n Management Dynamics : Journal of the Southern African Institute for Management Scientists - Perceptions of an entrepreneurial career : do small business owners and university students concur?

Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1019-567X



An individual's decision to follow a particular career path is influenced by their attitude towards that career, which in turn is influenced by their beliefs or perceptions of whether the experience would be desirable or not if they should choose that particular career. One's perceptions of an entrepreneurial career influence one's intentions to embark on such a career path. Against this background, the primary objective of this study was to identify and evaluate several work values as applicable to an entrepreneurial career.

Respondents were identified by means of convenience and judgemental sampling, and in total, 739 usable questionnaires were returned, 454 from students and 285 from small business owners.
The results of this study show significant differences with regard to how an entrepreneurial career is perceived by students and small business owners. Students were more idealistic in terms of the time that they would have available to them to live a balanced lifestyle, the financial benefits they would receive, the challenges and prestige that they would experience, as well as the possibilities for personal growth and development. Educators of entrepreneurship at primary, secondary and tertiary level, as well as career guidance counsellors, play a vital role in providing a realistic perspective of what it is like to embark on an entrepreneurial career. Unrealistic or unmet career expectations could lead to disappointment and failure.

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