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Mokhtar, A 2017, 'A study of competencies that influence entrepreneur performance in retail business ventures in Malaysia', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright A Mokhtar 2017


The aim of this research is to investigate the key competencies that influence the performance of entrepreneurs in retail businesses in Malaysia. The objective is to determine competencies that need to be given greater emphasis in the training and development of potential new entrants in the field of entrepreneurship. Competencies have been identified in many studies to be an important aspect of performance, and identifying key competencies for retail entrepreneurs from a Malaysian perspective will help in strengthening the development process of entrepreneurs in this field.

Interest in the study initially stemmed from the need to create more entrepreneurs as stated in Malaysia’s New Economic Model (NEM) and the focus on developing a strong and sustainable wholesale and retail sector under its national economic transformation initiative, the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

This study is positivist explanatory research with the objective of acquiring evidence in supporting an hypothesised relationship between two or more variables. A survey was carried out based on convenience sampling with 241 respondents from the Klang Valley area in Malaysia. They provided input based on their experience as active retail entrepreneurs identifying what they perceived as important competencies for the success of entrepreneurs in retail businesses.

The competencies identified for the survey are based on the competency pyramid model for entrepreneurs and retailing by the United States (US) Department of Labour, Employment and Training Administration (DOLETA). Five competency clusters were selected for the study – personal, academic, workplace, technical entrepreneurship and retailing – within which 31 sub-competencies were identified.

Integrating the competency findings for retail entrepreneurs in Malaysia, the study has successfully developed a model – The Competencies for Retail Entrepreneurs in Malaysia (CREIM). This model shows the influence of the five competency clusters (in order of correlation): Entrepreneur Technical Competencies, Retailing Competencies, Personal Effectiveness Competencies, Workplace Competencies and Academic Competencies. From these five clusters a significant relationship with entrepreneurship performance was evident with the following variables, Marketing (Entrepreneurship Technical Competencies), Sales (Retailing Competencies), Business Fundamentals and Networking (Workplace Competencies), Adaptability and Flexibility; Ambition and Interpersonal Skills and Teamwork (Personal Effectiveness Competencies) and Science and Technology, and Writing (Academic Competencies).

The findings reveal an opportunity for policy makers and trainers/coaches in the field of entrepreneurship development to give greater emphasis to competencies which are more relevant to entrepreneurial performance in retailing.