Seeing What's Not THere: The Enigma of Entrepreneurship


  • JoAnn C. Carland Western Carolina University
  • James W. Carland Western Carolina University
  • Wayne H. Stewart University of North Texas


The process is clear: entrepreneurs initiate business ventures. What is not clear is why they do so. The debate continues to rage about entrepreneurial behavior and this singular act of individual volition which is so vital to a nation's economic health and well being. The drives and personalities continue to be debated. Gartner (1988) asks, "Can one know the dancer from the dance?"  Is it even important to try? Carland, Hoy and Carland (I 988) think it is essential because one cannot understand the dance without  understanding the dancer.

We think that the dance takes on the personality of the dancer. It is the dancer who interprets the dance and each artist makes the process his or her own. If we seek to understand the entrepreneurial process, we must have some insight into the entrepreneurial psyche. This is especially true if we wish to design educational and training programs for prospective and practicing entrepreneurs.

In this work, we empirically examine 502 owner/managers of small businesses. We identify entrepreneurial vision, the ability to see what is not there, as their commonality. We empirically /ink that vision to the entrepreneurial psyche and use that to build insight into the entrepreneurial enigma, the process  of entrepreneurship.


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How to Cite

Carland, J. C., Carland, J. W., & Stewart, W. H. (1996). Seeing What’s Not THere: The Enigma of Entrepreneurship. Journal of Small Business Strategy (archive Only), 7(1), 1–20. Retrieved from