Preliminary research suggests these non-conventional religious leaders and groups, being excluded from conventional forms of enterprise, were particularly attuned to new economic and business opportunities. We have focused on the idea of Israel Kirzner w hen he notes that entrepreneurs are especially alert to opportunities. Kirzners idea of alertness picks up on the Schumpeterian notion of an innovator. Investigation of religious leaders in Britain, and Hauge in Norway, suggests that they were forced to attend to new and innovative ways of sustaining their initiatives; they were particularly alert to new opportunities. And, they were inspired and motivated by their feeling of being a chosen people. Modern survey research techniques will allow testing of various measures of alertness and how they connect with entrepreneurial initiatives.
The proposed research plan is thus two-pronged. The primary focus will be developing, piloting, and then administering a survey research questionnaire to Norwegian b usinesspeople to ascertain the extent to which they demonstrate this characteristic of alertness and then to determine how it influences their entrepreneurial activity. A related questionnaire will be developed for a control group of managers from larger Norwegian companies and results from the two administrations will be compared. The secondary focus will be exploring the economic and historical context for Hauges work, investigating business formation during the late 18th and early 19th century, and comparing Hauges approach to those of other entrepreneurs, within Norway and in Britain.
The results will help economic historians understand Norway's early economic history. Most importantly, new insights into the factors that stimulate entrepreneural activity may provide important inputs to educational training programs in Norway and the USA.