One of the mainconcerns of the conceptual work on entrepreneurial competencies and SME successis explaining how the individual characteristics of the owner-manager can leadto the success of the firm. Man et al.
(2002) propose a model that relates theowner-manager’s entrepreneurial competencies to the competitiveness of the firmthrough the owner-manager’s ability to complete three central tasks: formingthe competitive scope of the firm, creating firm organizational capabilitiesand setting goals and taking action. In otherwords, the owner-manager’s entrepreneurial competencies influence how well heor she performs the central tasks that come with the job of being anentrepreneur. Doing the job well should lead to more success. The mostimportant tasks are proposed to be detecting and/or creating opportunities(forming the competitive scope), building an organization that is capable ofexploiting these opportunities (building organizational capabilities) anddriving the process of opportunity exploitation (setting goals and takingaction). There is some evidence for this model’s explanatory power (Man et al.,2008; Sánches, 2012), however, Lans et al.
(2011) found that three competenceareas – analyzing, pursuing and networking, had more explanatory power for theDutch agri-food sector than the six suggested by Man et al. (2002).Anotherapproach is tying entrepreneurial competencies to the entrepreneurial,managerial and technical roles that the SME owner-manager must perform to run asuccessful business (Ahmad et al., 2010; Aisha et al., 2016). Here scholarsattempt to clarifying the relationship between the roles, which competenciesare specific to each role and how they in turn affect business success.
Thisapproach borrows mainly from the small business and managerial literature.A morerecent interest for entrepreneurship scholars is the effect of the externalenvironment on the efficacy of different competencies. The external environmentmay be the business environment (Vijay & Ajay, 2011; Tehseen et al., 2015; Tehseen& Ramaya, 2015; Sajilan et al.
, 2016) or the effect of the surroundingculture (Sajilan & Tehseen, 2015; Muzychenko, 2008). For example, Muzychenko(2008) argues that entrepreneurs need cross-cultural competence due to theincreasing globalization of the economy. Indeed, none of the empirical studiesin this review focus on so-called international new ventures or born globals,i.e. firms that are internationally active within a short time after beingestablished (e.g.
Moen, 2002). Widening the scope of the type of SME consideredin the entrepreneurial competency literature could increase its relevancy forSME owner-managers.Ye et al.(2006) note that entrepreneurship is often a team activity and proposecompetencies on the team and individual level. Not only are the competencies ofthe individual entrepreneur of interest, but that of the entrepreneurial teamas well. Team variables include accurate shared mental models, understandingthe nature of teamwork, knowledge of team goals, objectives and missions, toname a few. This could open the door to borrow insights from behavioral sciencein the longer run.