Entrepreneur’s Personality Traits and Firm Performance of Malaysian Smes: Mediated by Market Orientation





Entrepreneurs, Malaysian SMEs, Personality Traits, Market Orientation, Firm Performance


Purpose: This study aims to recognize crucial factors related with entrepreneurs, based on the Malaysian SMEs. The study also explores the factors affecting entrepreneurs and their success. Understanding their crucial success factors and challenges can help us better understand entrepreneurs' personality traits and strategic orientation needed by them.


Theoretical framework:  This study indicates the remaining ideas, particularly those related to resource acquisition, entrepreneurship strategy, and organization, may be helpful in analyzing how, why, and when opportunities are taken advantage of. This study demonstrates that strategic decisions act as a mediator in the relationships between resource endowments and company performance.


Design/methodology/approach: Data from SME’s owners and senior managers Malaysian businesses were gathered through a countrywide survey. The Malaysian Statistical Department's database provided the sample frame from which SMEs' population was counted. These SMEs were chosen at random; they worked in the manufacturing sector. The final group of SMEs to which the surveys were sent out consisted of 800 people, and 412 of them responded, or 64% of the total number. A 7-point Likert scale was used to create the questionnaire.


Finding: The study has discovered that relationship of need for cognition (NFC) and firm performance (FP) are partially mediated by market orientation (MO). Meaning, MO is partially mediated in the decision of NFC towards FP. It is strongly suggested that business owners who have NFC may have carefully considered the advantages of MO before deciding to implement MO as their strategic orientations. In actuality, the organization favors and emphasizes tasks that require developing original solutions to challenges. Additionally, they excel at solving complicated issues.


Research,  Practical  &  Social  Implication: The  study  contributes  to  a  better understanding entrepreneurs crucial success factors and challenges can help us better understand entrepreneurs' personality traits and strategic orientation needed by them.


Originality/value: This finding might serve as a guide for how strategic orientations should be implemented in any organization. The choice of a suitable orientation within the business is essential in a collectivist society like Malaysia since the employer-employee connection is viewed as a "family link" where it is crucial that there be confidence between the two parties and encourages both sides to take initiative at work.


Download data is not yet available.


Adams, P., Freitas, I. M. B., & Fontana, R. (2019). Strategic orientation, innovation performance and the moderating influence of marketing management. Journal of Business Research, 97, 129-140.

AgileChilli, 2017, Main Challenges facing Food Manufacturing Companies in 2017. http://agilechilli.com/news/main-challenges-facing-food-manufacturing-companies-in-2017/

Ahmad, N. H. 2007. A Cross Cultural Study of Entrepreneurial Competencies and Entrepreneurial Success in SMEs in Australia and Malaysia. PhD Dissertation of University of Adelaide.

Alam, S.S., 2010. Assessing Barriers of Growth of Food Processing SMIs in Malaysia: A Factor Analysis. International Business Research, 4(1), pp.252.

Alchian, A.A. and Demsetz, H., 1972. Production, information costs, and economic organization. The American economic review, 62(5), pp.777-795.

Amit, R., and Schoemaker, P. J. 1993. Strategic Assets and Organizational Rent. Strategic Management Journal, 14, pp.33-46.

Baber, R., Kaurav, R. P. S., & Paul, J. (2020). Impact of individual market orientation on selling and customer orientation. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 28(4), 288-303.

Barney, J. 1991. Firm Resources and Sustained Competitive Advantage. Journal of management, 17(1), pp.99-120.

Baumeister, R. F. (2016). Toward a general theory of motivation: Problems, challenges, opportunities, and the big picture. Motivation and Emotion, 40(1), 1-10.

Bhuian, S. N., Menguc, B., and Bell, S. J. 2005. Just entrepreneurial enough: the moderating Effect of entrepreneurship on the relationship between market orientation and performance. Journal of Business Research, 58 (1), pp.9-17.

Cacioppo, J. T. and Petty, R. E. 1982. The need for cognition. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, pp.116-131.

Cacioppo, J.T., Petty, R.E., Kao, C.F. and Rodriguez, R. 1986. Central and peripheral routes to Persuasion: An Individual Difference Perspective, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51(5), pp.1032-43.

Cacioppo, J. T., Petty, R. E., Feinstein, J. A. and Jarvis, W. B. G. 1996. Dispositional differences in cognitive motivation: The Life Times of Individuals Varying in Need for Cognition. Psychological Bulletin, 119(2), pp.197-253.Chandrakumara et al., 2011

Creswell, J. W. 2009. Research design: qualitative, quantitative and mix methods approaches, Los Angeles, Sage Publications, Inc.

Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), 2011. Economic Census. Department of Statistics, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Didonet, S. R., Fearne, A., & Simmons, G. (2020). Determining the presence of a long-term/short-term dilemma for SMEs when adopting strategic orientation to improve performance. International Small Business Journal, 38(2), 90-110.

Di Zhang, D., and Bruning, E. 2011. Personal characteristics and strategic orientation: entrepreneurs in Canadian manufacturing companies. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 17(1), pp.82-103.

Estelami, H. (2020). The effects of need for cognition, gender, risk preferences and marketing education on entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

Grimmer, L., Miles, M. P., Byrom, J., & Grimmer, M. (2017). The impact of resources and strategic orientation on small retail firm performance. Journal of Small Business Management, 55, 7-26.

Hair, J.F., Black, W.C., Babin, B.J., Anderson, R.E. and Tatham, R.L., 2010. Multivariate Data Analysis: A Global Perspective, 7th ed., New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education Inc.

Hamzah, M. I., Othman, A. K., & Hassan, F. (2020). Mediating effects of individual market orientation on the link between learning orientation and job performance. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 35(4), 655-668. https://doi.org/10.1108/JBIM-08-2018-0239

Hashim, M. K., and Abdullah, M. S. 2000. A proposed framework for redefining SMEs in Malaysia: One industry, one definition. Asian Academy of Management Journal, 5(1), pp.65-79.

Herath, H. M. A., and Mahmood, R. 2013. Strategic orientation based research model of SME performance for developing countries. Review of Integrative Business and Economics Research, 2(1), pp.430-440.

Hooi, L. W. 2006. Implementing e-HRM: the readiness of small and medium sized manufacturing companies in Malaysia. Asia Pacific Business Review, 12(4), pp.465-485.

Hoq, M. Z., Che Ha, N. and Mohd Said, S. 2009. SMEs in the Malaysian economy. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 1, pp.3-17.

Hoq, M. Z.,and Chauhan, A. A. 2011. Effects of organizational resources on organizational performance: An empirical study of SMEs. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 2 (12), pp. 373-385.

Hsiao, C., Lee, Y. H., & Chen, H. H. (2016). The effects of internal locus of control on entrepreneurship: the mediating mechanisms of social capital and human capital. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 27(11), 1158-1172.

Huggins, R., Prokop, D., & Thompson, P. (2017). Entrepreneurship and the determinants of firm survival within regions: human capital, growth motivation and locational conditions. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 29(3-4), 357-389.

Hult, G. T., Hurley, R. F., and Knight, G. A. 2004. Innovativeness: Its antecedents and impact on business performance. Industrial Marketing Management, 33(5), pp.429-438.

Inmyxai, S., and Takahashi, Y. 2009. Entrepreneurs as decisive human resources and business performance for the Lao SMEs. Chinese Business Review, 8(7), pp.29-43.

Irwin, K. C., Landay, K. M., Aaron, J. R., McDowell, W. C., Marino, L. D., & Geho, P. R. (2018). Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) and human resources outsourcing (HRO): A “HERO” combination for SME performance. Journal of Business Research, 90, 134-140.

Jones, O., Macpherson, A., Thorpe, R., and Ghecham, A., 2007. The evolution of business knowledge in SMEs: conceptualizing strategic space. Strategic Change, 16(6), pp.281-294.

Joseph Vitiello, 2016, The Top 5 Food and Beverage Industry Problems CEOs Are Facing. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/top-5-food-beverage-industry-problems-ceos-facing-joseph-vitiello

Kamasak, R. (2017). The contribution of tangible and intangible resources, and capabilities to a firm’s profitability and market performance. European Journal of Management and Business Economics.

Lai, C. J. (2016). The effect of individual market orientation on sales performance: An integrated framework for assessing the role of formal and informal communications. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 24(3), 328-343.

Leonidou, L. C., Leonidou, C. N., Fotiadis, T. A., & Zeriti, A. (2013). Resources and capabilities as drivers of hotel environmental marketing strategy: Implications for competitive advantage and performance. Tourism Management, 35, 94-110.

Mark, Philip and Adrian, 2009, Research Method for Business Students, 5th Ed.

Mathieu, J.E., Tannenbaum, S.I. and Salas, E., 1992. Influences of Individual and Situational Characteristics on Measures of Training Effectiveness. Academy of Management Journal, 35, pp.828-847.

Mensmann, M., & Frese, M. (2019). Who stays proactive after entrepreneurship training? N eed for cognition, personal initiative maintenance, and well‐being. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 40(1), 20-37.

MIDA, 2012. Industries in Malaysia, Malaysian Investment Development Authority. ed. [online], Available at: http://www.mida.gov.my/env3/index.php?page=food-industries [Accessed on 30 October 2013].

Mourali, M., Laroche, M. and Pons, F., 2005. Antecedents of consumer relative preference for interpersonal information sources in pre-purchase search, Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 4(5), pp.307-18.

Noble, C. H., Sinha, R. K., and Kumar, A., 2002. Market orientation and alternative strategic orientations: A longitudinal assessment of performance implications. Journal of Marketing, 66(4), pp.25-39.

Ogbari, M. E., Ibidunni, O. S., Ogunnaike, O. O., Olokundun, A. M., & Amaihian, A. B. (2018). A comparative analysis of small business strategic orientation: Implications for performance. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 17(1), 1-15.

Omar, Siti Sarah and Ismail, Maimunah, 2010. The Background and Challenges Faced by the Small Medium Enterprises. A Human Resource Development Perspective. International Journal of Business and Management, 4(10).

Penrose, E., 1959. The theory of the growth of the firm. The Theory of the Growth of the Firm. Oxford.

Pratono, A.H. (2016). Strategic orientation and information technological turbulence: contingency perspective in SMEs. Business Process Management Journal, 22(2). https://doi.org/10.1108/BPMJ-05-2015-0066

Pratono, A. H. (2018). Does firm performance increase with risk-taking behavior under information technological turbulence? Empirical evidence from Indonesian SMEs. The Journal of Risk Finance.

Pratono, A. H., Darmasetiawan, N. K., Yudiarso, A., Jeong, B. G. (2019). Achieving sustainable competitive advantage through green entrepreneurial orientation and market orientation: The role of inter-organizational learning", The Bottom Line, https://doi.org/10.1108/BL-10-2018-0045

Preacher, K. J., and Hayes, A. F., 2004. SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 36, pp.717-731.

Preacher, K.J. and Hayes, A.F., 2008. Asymptotic and Resampling Strategies for Assessing and Comparing Indirect Effects in Multiple Mediator Models. Behavior Research Methods, 40(3), pp.879-891.

Saleh, A. S. and Kuppusamy, M. 2007. Perceptions of business challenges: The Malaysian SMEs experience. The 4th SME in a global economy conference 2007.

Saleh, A. S. and Ndubisi, N. O. 2006. An evaluation of SME development in Malaysia. International Review of Business Research Papers, 2(1), pp.1-14.

Sandra, D. A., & Otto, A. R. (2018). Cognitive capacity limitations and Need for Cognition differentially predict reward-induced cognitive effort expenditure. Cognition, 172, 101-106.

SMIDEC, 2002. SMI Development Plan (2001-2005). In: BERHAD, P. N. M. (ed.). Kuala Lumpur.

Talib, H.H.A., Ali, K.A.M. and Idris, F., 2013. Quality Management Framework for the SME's Food Processing Industry in Malaysia. International Food Research Journal, 20(1), pp.147-164.

Tentama, F., & Abdussalam, F. (2020). Internal locus of control and entrepreneurial intention: A study on vocational high school students. Journal of Education and Learning, 14(1), 97-102.

Ting, O. K. 2004. SMEs in Malaysia: pivotal points for change.

Tsoukas, H., 2002. Knowledge-based perspectives on organizations: situated knowledge,novelty, and communities of practice, Management Learning, 33(4), pp.419-26.

Valentine, S. R., Hanson, S. K., & Fleischman, G. M. (2019). The presence of ethics codes and employees’ internal locus of control, social aversion/malevolence, and ethical judgment of incivility: A study of smaller organizations. Journal of Business Ethics, 160(3), 657-674.

Wan Mohd Nazrol Wan Mohd Nasir, 2013. The relationship between strategic orientation and firm performance: Evidence from Small and Medium Enterprise in Malaysia, PhD Thesis, University of Victoria.

Wu, C. H., Parker, S. K., & De Jong, J. P. (2014). Need for cognition as an antecedent of individual innovation behavior. Journal of Management, 40(6), 1511-1534.

Zain, Z.M., Anas, Y., Hassan, F.H., Lehar, H., Shamsuddin, S., 2012. Challenges, Opportunities and Performance of Bumiputera Smes in the Food Industry: A Malaysian Perspective. IEEE Innovation Management and Technology Research International Conference, 722-726.




How to Cite

Bahari, N., Saufi, R. A., Zainol, N. R., Samad, N. S. A., & Yaziz, M. F. A. (2023). Entrepreneur’s Personality Traits and Firm Performance of Malaysian Smes: Mediated by Market Orientation. International Journal of Professional Business Review, 8(1), e01260. https://doi.org/10.26668/businessreview/2023.v8i1.1260