culture. Individuals will differ in their perceived profile of entrepreneurial trait, although social processes will lead to some shared perceptions that can be considered stereotypical i.
e. “entrepreneurs generally are” (Burke & Tulley, 1977). The prototypical entrepreneur is a business founder, focused on profit and growth, and in characterized by innovative behaviour and use of strategic management practices (Carland et. al. 1984). Entrepreneurial self-identity is a multidimensional construct. Those, who have more central entrepreneurial identity, have more positive opinions of entrepreneurs and their activities. High identity centrality will be associated with more positive than negative role content and attributes.
Central entrepreneurial identity stress the positive social impact of entrepreneurship over the personal economic gains that others would find to be more defining characteristic of the role. Entrepreneurial identity influences how individual explore an opportunity or business idea, interpret environmental feedback and evaluate alternatives. Entrepreneur with low identity centrality may be more oriented towards testing the accuracy of their beliefs about themselves in an entrepreneurial role.
Assessing self-accuracy involves undertaking activities that will provide information about dimensions on which the entrepreneur is most uncertain (Trope, 1979). Elements of entrepreneurial identity are particularly important in the evaluation of non-economic benefits of making a successful entrepreneurial transition. Entrepreneurial identity centrality captures the subjective importance of the entrepreneurial role in one’s overall self-concept. When the psychological rewards of behaving entrepreneurially are high, as when entrepreneurial role centrality is high, there will be greater motivation to persist.
Entrepreneurial and organizational identity may be synonymous at starting point of organizations but they are likely to diverge over time as the venture grows and institutionalization processes take hold (Kimberly 1979). Conclusion: It has been quite evident that certain personal attributes, self efficacy or identity as well as his/her environment, social setup, family background, cultural background etc. plays on all important role to shape up entrepreneurial personality or an entrepreneur.
People having entrepreneurial qualities such as proper assessment of the situation, judgments or decision-making, opportunity, evaluation, risk taking, heuristic and beliefs etc. are more suitable to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur operates at the crux of change, innovation and market perturbation. Individuals with higher self- efficacy perform more adeptly than those with a lower self-efficacy. So people having entrepreneurial skills are notably more optimistic in their assessment of business opportunities.