Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Satisfaction, Stress, and Entrepreneurial Intentions

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Satisfaction, Stress, and Entrepreneurial Intentions

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Entrepreneurship is increasingly acknowledged in U.S. society as a realistic, sometimes even preferable, method of work. For example, the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity indicates that new venture creation in the U.S. continues to rise (www.bizjournals.com, 2008), and the percentage of young people who strive to start their own business is both robust and growing (Timmons & Spinelli, 2007). Considering the rising acknowledgement of entrepreneurship's positive influences on society, it is important to understand the factors that influence entrepreneurial intentions. Such intentions, according to Krueger and Carsrud (1993), are the single best predictor of entrepreneurial actions.

Previous research indicates a type of incubation period exists for individuals prior to the start of a new venture. Work and life satisfaction may be contributing factors in this period (Cromie & Hayes, 1991; Henley, 2007). Unfortunately, despite much research considering the influence of work and life satisfaction on entrepreneurial intentions, there is still conflicting evidence in this area. For example, in the most recent studies, Henley (2007) and Schjoedt and Shaver (2007) find opposite levels of job satisfaction for nascent entrepreneurs. Some of the earlier studies utilized entrepreneurs' remembered dissatisfaction with previous employment, as opposed to satisfaction with a current organizational work situation, which is potentially problematic. The more recent studies (e.g. Henley, 2007; Schjoedt & Shaver, 2007) vary in their definition of comparison groups, which may serve as a possible explanation for the conflicting findings. For example, in Henley's (2007) study, all adults who are economically active are asked about entrepreneurial aspirations, utilizing the British Household Panel Survey. Those who are already self-employed and state entrepreneurial intentions are grouped with true nascent entrepreneurs, aspiring entrepreneurs who have never started a business. The individuals who are self-employed and state entrepreneurial intentions are considered to be moving into a new venture. Schjoedt and Shaver (2007) use the Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics and compare individuals already in the process of starting a business--who answer job satisfaction questions in regard to a former organizational job--with a comparison group not engaged in starting a business. An implied assumption is that the comparison group represents organizational employees. Neither of these studies breaks out job and life satisfaction levels into organizational employees, nascent entrepreneurs, and those already engaged in self-employment.

It is also quite possible that other influential factors may have an interactive effect with satisfaction on entrepreneurial intentions. For example, research indicates that the reasons for starting a business differ between women and men, with pull factors related to internal satisfaction appearing to be more important for women than external factors (Buttner & Moore, 1997; Brush, 1992). Yet, despite a moderate literature base on female entrepreneurial intentions, studies regarding gender differences in satisfaction with entrepreneurial and pre-entrepreneurial work are quite limited. Men and women differ in the effects of marital status on entrepreneurial intentions as well (Schiller & Crewson, 1997). It appears there is a greater opportunity cost for married men to pursue new venture creation than there is for married women. Thus, it is possible that, from a push perspective, married men need a higher level of dissatisfaction with their current job to pursue entrepreneurship than married women. This difference may also exist between married and unmarried men.

The purpose of this study is to provide a deeper understanding of entrepreneurial intentions by comparing multiple types of work satisfaction, life satisfaction, and stress level among three distinct groups: nascent entrepreneurs who plan to initiate a new venture but are still organizationally employed, organizational employees who do not wish to initiate a new venture, and current entrepreneurs. …

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