Maybe Travis Kalanick and Steve Jobs were onto something.
According to a review by researchers at Aston Business School in the U.K. and Kansas State University in the U.S., even after controlling for gender, education level, and gross domestic product per capita, there are more entrepreneurs in countries where ruthless business traits are held in higher esteem.
According to data gathered by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor consortium, a study group coordinated out of the Aston Business School and the University of Strathclyde Business School, about one in eight people in the U.S. have set up their own business. The same organization said that the figure is closer to one in four in places like Belize, Burkina Faso and Peru.
Charisma is seen as a desirable trait in most areas of the world. Simply by the dint of his personality, audacious deals for his Virgin group of companies—including plans for space travel have bene brokered by Richard Branson and other bosses like him. But the survey showed that in countries with more entrepreneurs, characteristics vital to self-preservation are more highly valued.
“You need to be a bit guarded, competitive and hard-nosed”
“You need to be able to elicit co-operation from others, but at the same time, you can’t give too much away, so you need to be a bit guarded, competitive and hard-nosed,” said Ute Stephan, a professor at Aston Business School. “When these two things come together in a culture, that’s when you have the highest entrepreneurship rates.”
In addition to charisma, defined as demonstrating integrity and inspiration to employees, highly valued in places such as Denmark, Finland and South Korea, the people in Asian, Middle Eastern and Latin American countries were likely to say they valued self-protectiveness in leaders—characterized by face-saving behavior that could spark conflict.
“I see a lot more collaboration in the U.K.”
A third of adults in the country are entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs and the study points to this country as an example. The country has double the proportion of entrepreneurs compared to Croatia with GDP per capita at $22,400, while Chile’s GDP per capita is at $24,000.
According to the review, while Croatians tend more towards “nice” bosses, Chile’s people prefer strong-willed leaders. In the U.S., people put less of a premium on strong-willed leaders and Chile’s proportion of entrepreneurs is around 10 percentage points higher than the U.S., even though the later also has a similar GDP growth rate to the U.S.
the U.K.—which has similar rates of entrepreneurship— was the place where Sarat Pediredla, 36, born in India, had moved to in the late 1990s. Now, he has experienced life working in offices in the U.K., U.S., and India as chief executive of app developer Hedgehog Lab.
“In the west, we’re a lot more diplomatic,” he said. “In India, it’s very cut-throat in terms of the competition. I see a lot more collaboration in the U.K. than in other cultures.”
(Adapted from Bloomberg)