HONING THE INTUITIVE BEHAVIOR NECESSARY TO SUSTAIN ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS
Daryl G. Mitton
San Diego State University
11914 Rocoso Rd
Lakeside, CA 92040-1038
Scholars such as Schumpeter, Barnard, and Simon have all emphasized the importance of intuitive behavior in the performance outcome of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial managers, a phenomenon usually left unaddressed in entrepreneurship curriculum. This research attempts to develop a method to fill that void. An extended search uncovered six generic skill areas and their proverespective subskills which lead to intuitive behavior: Managing Appearance, Managing Exposure, Managing Attitude and Perspective, Managing Circumstance, Managing Action, and Managing Transaction. These were determined from many years of observation of and interaction with hundreds of entrepreneurs. A series of traditional instruction methods which might teach these skills and put them into students' bones was attempted. All methods tried showed no significant signs of skill transfer. Therefore, a new, very unorthodox method of instruction was designed, combining the knowledge of entrepreneurs and developmental psychology to do the job. This new method of instruction, when tried, indicated significant improvement in skill acquisition.
The new approach used an experiential technique applied out-of-the-classroom and off-the-the-job. It was designed, literally, to be practiced in the "streets" with the world as a laboratory. Progressively staged exercises were outlined as a general guide: changing simple personal patterns, extending exposure and observation, talking with strangers, improving relationships with people you know, getting your fair share, testing your limits and the limits of others, dealing with groups, and taking on tough tasks and people in tough territories. This approach set ageneral path of successive skill building. And exercises were to be very privately staged and privately enjoyed, to avoid anyone recommending what to do, how to do it, when to do it or judging action or outcome. Citation and feedback, therefore, were real life events with real life situations and people, so that action and consequences were completely authentic. The staged progression of experience-expanding exercises gave a strong assurance of success, intrinsically enjoyed, which served as a motivator to want to do more. This technique was compared to apreviously tried, more traditional in-the-class experiential approach which was adapted to entrepreneurial demands. Analysis of covariance compared change in pre- and post-test mean scores on six qualities considered conclusive to induce the behaviors and action patterns sought.
The "street" experimental approach produced group mean changes significantly more entrepreneurial than the traditional experiential approach on six qualities: self-esteem and self-confidence; internal locus of control; assertiveness; spontaneity, adaptability, and credibility; entrepreneurial style- and moral development. The first five qualities at the .01 level of significance, the last quality at the .05 level sigma
The method of teaching evolved in this research proved to be an effective way of significantly enhancing intuitive behavior and non-cognitive social behavior for student potential entrepreneurs. And, according to scholars, these are as important to their training as the cognitive and more deliberative skills now emphasized, almost exclusively, in our universities and colleges.The intrinsic satisfaction that students derive from a stream of real life successes seems toencourage self-starting and self-sustaining qualities which probably extend beyond the classroom into professional life. Exploring and seeing things systematically tend to become habitual. One thing is certain, their barriers of traveling into untried and uncertain territory are appreciably lowered. The strange starts to look familiar, bringing with it confidence to do more and causing them to recognize, intuitively, that they've been in circumstances with similar dimensions before--and can handle it. This is how clout is built!
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