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The Dark Side

Entrepreneurs are achievement oriented, like to take responsibility for decisions and stay in control, and tend to avoid routine work. They typically possess high levels of energy, perseverance and imagination. These traits enable them to transform what may have begun as a very simple, ill-defined idea into a world-beating commercial proposition. Such individuals can often inject their highly contagious enthusiasm into an organisation, conveying a sense of purpose and convincing others of the appeal of working alongside them.

Kets de Vries (1985) noted that entrepreneurs may have personality faults which make them difficult to work with. Their action orientation can result in rather thoughtless outcomes with potentially adverse organisational consequences. Furthermore their sense of certainty can lead them to reject other people’s suggestions or expressions of concern about what is perceived as a high-risk activity. They may also actually distrust others, questioning their motivation in suggesting an alternative idea.

Conger (1999) observed that entrepreneurs’ strong belief in their own ideas can result in a vision which may not always be appropriate and may, at the extreme, result in a failed vision. Reasons for failure can include (1) that the vision reflects incorrect assumptions by the leader, (2) an inability to detect important changes in markets or technologies, (3) a failure to obtain the necessary resources to deliver the vision, (4) an exaggerated sense of the actual future level of market demand and (5) failure to recognise environmental changes requiring a redirection of the proposed vision.

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