Entrepreneurs are the same the world over, although identical companies obviously cannot be found. However the spirit of enterprise, glorified by numerous theorists and a reality in thousands of firms, effectively has common features which cross over borders and continents. Nevertheless there is not a great deal of proof of this.
This is what makes it interesting to read Achievement Motivation, Strategic Orientations, and Business Performance in Entrepreneurial Firms: How Different are Japanese and Americans Founders?, a study carried out by four authors scattered among three research institutes: Rohit Deshpandé, Amir Grinstein from Ben-Gurion University, Sang-Hoon Kim from Seoul National University and Elie Ofek from Harvard.
The aim of the research was to understand whether there are differences in strategic decisions and in orientations, as well as in the results, between American and Japanese firms, with special focus on the motivation of the so-called “founders” of the same firms. Nothing theoretical however, seeing that the analysis was performed with a survey among 397 Japanese and 189 American “founders”.
The results in some respects were surprising. Although located in culturally different countries, the Japanese and US entrepreneurs have in fact similar styles which lead to subsequent decisions.
The authors give examples. In Japan and the USA success always comes via customer care and costs limitation; while the focus on levels of technology is inversely proportional to the profitability levels.
Above all however, what emerges from the over 500 interviews is that enterprising spirit which leads people of different cultures and lifestyles to the same decision and behaviour modes. An instinct, a feeling, drive, initiative which are virtually identical connotations of entrepreneurs in any part of the world. A kind of pervasive magic which surprises and is repeated each day.
Rohit Deshpandé, Amir Grinstein, Sang-Hoon Kim and Elie Ofek
International Marketing Review, Volume 30/3, 2013.