The Relationship between Motivation and Owner-Operated Small Business Firm Success
27 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018 Last revised: 11 Sep 2018
Date Written: August 28, 2018
As the old adage goes ‘the surest way to get rich is to find a need and fill it’. Despite the singular form of ‘need’ there is a dichotomy to be observed. The potential consumer has a need to be satisfied along with the need(s) of the entrepreneur. The subject of this paper is to better understand the motivation of the entrepreneur to satisfy their need(s), motivation’s relation to owner-operated small business firm success, the relationship that generic competitive strategies play with motivation, and how measurement success criteria, Triple Bottom Line vs. Profitability interact with motivation.
In a 2012 survey, the Small Business Administration (SBA) noted that 50.9% of small business owners were between the ages of 50 and 88, with another 33.2% of small business that were owned by people aged 35-49 (Lichtenstein, 2014). The SBA, also noted, that 52% of small businesses were home based (SBA Office of Advocacy, 2014). Why are people starting these small businesses? Did they retire and still need a reason to get out of bed in the morning? Did they grow weary of corporate America or get laid off? Did a couple decide they need a second income, but one that fits around the family’s schedule? Or could a new venture mirror the Anita Roddick story of how she founded The Body Shop after she and her husband sold their hotel in Brighton, UK, so he could take two years and travel by horse from Buenos Aires to New York City (Bartlett, Elderkin, McQuade, 1991). The research question is, what role does motivation play in owner-operated small business firm success? Since different motivations can quickly equal the number of small business owners, pre-decided buckets of motivational categories will be more beneficial for measurement and research purposes. In 1943, the American psychologist Abraham Harold Maslow categorized a Hierarchy of Needs (HON) (Maslow, 1943). His five categories of needs will be used as the basis for the coding of owner-operated small business motivations. His five categories will be reduced to two buckets: higher level and lower level.
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