Monday, September 28, 2009

Born Like This: New Study Finds Entrepreneurial Drive Could be Genetic

By: Ben Dockendorff

A recent study suggests that prevalent entrepreneurial traits may be heritable. The study, conducted by Scott A. Shane, made preliminary findings that certain common “entrepreneurial” traits are passed through DNA. These traits include the tendency to identify business opportunities and start new businesses, self employment income, and personality traits such as extraversion, openness, and sensation-seeking. According to the study, there are common underlying genetic schemes that support these characteristics.

Well I guess you can’t argue with DNA, and as the famous Ron Bergundy once said, “It’s science…” But doesn’t circumstance count for something? It has to. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, go getters, and pro-active self starters. These are qualities that—if not acquired early through adopting the values of one’s surroundings—aren’t likely to be acquired at all. An individual’s attitude, perception and values toward money and business are heavily influenced by their parents. While there is a strong link between a parent’s education and the likely education of their children, I would argue the same goes for professional values. It follows then, that an entrepreneurial upbringing fosters an entrepreneurial attitude, and this may have very little to do with DNA.

What happens to a child with the “entrepreneurial” DNA that grows up with a nuclear safety technician father and homemaker-mother? Does this affect the child’s chances of squeezing value from their economically adventurous genes? I suppose the question comes down to “Nature vs. Nurture”—and according to “Wedding Crashers”—nature wins every time.

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