These are "seminar notes" (revised Sept. '95) introducing and defining the concept of entrepreneurship from a series through the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto, in Canada.
In this course we will examine three types of library entrepreneur:
- the entrepreneur who works outside of the traditional setting and outside the traditional library, and
- the intrapreneur who can work from within an organization, and
- the policy entrepreneur who champions change in public policy.
It is questionable if entrepreneurship can be taught or even clearly defined. Drucker claims it is just systematic innovation. The concept of entrepreneurship is very fuzzy.
- Exercise: Write down your definition of what constitutes entrepreneurship. Write down key phrases.
- Review of definitions.
"The entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield".
- J.B. Say c.1800
"...the entrepreneur must anticipate demand...and bear the risks attendant upon fluctuations in demand".
- The MIT Dictionary of Modern Economics
"Entrepreneurs, those in business for themselves are "the poets and packagers of new ideas, both visualizers and actualizers...The entrepreneur is the new non-violent Change Agent".
- Bob Schwartz in The Aquarian Conspiracy.
"Entrepreneurial activity is more spiritual in that it depends largely on motivational factors in developing a new library product/service"
- Donald E. Riggs
"The entrepreneur is the one to conceive of a new venture, to define and organize it, to finance it, and to assume responsibility for the risk associated with a new undertaking"
- Florence M. Mason
"Change Masters are those people and organizations adept at the art of anticipating the need for, and of leading, productive change".
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter
"Entrepreneurship: Behaviour that is dynamic, risk taking, creative and growth oriented".
"Entrepreneur: A person who displays entrepreneurship and is willing to take action to pursue opportunities in situations others view as problems or threats"
- Schermerhorn. Management for Productivity. p. 698.
The entrepreneur is a person who carries out "new combinations of productive forces or enterprises...The entrepreneur functions as an agent of change in an otherwise repetitive economy...by defining:
- Joseph Schumpeter, The Theory of Economic Development.
- new products or services,
- new methods of production,
- new markets,
- new sources of supply or
- new forms of organization.
Entrepreneurship is sweeping the world. That is, the habit, or response, of enterprise of seeing new needs and services that should be supplied, having the practical follow-through to make sure that they are supplied, and the willingness to take the measured risk to make it happen.
Entrepreneurs can be motivated by money and profit, but they can
also be motivated by a desire to bring about social or community
change. A social entrepreneur takes the entrepreneurial
characteristics of being creative, dynamic and risk taking, and
applies them to being an advocate or a change agent for programs
and services on the leading edge of community or societal
Entrepreneurship in the non-profit sector is motivated
to enhance organizational capacity to achieve goals rather than to
make a profit. This non-profit activity may manifest itself in the
seizing of opportunities to increase revenue through profitable
ventures which will enable the organization to subsidize its
revenue base. Entrepreneurship is also strongly manifested in the
demonstration of innovative and creative responses to social needs
and in advocating for progressive public policy.
"To be an entrepreneur is to take calculated or responsible risks.
Response - Ability
Opportunity Seizing - Capacity Building
"Response-ability is the keynote of entrepreneurial leadership. The
response must be one that is skilled, professional and appropriate
to identified and emerging needs. The ability must be founded on
organizational capacity, legitimacy and integrity.
Creating stable entrepreneurial growth is reliant on a balance
between capacity building and opportunity seizing. The keys to
organizational capacity are flexibility, collaboration, legitimacy,
and structural integrity. To seize opportunities an organization
must be visionary, knowledgeable of its mandate, ethical and
willing to risk.
Organizations must create a balance between capacity building and
opportunity seizing. Let's take a look at the characteristics of
capacity building and opportunity seizing.
Flexibility: Flexibility if the power to fully utilize the
structures built to serve an organization's mission. Administrative
structures, personnel teams, resources, and communications systems
must be designed to shift, maneuver and respond to various needs.
Staff must be flexible in utilizing all their talents and
abilities. A trusting and cooperative staff team is a necessary
part of an agencies capacity to respond to opportunities. There is
no room for rivalry when a team is focused on expansion. An
environment that fosters win-win attitudes will promote
flexibility. Professional development and team building will expand
organizational flexibility. Job descriptions should be designed to
provide time for professional development and special projects.
Collaboration: Although entrepreneurs are assumed to be competitive
individualists effective action, whether as an individual or as an
organization, is based on joint action. An entrepreneur seldom has
all the resources immediately at hand, but must use all the
resources required to achieve objectives. These are obtained
Legitimacy: In order to compete on the leading edge, an
entrepreneur must be credible and have a solid reputation.
Legitimacy must be built through solid professional work, and a
professional network. New businesses or organizations often seek
legitimacy through partnerships with established and reputable
institutions. Primarily legitimacy is built through achievements
and documented successes. Legitimacy is also an image that is built
through marketing and public relations.
Structural Integrity: In order to seize opportunities, the
> >entrepreneur or entrepreneurial organization needs to have the
> >administrative sophistication and structure to handle multiple
> >opportunities and projects.
Vision: In order to be dynamic, creative and growth oriented, an entrepreneur needs a vision of what can be and of what can be
achieved. A vision of where the organization is headed is necessary
to guide the organization to choose the opportunities it wishes to
act upon. A successful entrepreneur cannot just be lead by
opportunity. It must also have a vision of what it wants to
achieve. The vision should be based on data, information,
intelligence and intuition and be developed and shared by as many
stakeholders in the project or organization as possible.
Knowledge of mandate: An entrepreneurial organization needs to know
and clearly understand its position, role and mandate within the
community. A successful entrepreneur does not compete for the sake
of competition. There is little to gain and much to lose by
venturing into areas that are beyond your mandate, or selected area
of expertise, or are the mandate or area of expertise of another
organization. A successful entrepreneur does actively work to
enable others to succeed in their entrepreneurial ventures and
fulfill their mandates.
Ethical: Strong values and a firm ethical base will provide the
entrepreneur with the stability to venture into uncertain and
unfamiliar areas. Honesty and integrity are as important as esteem
and confidence when presenting yourself or your organization to
clients or partners.
Willing to Risk: Venturing into new areas undoubtedly means that
some projects will fail or not materialize. Often it is very
difficult, when you have worked hard on a proposal, to hear that
tender was not accepted or that proposal was rejected. It is
important to be able to learn from mistakes and continue to risk".
- From a Paper of Entrepreneurship by Valerie Bolton.
- Exercise: Entrepreneurship consists of seizing opportunities. An
entrepreneur sees problems as a source of opportunities. Using the
following format list as many problem situations and perceived
opportunities in a library or information service setting as you
Problem Perceived Actions Needed Perceived
opportunities to realize Risk
_________ ____________ _____________ _________
Drucker, Peter F. Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Practice and
Principles. New York, Harper & Row, 1985.
Kilgour, Frederick G. Entrepreneurial Leadership. Library Trends,
Vol. 40, No. 3, Winter, 1992, pp. 457-74.
White, Herbert S. Entrepreneurship and the Library Profession.
Journal of Library Administration, Vol.8(1), Spring, 1987. p.11-27.
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