Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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Entrepreneurial Potential in Transition Economies: A View from Tomorrow’s Leaders
Vol. Volume 7, Number 4 December/2002

Stephen L. Mueller and Sreæko Goiæ
Entrepreneurial activity is believed to be a fundamental force in the transformation of societies and economies in the former communist countries towards free markets and democracy. However, little is actually known about the situation in the transition countries with regard to entrepreneurial assets. Specifically, little research or analysis has been conducted to determine what effect, if any, does culture and political-economic history have on potential for entrepreneurship. Based on the results of a seventeen-country study of business students' attitudes and perceptions about entrepreneurship, this paper analyzes and compares the potential for entrepreneurship in six transition countries. Substantial differences were found among these transition countries with respect to entrepreneurial potential with Romania ranking first, Slovenia and Poland ranking second and third, Croatia and the Czech Republic ranking fourth and fifth, and Russia ranking sixth. The findings suggest that among these particular transition countries, differences in entrepreneurial potential are best explained by the current level of economic development and not by other country specific factors such as culture and previous experience with a market economy.