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METHODOLOGY

Sample

The sample was derived from seven countries: Singapore, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, the United States, and Mexico.  Initially, the focus of the study that led to the identification of the socio-cultural items presented above was on countries in East and Southeast Asia.  Gradually, the focus was expanded to include countries on the Pacific Rim, including the NAFTA members plus Australia, and New Zealand, since these countries could serve as a useful source for comparison.  Finally, the recent economic liberalization trends in India led to questions about the South Asian subcontinent that argued for its inclusion.  The presence of these seven countries provides a diversity of stages of economic development, cultures, geographical regions, and political systems.  All seven countries are capitalist in their economic system, a seeming prerequisite for private-sector-based entrepreneurship, though differences in the extent to which the government is involved in the business sector are evident.

Data came from questionnaires completed by students in MBA programs in each of the seven countries.  Data were collected in class if possible and, if not, participants were asked to complete and return the questionnaires on their own time.  Students in MBA programs were chosen as the sample because they should be knowledgeable about the environment for business in their countries.  Also, typical MBA students are in the early to middle parts of their careers, a time at which entrepreneurial thoughts and desires are viewed as high.  The 25-44 age range is widely regarded as a likely time within which many individuals start businesses (Liles, 1974).
 
For this study, 154 questionnaires were collected in Singapore, 176 in Jakarta, Indonesia, 109 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 105 in Manila, the Philippines, 134 in Dhaka, Bangladesh, 118 in Los Angeles, and 127 in Mexico City.  Since our intention was to assess the views of local residents regarding their country's business environment, we included a question on citizenship.  Within each sample, those who were not citizens of the country were excluded from further analysis, leaving 133 Singaporeans, 164 Indonesians, 105 Sri Lankans, 105 Filipinos, 134 Bangladeshi, 98 Americans, and 122 Mexicans in their respective samples.  The profile of the average respondent from each country is presented in Table 1.  This profile shows the Indonesian and Sri Lankan respondents as the oldest on average and with the longest work experience while the Filipinos and Bangladeshis were the youngest and had the shortest work experience.  The Philippines had the highest number of female respondents, followed by the USA while the rest of the countries were similar in their percentages of females.  The Indonesians, Singaporeans, and Sri Lankans tended to be married while the respondents from the rest of the countries tended to be single.  The Americans and Mexicans were the most likely to have owned a business.

TABLE 1
Demographic Characteristics of the Country Samples
 
 
 
  Singapore Indonesia Sri Lanka Philippines Bangladesh Mexico USA
Age 31.45 33.07 34.41 27.63 27.72 28.57 30.09
Sexa  1.19 1.17 1.14 1.52 1.14 1.18 1.36
Maritalb  1.39 1.45 1.32 1.74 1.76 1.66 1.66
Years Worked 7.46 8.8 10.42 5.85 3.12 6.81 6.81
Own a Businessc  1.18 1.26 1.21 1.25 1.27 1.46 1.46
               

a M=1, F=2
b Married=1, Single=2
c Never=1, In the past=2, Now=3

Measures

Identification of measures:  Since the primary focus for data-gathering for the project was in Asian countries, the authors sought to develop a perspective that was informed by Asian thinking.  To start, informal discussions were held with 20 faculty members at a university in Singapore (9 Singaporean Chinese, 2 Malaysian Chinese, 2 from South Asia, 2 Chinese, and 5 from Western countries) to ask the question: "What factors in an Asian country's environment would affect people's interest in starting a business?"  Next, informal discussions were held with entrepreneurs who came into contact with the university's center for entrepreneurship.  Developing ideas were then presented to Singaporean Chinese students in four undergraduate tutorial sections of 20 students each and in two MBA courses of 20-25 students each.  Finally, the topic was discussed in a three-hour faculty development seminar attended by 22 faculty members of a graduate school of management in Indonesia.  This process, in combination with the literature review discussed earlier, served to identify dimensions thought to be relevant.
 
Since few studies have been conducted in this area, few measures exist for the constructs of interest.  Therefore, the research relied primarily on measures that were developed specifically for this project.  In the area of socio-cultural influences, we developed four four-item scales, one each to represent the social status of entrepreneurship, the value placed on innovation, the shame associated with failure, and the importance of work in society.  The 16 items generated to measure these constructs were included in exploratory factor analyses using varimax rotation, with separate analyses conducted for each country in the sample in order to test the degree of similarity across countries in the items loading on each factor.  Since the factors that emerged were generally similar across the seven countries, the data from the countries were combined and factor analyzed.  The overall factor structure evident in the scree plots indicated that the three-factor solution best depicted the data.  This factor structure is presented in Table 2.

 
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