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Henley offers scholarships to investigative journalists
Henley offers scholarships to investigative journalists

5 trends that can keep the South African MBA relevant
5 trends that can keep the South African MBA relevant

We need to realign government, business and civil society
We need to realign government, business and civil society

Life as a full-time MBA student
Life as a full-time MBA student

Brexit delay provides breathing space for SA
Brexit delay provides breathing space for SA

MSA joins the ADvTECH family
MSA joins the ADvTECH family

SA plunges to 117 out of 149 in gender wage equality
SA plunges to 117 out of 149 in gender wage equality

UCT’s Executive MBA recognised for its distinctive approach
UCT’s Executive MBA recognised for its distinctive approach

GIBS Executive MBA programme debuts in top 50
GIBS Executive MBA programme debuts in top 50

Can Africa fill the glass?
Can Africa fill the glass?

YALI AFRICA launch at Unisa
YALI AFRICA launch at Unisa

The fake resurrection of South Africa
The fake resurrection of South Africa

Don't panic: The digital revolution isn’t that unusual
Don't panic: The digital revolution isn’t that unusual

Why Agile works
Why Agile works

How firms can avoid the mediocrity trap
How firms can avoid the mediocrity trap

How a 100000-strong company is relearning how to innovate
How a 100000-strong company is relearning how to innovate

The changing shape of the MBA
The changing shape of the MBA

Adding climate change to curriculum is a top priority
Adding climate change to curriculum is a top priority

The MBA should turn you into a business disruptor
The MBA should turn you into a business disruptor

Innovation in SA organisations driven by C-level support
Innovation in SA organisations driven by C-level support

UNISA SBL a torch-bearer of training for military veterans
UNISA SBL a torch-bearer of training for military veterans

Scaling up the MBA for relevance in the 4IR
Scaling up the MBA for relevance in the 4IR

Moody's: SA not out of the woods yet
Moody's: SA not out of the woods yet

GIBS manufacturing-focused MBA kicks off in Durban
GIBS manufacturing-focused MBA kicks off in Durban

Henley’s Makhoalibe selected for sought-after programme
Henley’s Makhoalibe selected for sought-after programme

Personal potential, a source of power
Personal potential, a source of power

Reach your business leadership potential with a MBA from WBS
Reach your business leadership potential with a MBA from WBS

MPC: SA needs a period of stable interest rates
MPC: SA needs a period of stable interest rates

SA’s energy problems just the tip of the iceberg
SA’s energy problems just the tip of the iceberg

What's really driving disruption?
What's really driving disruption?

Why has there been such a failure of leadership?
Why has there been such a failure of leadership?

Steinhoff: Exactly where does responsibility stop and start?
Steinhoff: Exactly where does responsibility stop and start?

The cure for the loneliness of command
The cure for the loneliness of command

How to survive in the age of digital transformation
How to survive in the age of digital transformation

New MBA timetable starts in 2016
New MBA timetable starts in 2016

EVENTS
Henley MBA & PGDIP Preview Day
Henley MBA & PGDIP Preview Day
29 May 2019,
Pretoria

UCT GSB MBA Information Sessions
UCT GSB MBA Information Sessions
15 October 2019,
Johannesburg



03 DECEMBER 2018
What drives great entrepreneurs?
Starting your own business is certainly not for everyone. Yet there are many people who embark on this challenging journey not out of necessity due to poverty, downscaling or retrenchment, but more out of a desperate desire to find meaning in their work and to make a difference.

Research done by USB MBA alumnus David Krige recently found that, following on the philosophy of Viktor Frankl that the search for meaning in one’s life is the primary motivation of man, most entrepreneurs are motivated by purpose rather than money.

This insight is important because the creation of new ventures is of critical importance for economic growth. It is equally important to gain a better understanding of the motivations behind entrepreneurial intent. Results from studies like this will help to improve venture creation and influence the success of entrepreneurship by understanding how to motivate individuals.

Krige’s research shows that to become an entrepreneur requires extraordinary levels of motivation to weather the storm of uncertainty, change and daily challenges. His research also shows that what drives this motivation is meaning and purpose.

His study found that some people who want to become entrepreneurs are indeed driven by financial rewards and that it is not an uncommon phenomenon that people are frustrated with their work and the role that it plays in their lives. However, not everyone starts a new venture as a result thereof. Nor do they venture off with a new business simply because they feel they are not being paid their worth. Ensuring that their work plays an important role in finding meaning in their lives is the largest contributor.

So what is meaning?

Meaning is an incredibly subjective experience. People have different priorities during different stages of their lives – such as providing for a family, starting a career, dealing with a difficult divorce or planning to have a family.

People also define meaning differently; for some it is to make a difference in the world, doing work that is valuable to others, solving a problem or helping others. For others it is the opportunity to make their own decisions, to provide a unique service to the industry, to make a difference in their own lives or to be autonomous.

In his study Krige says for many who ventured on their own, work was just a means to an end, receiving a salary at the end of the month and doing what they were told to do. He says they experienced no meaningfulness in their work. Doing only the bare minimum required from them caused them to stagnate in their careers as they were not challenged to grow.

For other entrepreneurs, although they found meaning in their work, they felt that they could achieve more by starting their own venture.

Krige says one’s regular work could make a difference but on the other hand you could be hindered since you cannot make the decisions that you feel would have a bigger impact. In addition, experiencing a sense of purpose in one’s work or starting a business that has purpose could positively enhance one’s own sense of meaning.

If one’s purpose is to develop things that one believes will add value, one’s work would contribute to a sense of purpose and meaning. Finding the significance in one’s work will translate into life becoming significant.

When is the right time to start your own venture?

Krige suggests it is time to consider entrepreneurship when you are struggling with the following:

Feeling demotivated at work: The biggest reason why employees regard their work as lacking meaning is the feeling of insignificance, which leads to high levels of frustration. The feeling that the work you do does not matter in the bigger picture of the organisation is demotivating.

Feeling that your job does not contribute to the greater good: This happens when work is just a means to an end. Work really is just about earning a salary and doing what you are told to do, which leads to you doing the bare minimum that is required. This can leave you feeling stagnated in your career as you are not challenged to grow.

Feeling that your work does not provide you with a sense of meaning: Work is unfulfilling due to the feeling that work is meaningless. Employees have a sense that they cannot do anything that could have a real impact because things are out of their control. This could also be as a result of working for a big corporation that has specific characteristics. The environment in which work is done has a major impact on the sense of how meaningful the work actually is.

Feeling that you need to do something with more purpose: Some employees find a lot of purpose when they develop things that they believe would add value. Their work needs to contribute towards something new that will add value. In essence, the world will improve and evolve when you are doing meaningful work. If you are not practising that calling, it leaves a gaping hole in the world.

Finding meaning in the work we do

Understanding one’s meaning in life is an everlasting quest for some of us. With the important role that work plays in one’s life, it seems to be the logical place to start this understanding and search for meaning. For some, work might never provide that opportunity; for others it will.

After all, one needs to be the change one wishes to see in the world, according to Gandhi. An entrepreneur, highly motivated by finding meaning, as demonstrated in Krige’s study, is in a better position to bring about that change.

This article is based on research done by USB MBA alumnus David Krige. His supervisor was Prof Mias de Klerk, who is head of Research at USB and who lectures in leadership development, organisational behaviour and human capital management.
Source:

University of Stellenbosch Business School
The internationally accredited University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) offers MBA, Master’s, MPhil and PhD programmes as well as executive education programmes – all focused on the development of business leadership. Visit our InfoCentre or website.

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