MY PERSPECTIVE OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, 1953
With the luxury of freedom from the now completed and defended dissertation, I took time to reflect on what I knew.
The first thing clear in my mind about entrepreneurs, at that time, was that they were different. Another was that they were executives, often founders, who excelled. They made a difference. I would add here that I think that was also the view of Schumpeter, Barnard, Simon, and Papandreau. It seems clear that Barnard was in close association with Schumpeter at Harvard. Barnard does not use the term entrepreneur in his work, but his explanation of intuition really is modeled from Schumpeter. Further, his emphasis on the necessity of executives to continually adjust internal processes to prevailing outside forces, plus his advocacy of their persisting and pushing beyond apparent "limited choices," is a harmonious extension of Schumpeter's concepts. Simon, in contrast, used the term "entrepreneur," sparingly, but interchangeably with manager. He was much more cautious in describing intuition. He interpreted it as the nonrational elements in decision making and action that speed up the process. But it's there also in his recognition that decisions are often made with incomplete information (Simon, 1945). (Simon didn't come up with a solid explanation of intuition until much later when he defined it as a logical and rapid adaptive behavior to the recognition of patterns and their probable outcomesciting that many thousands of these patterns are at the ready by those having a depth of learning and experience (1987)). Papandreau's conversations with me and his work stressing "peak coordinator" concepts show that he also saw entrepreneurs as outstanding executives. We certainly all agreed that they were intuitive.
I saw intuition as at least one common thread weaving
consequential managers and/or consequential leaders into a
seamless cloth called entrepreneurs. They were
wellversed, not easily replaceable people, who
were willing and able to seek and seize opportunities by combing
resources in unique ways. It should be noted here that there is
no mention of "founder," "startup,"
"owner," or similar connotation herenor is there
any mention of such in the literature so far cited.
Nonetheless, I uncovered many founders in my subsequent search
for entrepreneurs, but I never considered it a critical
factor. For founders, it was the kinds of actions
that they took after founding that were the determiners. To
me "entrepreneur" was not a title bequeathed, it was a
title earned by significant performance. In reading
Schumpeter, I got no inkling of any other way to
entitlement. What was good enough for Schumpeter was good
enough for me!
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