DOES SPIRITUALITY HAVE A PLACE IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP BEHAVIOR? DISCUSSION
SB’s defines an entrepreneur as a person with abundant energy, philanthropic in nature, able to develop himself/herself, has a system and is willing to invest.
“In my opinion the concept of entrepreneurship embraces the following elements: abundance; balance, in terms of physiology, spiritual and mental aspects; and societal responsibility. If focus is on selfinterest, one becomes selfish. When a member of society benefits do not expect a reward in kind from that person as the person to reward you is God himself. An entrepreneur must develop people first so that businesses can develop”.
SB believes that knowledge must be applied and appreciates the learning experience in all stages of her life. From her experiences gleaned since childhood she developed these principles: (i) striving for more enables you acquire more; (ii) when you gain more you can give more; (iii) a set of facts if seen from a different perspective can provide an opportunity; (iv) application of knowledge learnt from many sources in business is vital; (v) the end result must have a positive spill over effect on society; (vi) to manage finances well bearing in mind that tough times may occur; (vii) to always invoke the blessings of God in all endeavors and do everything for the sake of God and God alone.
An entrepreneur to qualify as one must generate something ‘new’. It is argued that SB qualifies as one as her innovation is in the form of operational and logistical innovation. Operational and logistical innovation takes place when a product or service is delivered in a new way. Her method of training her down-line and society focuses not on the product but on development of the person whereby the product is promoted as a means to achieve that end. In the process, she has Islamized the training process and motivational talks she conducts for her down-line. Thus worship has been merged with business successfully.
An analysis of SB’s transcript was then compared against the findings of Rae and Carswell. Similar themes were extracted. However, there were distinct themes that appeared from the interview with SB; one was that of the concept of God in business. This concept allows religion to be intertwined with business and direct the path or course of its implementation or flow. SB felt that the multilevel marketing system enables her to work collectively or ‘jemaah’ with others to improve their businesses together as business in her opinion is not a sole effort and is dependant upon others. In addition, since everything is done seeking God’s grace, every effort is a joy and not a burden. Another theme extracted from the interview was that an entrepreneur could be taught. SB had some qualities required of an entrepreneur; was competitive and loved to learn; however she lacked confidence, communication skills and the knowledge to do business. The multilevel marketing system allowed her to learn from mentors, trainers, on the job experience on how to communicate better and how to do business. Most important she gained her confidence. The last theme extracted from the interview is the concept of balance in an entrepreneur with respect to the physiological, spiritual and mental aspects. When balance is achieved, one experiences challenges but never pressure or stress.