Why Entrepreneurs Are Less, Not More, Stressed Out

Entrepreneurs aren’t the stressed-out workaholics we imagine them to be. In fact, a new study published in the Journal of Management finds that they experience less stress than the average worker. Why? Because they are psychologically better equipped to handle stressful situations:

While creating and running new ventures, entrepreneurs are exposed to conditions known to generate high levels of stress (e.g., rapid change, unpredictable environments, work overload, personal responsibility for others). Thus, it has been assumed that they often experience intense stress. A markedly different possibility, Untitledhowever, is suggested by Attraction-Selection- Attrition (ASA) theory. This perspective suggests that persons who are attracted by, selected into, and persist in entrepreneurship may be relatively high in the capacity to tolerate or effectively manage stress. In contrast, persons who are relatively low in this capacity tend to exit from entrepreneurship either voluntarily or involuntarily. As a result, founding entrepreneurs as a group are predicted to experience low rather than high levels of stress while running new ventures. Results supported this reasoning: Founding entrepreneurs reported lower levels of stress when compared to participants in a large national survey of perceived stress. Additional findings indicate that entrepreneJOM_v38_72ppiRGB_150pixWurs’ relatively low levels of stress derive, at least in part, from high levels of psychological capital (a combination of self-efficacy, optimism, hope, and resilience). Psychological capital was negatively related to stress, and stress, in turn, was negatively related to entrepreneurs’ subjective well-being. Furthermore, and also consistent with ASA theory, the stress-reducing effects of psychological capital were stronger for older than younger entrepreneurs.

Continue reading “Why Entrepreneurs Often Experience Low , Not High, Levels of Stress: The Joint Effects of Selection and Psychological Capital” by Robert A. Baron and Rebecca J. Franklin of Oklahoma State University and Keith M. Hmieleski of Texas Christian University, forthcoming in the Journal of Management and now available in the JOM OnlineFirst section. Read related research in the JOM Editor’s Choice Collections on entrepreneurship and work stress and health.

This entry was posted in Entrepreneurship, Stress and tagged , , , , by Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing. Bookmark the permalink.

About Cynthia Nalevanko, Editor, SAGE Publishing

Founded in 1965, SAGE is the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. Known for our commitment to quality and innovation, SAGE has helped inform and educate a global community of scholars, practitioners, researchers, and students across a broad range of subject areas. With over 1500 employees globally from principal offices in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore, Washington DC, and Melburne, our publishing program includes more than 1000 journals and over 900 books, reference works and databases a year in business, humanities, social sciences, science, technology and medicine. Believing passionately that engaged scholarship lies at the heart of any healthy society and that education is intrinsically valuable, SAGE aims to be the world’s leading independent academic and professional publisher. This means playing a creative role in society by disseminating teaching and research on a global scale, the cornerstones of which are good, long-term relationships, a focus on our markets, and an ability to combine quality and innovation. Leading authors, editors and societies should feel that SAGE is their natural home: we believe in meeting the range of their needs, and in publishing the best of their work. We are a growing company, and our financial success comes from thinking creatively about our markets and actively responding to the needs of our customers.

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