Entrepreneurship is change, and specifically at the personal level, it is about the entrepreneur as the agent of change. This personal entrepreneurial act is essential for entrepreneurship to occur.
Through time, and in particular from the 1980s, the focus of research was on answering the question of what the characteristics of an entrepreneur are. The initial answers from psychology were not conclusive. However, meta-analysis studies have lately shown that some of the psychology concepts used, have merit and can thus be used to explain entrepreneur behaviour. Most of the psychology stream of research concerned itself mainly with the intentions or attitude of being entrepreneurial. Yet, it is the doing or execution of the entrepreneurial task, in the context of a dynamic entrepreneurial process that will be the focus of this research. Grounded in the psychology of human agency theory, this research seeks to understand and clarify the construct of entrepreneur behaviour and validate a measurement scale for personal entrepreneur behaviour.
The gap in the literature that this research will address is the lack of a systematically developed theoretical model of personal entrepreneur behaviour and a validated measurement scale. This research will thus be guided by two questions, namely of clarifying, at first, what is personal entrepreneur behaviour, and secondly, how to measure personal entrepreneur behaviour during the initial dynamic stages of the entrepreneurial process.
The importance of the study is found in the answers that it will provide to researchers, educators, entrepreneurs, and funders on the testing of a theoretical model and validated measurement of personal entrepreneur behaviour.
The items used for the personal entrepreneur behaviour scale were taken from existing scales as found in a review of the extant literature on entrepreneur behaviour. A combined purposive and convenience non-probability sample was then drawn of founders or owners of small firms in South Africa. The dimensionality and psychometric properties of the scale were established with the use of exploratory and confirmatory structural equation modelling. Structural equation modelling was also employed to test the relationships between the concepts of the personal entrepreneur behaviour construct.