Chapter 3: The effect of small business managers’ growth motivation on firm growth: a longitudinal study
The psychological construct of motivation has an important role to play in entrepreneurship research. As stated by Shane, Locke, & Collins (2003, p. 257): ‘We believe that the development of entrepreneurship theory requires consideration of the motivations of people making entrepreneurial decisions.’ One of the areas in entrepreneurship where motivation is potentially of great importance relates to firm growth. There is research to suggest that growth is one of the most important outcomes of entrepreneurial efforts because it indicates the degree of success of that effort (Bhidé, 1999; Venkataraman, 1997), and effort exerted is closely related to the individual’s motivation (Davidsson, Delmar, & Wiklund, 2002). Research examining the link between growth motivation and growth appears to support this view as it finds a positive relationship between growth motivation and growth (e.g., Baum, Locke, & Kirkpatrick, 1998; Baum, Locke, & Smith, 2001; Kolvereid & Bullvag, 1996; Miner, Smith, & Bracker, 1989). Implicitly, the view underlying this research and the theories used is the assumption that growth motivation affects the future growth of the firm, i.e., that growth motivation has a causal effect on firm growth. However, in their review and test of leading theories on goal-directed behaviors, Bagozzi and Kimmel (1995) demonstrated that these theories are incomplete because they fail to consider the feedback from past behavior and behavioral outcomes.
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