Self-determination and entrepreneurship : personal values as intrinsic motivators of entrepreneurial behaviour : a thesis submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand

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The study of entrepreneurs has often led to conflicting views about what motivates an individual to engage in entrepreneurship. The historic focus on the traits and characteristics of specific individuals perceived by others to be entrepreneurs, has yielded results that are, at best, speculative and difficult to substantiate. This study has taken a different approach by isolating entrepreneurial behaviour and examining its antecedent components. Specifically, the study sought to discover the internal loci of causality that motivate an individual to engage in entrepreneurial behaviour. The study was based on an inductive and interpretive research design within a constructivist paradigm. A small quantitative survey was conducted initially to screen an appropriate sample, the results of which were later used as an aide memoire during indepth interviews, with thirty New Zealand entrepreneurs. The bulk of the data sourced in this study originated through the interview process. These focused specifically on the meaning individuals attributed to certain fundamental values associated with entrepreneurial behaviour. The resulting narrative was subjected to discourse analysis and categorised into relevant themes. Four fundamental values are believed to be critical to entrepreneurial behaviour, namely, independence, creativity, ambition and daring. These values were expressed as psychological needs and act as intrinsic motivation for entrepreneurial behaviour. Only twenty three percent of the sample (7 out of 30), however, could demonstrate consistent motivation through these four principles. The balance of the participants acknowledged the importance of these four principles to entrepreneurial behaviour. However, the majority admitted that there had been a shift in their behaviour toward management, which placed more emphasis on independence and ambition in the value-set. Creativity and daring were accorded much lesser attention as the individual focused on growing their business. This shift in emphasis in the value-set is perceived to be one cause for the episodic and inconsistent occurrence of entrepreneurial behaviour amongst New Zealand business people.
Entrepreneurship, Self-determination, Motivation, Psychology, Entrepreneurs, Business, Values, Psychology, Independence, Ambition, Creativity, Daring, Management, New Zealand, Entrepreneurial behaviour