Can Personal Initiative Training Improve Small Business Success?

Goosain Solomon, Michael Frese, Christian Friedrich, Matthias Glaub
2013 The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation   unpublished
High levels of personal initiative will be required to unlock the potential offered by the many untapped resources in Africa in terms of business opportunities. Significant resources are ploughed into the development of the small business sector by governments in Africa, particularly in South Africa. However, there is little evidence that these efforts are sufficiently effective to produce the desired results. Two issues are addressed in this article: (a) whether or not enhancing the personal
more » ... cing the personal initiative of owner-managers improves the performance of small businesses, and (b) the moderation of the content and effectiveness of a short training intervention by means of a longitudinal evaluation study, including a control group. The findings show an increase in the training group's business activities and performance, and also identify the varied contributions of the components of the training. Introduction Personal initiative (PI) is characterized by a self-starting, proactive (long-term) approach and persistence in overcoming difficulties (Frese and Fay, 2001). This article reports on a study of a training intervention in the Western Cape province in South Africa to show that increasing the PI of owners or managers of firms leads to improved firm performance. The article contributes to an evidence-based management approach (Rousseau, 2006) and provides evidence that changes in PI lead to better management approaches to entrepreneurship. Evidence-based management is needed to provide empirical evidence for the usefulness of a particular management approach (Reay et al, 2009). It is believed that interventions provide support for such an approach, which would be useful, especially in the case of South Africa.