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culture and entrepreneurship

Page history last edited by Brian D Butler 9 years, 5 months ago


see also:  Culture, Economic Development and Trade





Culture and Entrepreneurship 



Importance of "risk-taking"



Entrepreneurship is about taking risk. The behavior of the entrepreneur reflects a kind of person willing to put his or her career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending much time as well as capital on an uncertain venture.  What are the cultural links between risk aversion and entrepreneurship?  Are some cultures more likely to produce more risk takers (and hence entrepreneurs)?  Join our discussion on the important link between culture and entrepreneurship.



risk, culture in emerging markets:


In many emerging economies, business tends to be dominated by a closed elite hostile to new entrepreneurs—and failure is stigmatised, rather than being a badge of honour, as it is in Silicon Valley.



risk and entrepreneurhsip culture in the USA: 


Is there something about the cultural element in the US that makes people more inclined to take risks?  I believe that the US has a culture where its an honor to have tried and failed, or to have come from "rags to riches".  Americans wear their "poor roots" as a badge of honor, where many in latin america would be ashamed to have come from poverty to wealth.  It would be something kept secret, rather than worn as a bade of honor.  How about taking risks, starting up a company, and failing?  Is there a cultural element in the US that makes this more possible than in other countries?  If so, then the questions is that...if entrepreneurship is so key to creating wealth, then can other countries encourage risk taking by changing educational emphasis?   On the surface you might say "no", but take a look at the article below...is it possible that if the US can "unlearn" this unique trait, that other countries might be ablt to learn it?...


This is a copy of an interesting viewpoint on the potential decline of entrepreneurship in the USA, and the causes (educational, cultural):


"Despite how U.S. students continue to lag far behind those in Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan in math and science and score comparable to European students (The New York Times, 11/14/07), I was never concerned about the welfare of our nation. Even though, formore than a decade, U.S. students typically placed outside the top ten in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS).  Why wasn’t I worried? The U.S. still leads in the number of patents awarded, in its disproportionate amount of Nobel Prize winners in the sciences, and in the number of entrepreneurial ventures started each year. The U.S. rewards creativity with programs and prizes such as the MacArthur Fellows Program and numerous “entrepreneur of the year” awards. Confident about our unique culture and emphasis on creativity and entrepreneurship, I strongly believed that our national innovation engine would continue to lead in technology and entrepreneurship for decades to come.


However, recently I have begun to feel as though I am on shaky ground, confronting fears of collapse in our city on the hill. The current crop of U.S. students – what should become the next generation of scientists and entrepreneurs – shows strong characteristics that counter the unique culture of innovation on which our country built itself, and our future is at risk.


Of late, we have recognized a trend among these student organizers, who are ambitious leaders on their campuses. Over the past five years there has been a change in their mentality. More and more, the student leaders were asking for guidance and hand-holding throughout the effort of organizing this conference. In high schools, she also saw recent changes in students, where they want more guidance and reveal an increasing fear of failure


Some of the key characteristics she chronicled: the Fellows’ ability to take risks, and how they built resiliency. Resiliency comes from facing your mistakes and failures, and learning that failure is a path to success. Being resilient and able to take risks are characteristics that are also clearly necessary for entrepreneurship, as most successful entrepreneurs have failed at least once. From numerous veterans of Silicon Valley to local hometown entrepreneurs, failure is a badge of honor. 


Yet for the past decade, we have been conditioning our next generation of would-be leaders, entrepreneurs, and scientists to avoid risks by letting them opt out of classes or exams they might not ace, we’ve been protecting them from failure with grade inflation, and we’ve been inflating their self-worth with scoring adjustments....recent entrants from Generation Y into the workplace. He said that companies have had to adjust because this was the first generation parented by “soccer moms” – every minute of their children’s lives have been scripted and scheduled from soccer to piano to church activities to social events.  “The kids are dropped off and picked up and taken to the next event on the schedule. They have not learned how to spontaneously organize or manage themselves, and so when they enter the workplace, they need more instruction, structure, and coddling. Also because their parents have so managed the risks they face and so trying things that might result in failure is absolutely terrifying,” he explained. He continued to state that this group’s strengths are multi-tasking, grew up in diversity, more optimistic than the previous generation, and can be

very self-confident.


The parents of this generation have created a competitive frenzy for schooling and an abundance of “high achievers.” At the same time, they have promoted an environment of dependency on a parental figure, which is what I’ve been experiencing first-hand.  Today, failure is still accepted in our society. But burgeoning undercurrents from our education system and the latest parental practices are threatening this valuable idea – that failure and

learning from it can lead to success – which helps fuel our national innovation engine.


I am deeply concerned about the future of innovation and entrepreneurship in our nation, which is so strongly tied to its economic growth.  To reestablish ourselves, we need a closer examination of our education system – and possibly wholesale changes in testing, grading, and teaching. For every Mark Zuckerberg or Matt Mullenweg who rises up from today’s generation of students, hundreds of thousands of future entrepreneurs, scientists, and leaders are not able to overcome their conditioning of dependency and doubt. My fear is that we are creating a nation of “nontrepreneurs,” and that because of our eroding entrepreneurial spirit we are losing future contributors to not only the U.S., but to the world.


(originally posted at Insidework) posted by Bernard Moon































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