Entrepreneur role stress essays on the travails of the entrepreneur

Abstract: This thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of the social situation of the entrepreneur and the travails of entrepreneurship. More specifically, it examines the role of the entrepreneur by acknowledging that the role is influenced by expectations and proscriptions of stakeholders, scripts for social conducts, and norms. This influence opens up situations demarcated by demanding expectations and resource inadequacies-in terms of role stress-which complicate entrepreneurs' role fulfillment. The detrimental consequences of role stress have been widely acknowledged in professions outside the entrepreneurship setting. Recognizing that role stress is a well-established field of research, the role of the entrepreneur is related to some unique characteristics but with limited prior focus earned. This study therefore aims at contributing to a better understanding of entrepreneurs' role stress, traces possible antecedents, and maps some potential consequences. The thesis is based on a selection of seven academic papers. A meta- analytic review of prominent role stress consequences, together with a narrative literature review of role stress antecedents, lays the foundation for a conceptual analysis of how role stress can be used in entrepreneurship research. A subsequent theoretical analysis of this material implied and strengthened the thesis that the inclusion of role stress is valuable in the study of entrepreneurs. Empirical examinations in different scholarly papers support the role of the entrepreneur and reveal that role stress is an important and prominent phenomenon among entrepreneurs. Role stress is found both to influence the likelihood of inclination for new venture termination and to reduce performance and satisfaction. In a two-year longitudinal data set, role stressors are shown to transform to a proclivity for venture withdrawal through feelings of burnout and dissatisfaction, which sustains over time once triggered. The effect of burnout feelings is direct but not sustained, while the effectsfrom dissatisfaction are lagged. Examining the origin and consequences of entrepreneurs' role stress reveals the lack of fit between entrepreneurs' personality traits and environmental characteristics to develop role stress, and that invested personal resources aiming to resolve role stress can increase venture performance at the cost of exhaustion and reduced self-satisfaction. Further examinations reveal that role stress experiences transform into functional outcomes depending on the coping strategies employed and the levels of role stress experienced. Results moreover reveal that negotiating expectations and/or working harder to meet expectations positively affect venture performance, whereas suppressing perceived expectations negatively influences venture performance.

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