Antecedents in the Life of Bob Ansett Essay

Topic: Personal, sociological and environmental antecedents have been identified in the entrepreneurial business. You are to find an article on an entrepreneur in a tourism or hospitality business and discuss your entrepreneur’s personal, sociological and environmental antecedents. Personal, sociological and environmental antecedents experienced by an individual and the consequences of these antecedents are critical in determining whether that individual has the capacity to become an entrepreneur or not (Zahra et al. 1999).

For the purposes of this essay, the entrepreneur under discussion is Robert Ansett, an Australian entrepreneur in the transport and tourism industry. The reason for choosing this individual for this is essay is because all three antecedents – personal, sociological and environmental – have played a big role in creating the entrepreneur that is Bob Ansett. Being the chief innovator for 25 years behind the Budget Rent a Car system and expanding this organisation into a worldwide empire from what was initially a small business had allowed Mr. Ansett to possess qualities such as leadership and extensive operational knowledge (Olsen 2010).

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Using real life examples of Mr. Ansett’s career from the article based on his life (from Bob Ansett’s website), this essay will discuss how personal, sociological and environmental antecedents played a part in shaping such this entrepreneurial career. According to Cunningham and Lischeron (1991), an entrepreneur’s personal antecedents relate to his ‘values towards work and life’ (pg 47). They suggest that through relationships with friends and peers, an individual gains values and ideals which determine whether or not he develops the mentality of an entrepreneur.

As well, the role of the family is the most influential antecedent of a personal nature, and can come in the form of motivation and/or financial support (Shapero & Sokol 1982). Bob Ansett was born into the tourism business. He was the son of the late Sir Reg Ansett, founder of Ansett Airlines. Although Bob Ansett was never included in his father’s business activities, he was determined to prove to his father that he too was equally capable of creating a successful empire such as his father’s. Although Mr. Ansett never followed in the footsteps of taking over his father’s company, he recognised his father as a great ntrepreneur and inspired himself to achieve levels of success equivalent to his father’s (Bob Ansett – Spirits of Ansett 2008). Another important personal antecedent to consider is education. Studies by Brockhaus and Horwitz (1986) established that the most promising entrepreneurs are those who have had both appropriate education and previous work experience. According to the chosen article, Mr. Ansett was schooled in the United States and had developed a passion for the business at an early age as well, thus laying the perfect foundation for an entrepreneurial future.

Apart from personal antecedents, sociological antecedents too have a big role in shaping the career of the chosen entrepreneur. Mill (1984) argues that the crucial factor in classifying an individual as an entrepreneur is his tendency to take risk. However, a true entrepreneur takes these risks in a balanced and moderate manner. For example, after joining Budget, Mr. Ansett introduced concepts of franchising, and exporting the business to countries outside of Australia. According to Olsen (2010), the company achieved quick growth and market leadership among its competition as a result of these decisions. Mr.

Ansett made such decisions after analysing the alternatives and the consequences of the final decision, thus making the risk more moderate and a calculated one. A high need for achievement is another quality possessed by Mr. Ansett that led him to become an entrepreneur. Mr. Ansett had a drive for the business at an early age as stated previously, but this hunger for being the best in the business has lasted till today. According to the article, Mr. Ansett had expanded Budget Car Rentals from a two person business to a colossal empire with more than 3000 employees in its command (Bob Ansett’s Achievements – About Bob Ansett n. . ). This innate trait of a high need of achievement was one of the sociological antecedents responsible for the then enormous success of the company. A third sociological antecedent that relates to this entrepreneur is the ability to lead people to achieve a vision. Mr. Ansett was a firm believer in employee relations. He applied the philosophy of taking care of employees to his own leadership style, introducing staff health and fitness programs at Budget. Keeping his employees inspired was one of Mr.

Ansett’s main goals at the company and this resulted in his employees being highly inspired and taking Budget to a strong market position against competitors (Bob Ansett’s Achievements – About Bob Ansett n. d. ). The third category of antecedents that have shaped the career of Bob Ansett’s entrepreneurial career are the environmental antecedents. Studies by Petrof (1981) have shown that whether or not an individual’s father has started a company is the key factor that has an impact on the entrepreneurial process of an individual from an environmental point of view.

This ties in with the personal antecedent as Mr. Ansett was born into a tourism and transport environment with an entrepreneur for a father. Although he started gaining insights of his father’s life only at age 32, this greatly influenced Mr. Ansett’s decision to start his own business and become a profitable entrepreneur like his father (Dynasties – ABC 2006). Additionally socioeconomic conditions were also a favourable antecedent for Mr. Ansett. Ansett Airways was one of the leading airway companies at the time Bob Ansett was born (Ansett Timeline, ABC 2006).

This played a role in motivating Mr. Ansett to create his own empire that would equal his father’s. Thirdly, Davidsson (1991) predicates that if sufficient technical and business skills are not provided at the outset, then an individual’s development into an entrepreneur will be difficult. However, Mr. Ansett was amply provided with the necessary entrepreneurial skills through hands on business experience, starting his company at age 32 and soon leading the company on a continuous upwards scale of growth (Ansett Timeline, ABC 2006).

According to Bob Ansett – ‘When I built up Budget, I was thorough in my research, especially with some key strategic decisions, and this paid off handsomely’ (Olsen 2010). It is this winning attitude along with a combination of personal antecedents such as family background and values, and suitable education along with sociological antecedents such as a moderate affinity towards risk taking, the high need for achievement and visionary leadership complemented by environmental antecedents such as the heritage of entrepreneurial tradition, a favourable brand name image and rovision of ample technical and business skills that qualified Mr. Ansett as a successful entrepreneur in the tourism and transport industry. ____________________________________________________________ _________ List of References Bob Ansett n. d. viewed on 18 July 2010, http://www. bobansett. com. au/ Bob Ansett’s Achievements – About Bob Ansett n. d. viewed on 18 July 2010, http://www. bobansett. com. au/index. php? page=about Brockhaus, RH & Horwitz, PS 1986, ‘The Psychology of the Entrepreneur’, in DL Sexton & RW Smilor (eds), The Art and Science of Entrepreneurship, Ballinger Publishing, Cambridge MA, pp. 5 – 47. Cunningham, JB & Lischeron, J 1991, ‘Defining Entrepreneurship’, Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 45 – 61. Davidsson, P 1991, ‘Continued Entrepreneurship: Ability, need and opportunity as determinants of small firm growth’, Journal of Business Venturing, vol. 6, pp. 405 – 429. Dynasties 2006, ABC, viewed on 18 July 2010, http://www. abc. net. au/dynasties/txt/s1789082. htm Dynasties – The Ansett Family 2006, ABC, viewed on 18 July 2010, http://www. abc. net. au/dynasties/txt/s1789084. htm

Mill, JS 1984, ‘Principles of Political Economy with Some Applications to Social Philosophy’ in Cunningham, JB & Lischeron, J 1991, ‘Defining Entrepreneurship’, Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 45 – 61. Olsen, D 2010, Budget Rent a Car’s Bob Ansett helps companies in new role, viewed 18 July 2010, http://www. dynamicbusiness. com. au/articles/articles-entrepreneur-profile/budget-rent-a-car-bob-ansett-1603. html Petrof, JV 1981, ‘Entrepreneurial Profile: A Discriminant Analysis’, Journal of Small Business Management, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 13 – 17. Shapero, A & Sokol, L 1982, ‘The Social Dimensions of Entreprenuership’ in C Kent, DL Sexton & KH Vesper (eds), Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship, Prentice Hall Inc. , Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, pp. 72 – 90. Bob Ansett 2008, The Spirits of Ansett, viewed on 18 July 2010, http://www. spiritsofansett. com/history/bob_ansett. htm Zahra, SA, Jennings, DF & Kuratko, D 1999, ‘The Antecedents and Consequences of Firm-Level Entrepreneurship: The State of the Field’, Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, vol. 24, pp. 259 – 285.


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