The Entrepreneurial Personality: A New Framework and Construct for Entrepreneurship Research and Practice

Ahmetoglu, Gorkan. 2015. The Entrepreneurial Personality: A New Framework and Construct for Entrepreneurship Research and Practice. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

The aim of this thesis was to investigate individual differences in entrepreneurial personality and their relationship to performance criteria. Specifically, three main objectives were proposed: (a) to develop a theoretical framework of the entrepreneurial personality, based on the principles of differential psychology, (b) to test how this personality construct related to other trait measures of personality, and (c) to assess how this personality construct related to performance outcomes. To this end, the current thesis presented an alternative framework for investigating the entrepreneurial personality, not currently present in entrepreneurship research. The framework followed a critical review of the entrepreneurship literature and a content analysis of the meaning of the concept. Based on this content analysis, a new operational definition of entrepreneurship was proposed: entrepreneurship is an activity related to innovation, recognition and exploitation of opportunities, and creation of value. In this framework, three main tenants were present: 1) the entrepreneurial behaviours identified by the content analysis cannot be exclusive to business founders, 2) there are individual differences in the tendency and ability to engage in these behaviours, 3) individuals who have a greater tendency and ability to engage in these entrepreneurial behaviours, are by definition, perceived as more entrepreneurial. Thus this operational definition provided a basis for a theoretical framework for distinguishing between more and less entrepreneurial individuals. In order to empirically investigate individual differences in entrepreneurial personality, a psychometric approach was undertaken, where a self-report inventory of entrepreneurial tendencies and abilities (META) was developed. The reliability and factor structure of this measure were established, and its construct validity in relation to a multitude of trait measures, including the Big Five personality traits, Trait Emotional Intelligence, Core Self-Evaluations, Locus of Control, Primary and Secondary Psychopathy, Machiavellianism, Vocational Interests, General Mental Ability, Divergent Thinking, as well as relevant demographic variables, was established. Furthermore, META was consistently found to be the single best predictor of performance outcomes across nine studies, including number of businesses started, corporate entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, innovative entrepreneurship, creative achievements within arts and sciences, task and contextual performance, income, engagement, and intentions to quit a current job. META was found to positively and moderately predict these performance outcomes, over and above (incrementally) established psychometric tests.

In sum, the results of the doctoral thesis have important theoretical and practical implications for entrepreneurship research and practice. Specifically, the thesis provided a) a new theoretical framework for researching the entrepreneurial personality, b) support for the distinctness of this personality construct in relation to other trait constructs, c) demonstrated that this construct may be able to explain significant performance differences between individuals on criteria that are likely to be of substantial importance for individuals, organisations, and governments alike. The implications of a theoretical understanding and measurement of the entrepreneurial personality can be of practical importance for researchers concerned with investigating the entrepreneurial personality concept, organisations concerned with increasing their competitive advantage through human resources practices of selecting, developing, and managing entrepreneurial individuals, and for individuals and government bodies concerned with increasing the potential of start-ups and business founders to be successful in their new and established ventures by assessing the entrepreneurial tendencies of founders and their team, and customizing intervention strategies in more informed ways.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Entrepreneurial Personality, Entrepreneurship, Measure of Entrepreneurial Personality, Psychometric test, New Framework of Entrepreneurship, New construct of entrepreneurship

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Institute of Management Studies


14 January 2015

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

03 Feb 2015 11:57

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:07


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