Identifying Success Criteria Among Rural Entrepreneurs: Using Multidimensional Scaling


1 Faculty Member, University of Payame Noor (Ph.D in Policy-Making Management)

2 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Agriculture, Raazi University Kermanshah


The survival of rural communities depends on appropriate investments and creation of viable and sustainable job opportunities. Rural entrepreneurship is a driving engine of job creation and economic growth in rural communities. When we speak of rural business success or longevity, it seems important to determine how rural entrepreneurs define success. For the past decades, profit, growth and innovation have been the normative criteria to assess business owners' success. Therefore, the purpose of this descriptive study was to investigate the content of the entrepreneurial success construct in more detail, by generating more insight into the way different types of rural entrepreneurs define success. This study utilized both quantitative and qualitative research design. On qualitative side, 15 rural entrepreneurs were interviewed using focus group sessions to determine success criteria that distinguish between successful and non-successful rural entrepreneurs. Content analysis was used to analyze the collected data. Results revealed 12 success criteria as perceived by focus group participants.  Quantatively, a structured questionnaire was completed by 60 rural entrepreneurs with 18 statements to prioritize success criteria. Data from this part was analyzed by using multidimensional scaling. Results indicated that rural male entrepreneurs strive for contributing back to society, profit, and work-life balance. However, their female counterparts strive for work-life balance, profit, and personal satisfaction. Additionally, multidimensional scaling indicated that a two-dimensional solution best explained the rank-order of success criteria: namely, personal dimensions including personal satisfaction, work-life balance, contributing back to society; work dimensions including satisfied customers, quality of products or services, and longevity. Based on our results, which show that the personal dimension is more important to entrepreneurs than the business dimension, it is advisable to use multiple criteria in order to assess business success