Difference in Childhood Experiences Between Entrepreneurs and Corporate Employees

Using the findings of the survey, we conducted a discriminant analysis via SPSS among two groups: entrepreneurs (Group 1) and corporate employees (Group 2).

The following eight were selected as predictor variables after eliminating "mother’s occupation," a variable that was deemed impossible to analyze as a large number of both groups included mothers who were homemakers. First, we analyzed the differences between groups by examining univariate statistics. The results are summarized in Figure 2-2.

Tests for univariate equality of group means
(Discriminant groups=occupation(1,2) )

Prediction variable F Significance  
Father's occupation 16.4982 0.0001 ***
Entrepreneurial experience 14.9174 0.0001 ***
Family help experience 2.5532 0.1621  
Neighborhood help experience 1.9621 0.1109  
Overseas experience 0.0755 0.7836  
Family tragedies 7.1359 0.0079 **
Illness, injury 3.4570 0.0637  
Award experience 11.1508 0.0009 **

* p< 0.05
** p< 0.01
***p< 0.001

From the F values and their significance tests for the equality of group means for each variable, the following four variables out of the eight may be deemed to have different mean values for entrepreneurs and corporate employees: "father's occupation," "entrepreneurial experience," "family tragedies," and "award experience." This is because the hypothesis that all group means are equal is rejected when the observed significance level is smaller than 0.05.

Next, we used the stepwise method to select the variables for group separation. As a result, predictor variables "father's occupation," "entrepreneurial experience," "family tragedies," and "award experience" were selected in that order. The above Figure 2-2 corroborates that the two groups show different mean values for all of these variables.

Figure 2-3 shows how much these four predictor variables contribute to discriminant functions by examining the correlations between the values of the function and the values of the variables.

Pooled within-groups correlations
between discriminating variables and canonical discriminant functions

Rank Variable Func 1
1 Entrepreneurial experience 0.57738
2 Father's occupation 0.54020
3 Award experience -0.45863
4 Family tragedies 0.37197

It is clear that the variable "entrepreneurial experience" had the highest correlation with discriminant function, followed by "father's occupation." "Award experience" had the third largest correlation in absolute value. The negative sign indicates that the small function values are associated with the entrepreneurs, and larger values are associated with the corporate employees. "Family tragedies" such as divorce, death, bankruptcy, and loss of employment were the fourth largest contributing factor to discriminant function.

Furthermore, we classified the above four variables using the Mahalanobis' distance (D2) , a method to measure the generalized distance between two groups. The results are summarized in Figure 2-4 below.

Classification results

Actual group No. of cases Predicted group membership
    1 2
Group 1 : Entrepreneurs 206* 125
Group 2 : Corporate Employees 216* 67

Percent of "grouped" cases correctly classified: 64.93%

* After processing 470 cases, 48 cases were excluded from the analysis by at least one missing variables for the predictor variables or the variable that defines the groups. Thus, we analyzed 422 cases.

Of 206 cases in Group 1 (Entrepreneurs), 125 were predicted correctly to be members of Group 1 (60.7%), while 81 (39.3%) were assigned incorrectly to Group 2 (Corporate Employees). Similarly, 149 out of 216 cases (69.0%) were identified correctly, and 67 (31.0%) were misclassified. The overall percentage of cases classified correctly is 64.93% (274 out of 422).

It should be noted that in this survey, we intentionally distributed questionnaires to a large number of corporate employees who presently aspire to become entrepreneurs. We analyzed the childhood experiences of corporate employees who aspire to become entrepreneurs and those who do not. Therefore, the sample group of corporate employees may not necessarily coincide with a typical, average Japanese corporate employee, but may show stronger intentions of becoming entrepreneurs. In other words, if discriminant analysis had been carried out targeting typical corporate employees and entrepreneurs, more striking differences between the two groups may have emerged.

Differences in Childhood Experiences between Corporate Employees Who Aspire to Become Entrepreneurs and Those Who do not.

In the classification results featured in Figure 2-4, 31.0% of the current corporate employees were identified as entrepreneurs. By asking corporate employees, "Do you want to become an entrepreneur in the future?" we divided them into two groups and attempted a discriminant analysis. Current corporate employees who aspire to become an entrepreneur are thought to have a clear image of an entrepreneur. If the childhood experiences of such subjects aspiring to become entrepreneurs could be discriminated from those not aspiring to become entrepreneurs, then childhood experiences could be said to play an even larger role in forming the image of an entrepreneur. A discriminant analysis was carried out using a procedure similar to the one used for entrepreneur groups and corporate employee groups. The mean age of corporate employees aspiring to become entrepreneurs (Group 2.1) was 34.8 years, while those not aspiring to become entrepreneurs (Group 2.2) was 36.5 years.

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Last Updated 3/10/97 by Cheryl Ann Lopez

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