By boiling down more than 140 studies and research papers from 1934 to 2009, Hitchcock and Gordon have compiled a noteworthy collection of entrepreneurial questions and answers.
The research addresses fundamental studies of personality styles and learning traits, as well as recent research into opportunity recognition, proactivity and innovation, and how all of those things affect entrepreneurs, managers and the organizations in which they work. The book also explores risk-taking—particularly how risk differs from uncertainty. While readers may lament the lack of practical examples, it’s amazing how much perspective is contained in just over 100 pages. Small academic studies appear next to larger ones, some obscure and others highly regarded, including Edith Penrose’s 1959 study on theories of organizations. Although the authors state in the introduction that their intention is to further the understanding of “concepts and theories that are useful to all readers” rather than offer a compendium of “anecdotal success stories,” the book is so packed with research that it may appeal to few beyond the academic realm, which is unfortunate given the lucid, albeit sparse insight the authors provide. For example, after discussing business innovation related to a valuable but unconventional, independent-minded type of employee—an “entrepreneurial-oriented manager”—the authors go on to helpfully describe, in limited detail, how a leader could potentially harness that employee’s particular talents and mindset in new ways, for the benefit of the company. That being said, the authors’ overall effort would be even more useful if it spent less time describing the research methods of various studies and more time explaining how the research could apply in practice.
An absorbing look at what makes an entrepreneur; ideal as an aid for MBA candidates, business school professors and upper-level managers looking to restructure an organization.