Against the background of reports such as the Global entrepreneurship monitor (Foxcroft, Wood, Kew, Herrington&Segal 2002) and the World competitiveness report (2003), indicating that South African small businesses lag behind their counterparts worldwide with entrepreneurship, the research questions driving this study were: · What is unique about creativity in the entrepreneurship domain i.e., can creativity as a concept be uniquely delimited in order to contribute towards the development of the concept of entrepreneurial skills? · What are the perceptions among South African small business owners of their own creativity and their application of it? · What are the implications of the above for the development of entrepreneurs? A literature study of the entrepreneurship theory pointed to a number of unique concepts considered as crucial to venture growth, namely, sustained opportunity exploitation and maximisation which could be regarded as the “creative” activities of the entrepreneur. The entrepreneurial process was investigated to establish the entrepreneurial tasks and processes underlying opportunity exploitation and venture growth maximisation. Apart from depicting activities such as opportunity identification, development and refinement of the business concept, assessment and acquiring of the necessary resources and implementation, the literature seemed vague and referred more often to skills required for the above tasks, such as entrepreneurial skills and management skills. It was established that entrepreneurial skills include, inter alia, creativity, visioning, risk taking and role modelling. The creative process activities were linked with those of the entrepreneurial process to establish whether there are unique entrepreneurial applications of creativity. The following “creative acts” were identified as critical in the entrepreneurship domain: · “creation of a business/opportunity”, · “synthesis” i.e., the putting together of systems/resources and even opportunities, and · “modification” i.e., the adapting, changing of processes, etc., to realise growth. The current situation pertaining to entrepreneurship training and development was investigated to establish whether the above was addressed in the existing training models and learning contents of the domain. It was concluded that despite great advancement having been made in the training and development of creativity and innovation in the entrepreneurship domain, the experiential element of applying the activities of creation, synthesis and modification in order to obtain sustained venture growth is difficult to address in formal learning programmes. Against the background of research (Jung, Ehrlich, Noble&Baik 2001:42) that found that there were positive relationships between an individual’s level of self-efficacy and performance, South African small business owners’ perceptions of their own creativity, their businesses’ innovativeness and their implementation orientation was tested empirically. It was found that South African small business owners perceived themselves to be creative and their businesses to be reasonably innovative but that there was a negative relationship between these two perceptions and the implementation orientation. The high esteem of own creativity and innovation versus a lower implementation orientation is indicative of a need to develop experiential training programmes focused on the implementation of creative activities i.e., commercialisation of products and application of innovation in businesses. In view of the high esteem South African small business owners have of their own creativity, the question is posed as to whether they would be willing to undergo training because they might think they do not need training in this field. In view of the difficulties of incorporating experiential learning content in formal training programmes it is proposed that the possibility of integrated learning be investigated and developed to include business information centres, networking, linkages, mentoring and tutoring. Copyright
Thesis (PhD (Entrepreneurship))--University of Pretoria, 2005.