Date of Award

8-2013

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Business Administration

Major Professor

Franz W. Kellermanns

Committee Members

T. Russell Crook, Anne D. Smith, Ernest R. Cadotte

Abstract

The role of personality has resurfaced in entrepreneurship research. The results surrounding the broad personality traits have varied. Although openness to experience has been found to generally have a positive relationship with entrepreneurial intentions and performance (e.g., Zhao, Seibert, & Lumpkin, 2010), conflicting and inconsistent results have emerged (e.g., Baron & Markman, 2004; Ciaverella, Buchholtz, Riordan, Gatewood, & Stokes, 2004). Therefore, an in-depth look at the facets of openness to experience may offer additional information.

The present investigation used a sample of founder/owners and examined the facets of openness to: fantasy, aesthetics, feelings, actions, ideas, and values. Specifically, it was hypothesized that openness to fantasy, aesthetics, and feelings were negatively related to entrepreneurial performance. Also, it was hypothesized that openness to actions, ideas, and values were positively related to entrepreneurial performance. Additionally, the grit construct (Duckworth, Peterson, Matthews, & Kelly, 2007) was explored as a possible moderator. Grit was hypothesized to improve each of the relationships between openness facets and entrepreneurial performance.

The hypotheses were tested using hierarchical multiple regression. Full support was only found for one hypothesis. One explanation could be that entrepreneurship is a process that goes through phases where each has a different set of activities and outcomes, and the effects of openness may change over the different phases of founding a new venture. Several results supported previous research findings. Contributions and future research ideas are discussed.

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