Let`s put the person back into entrepreneurship research: A meta-analysis on the relationship between business owners' personality traits, business creation, and success

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The role of personality traits in the decision to start a business and to maintain it successfully is discussed controversially in entrepreneurship research. Our meta-analysis builds upon and extends earlier meta-analyses by doing a full analysis of personality traits that includes a comparison of different traits from a theoretical perspective and by analysing a full set of personality predictors for both start-up activities as well as success. Theoretically, our article adds to the literature by matching traits to the tasks of entrepreneurs. The results indicate that traits matched to the task of running a business produced higher effect sizes with business creation than traits that were not matched to the task of running an enterprise, corrected r = .247, K = 47, N = 13,280, and corrected r = .124, K = 20, N = 3975, respectively. Moreover, traits matched to the task produced higher correlations with success, corrected r = .250, K = 42, N = 5607, than traits not matched to the task of running a business, corrected r = .028, K = 13, N = 2777. The traits matched to entrepreneurship significantly correlated with entrepreneurial behaviour (business creation, business success) were need for achievement, generalized self-efficacy, innovativeness, stress tolerance, need for autonomy, and proactive personality. These relationships were of moderate size in general and, moreover, heterogeneity suggested that future research should analyse moderator variables.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)353-385
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 12.2007
Externally publishedYes