Education enables one to understand the outside world and equips him with the basic knowledge and skills to deal with day-to-day problems. In any society, the system of education has a significant role to play in inculcating entrepreneurial values.
In India, the system of education prior to the 20th century was based on religion. In this rigid system, critical and questioning attitudes towards society were discouraged. The caste system and the resultant occupational structure were reinforced by such education. It promoted the idea that business is not a respectable occupation. Later, when the British came to our country, they introduced an education system, just to produce clerks and accountants for the East India Company, The base of such a system, as you can well see, is very anti-entrepreneurial. The unfortunate result of it is that young men and women in our country have developed a taste only for service. Their talents and capabilities have not been made much use of. Rather it has been wasted in performing routine conventional jobs. Our educational methods have not changed much even today. The emphasis is till on preparing students for standard jobs, rather than marking them capable enough to stand on their feet.
4. Attitude of the Society
A related aspect to these is the attitude of the society towards entrepreneurship. Certain societies encourage innovations and novelties, and thus approve entrepreneurs’ actions and rewards like profits. Certain others do not tolerate changes and in such circumstances, entrepreneurship cannot take root and grow. Similarly, some societies have an inherent dislike for any money-making activity. It is said, that in Russia, in the nineteenth century, the upper classes did not like entrepreneurs. For them, cultivating the land meant a good life. They believed that land belongs to God and the produce of the land was nothing but god’s blessing.
Motives impel men to action. Entrepreneurial growth requires proper motives like profit-making, acquisition of prestige and attainment of social status. Ambitious and talented men would take risks and innovate if these motives are strong. The strength of these motives depends upon the culture of the society. If the culture is economically or monetarily oriented, entrepreneurship would be applauded and praised; wealth accumulation as a way of life would be appreciated. In the less developed countries, people are not economically motivated. Monetary incentives have relatively less attraction. People have ample opportunities of attaining social distinction by non-economic pursuits. Men with organizational abilities are, therefore, not c dragged into business. They use their talents for non-economic ends. The absence of proper economic motives is a general characteristic of agrarian societies in which people do not attach great value to business talents, industrial leadership etc.
III. Psychological Factors
Many entrepreneurial theorists have propounded theories of entrepreneurship that concentrate especially upon psychological factors. These are as follows:
The most important psychological theories of entrepreneurship was put forward in the early1960s by David McClelland. According to McClelland ‘need achievement’ is social motive to excel that tends to characterize successful entrepreneurs, especially when reinforced by cultural factors. He found that certain kinds of people, especially those who became entrepreneurs, had this characteristic. Moreover, some societies tend to reproduce a larger percentage of people with high ‘need achievement’ than other societies. McClelland attributed this to sociological factors. Differences among societies and individuals accounted for ‘need achievement’ being greater in some societies and less in certain others. Analyzing this phenomenon, Paul Wilken has said, “entrepreneurship becomes the link between need achievement and economic growth”, the latter being a specifically social factor.
The theory states that people with high need-achievement are distinctive in several ways. They like to take risks and these risks stimulate them to greater effort. The theory identifies the factors that produce such people. Initially McClelland attributed the role of parents, specially the mother, in mustering her son or daughter to be masterful and self-reliant. Later he put less emphasis on the parent-child relationship and gave more importance to social and cultural factors. He concluded that the ‘need achievement’ is conditioned more by social and cultural reinforcement rather than by parental influence and such related factors.
2. Withdrawal of Status Respect
There are several other researchers who have tried to understand the psychological roots of entrepreneurship. One such individual is Everett Hagen who stresses the-psychological consequences of social change. Hagen says, at some point many social groups experience a radical loss of status. Hagen attributed the withdrawal of status respect of a group to the genesis of entrepreneurship. Giving a brief sketch of history of Japan, he concludes that it developed sooner than any non-western society except Russia due to two historical differences. First, Japan had been free from colonial disruption and secondly, the repeated long continued withdrawal of expected status from important groups in its society led them to the technological progress through entrepreneurial roles.
Hage believes that the initial condition leading to eventual entrepreneurial behavior is the loss of status by a group. He postulates that four types of events can produce status withdrawal:
(a) The group may be displaced by force;
(b) It may have its valued symbols denigrated;
(c) It may drift into a situation of status inconsistency; and
(d) It may not be accepted the expected status on migration in a new society.
He further postulates that withdrawal of status respect would give rise to four possible reactions and create four difference personality types:
(a) Retreatist: He who continues to work in a society but remains different to his work and position;
(b) Ritualist: He who adopts a kind of defensive behavior and acts in the way accepted and approved in his society but no hopes of improving his position;
(c) Reformist: He is a person who foments a rebellion and attempts to establish a new society; and
(d)Innovator: He is a creative individual and is likely to be an entrepreneur.
Hagen maintains that once status withdrawal has occurred, the sequence of change in personality formation is set in motion. He refers that status withdrawal takes a long period of time – as much as five or more generations – to result in the emergence of entrepreneurship.