Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Major Professor

Timothy P. Munyon

Committee Members

Michael L. Morris, Spencer B. Olmstead, Rhonda K. Reger, David W. Williams


Entrepreneurship research has shown that family social support is an important factor in an entrepreneur’s venture creation and sustainability efforts, yet little is known about the nature and impact of family processes that occur prior to venture start, or how early endorsement of a venture impacts the entrepreneur. These processes are important to consider, because they may facilitate or inhibit ongoing family social support and influence the entrepreneur’s venture creation and sustainability decisions. Utilizing a family systems theoretical framework, I draw on theories of self-perception, social support and conservation of resources to address three issues. First, I introduce the construct of family endorsement and test how family endorsement of an entrepreneur’s decision to start a new venture impacts venture creation and sustainability. Second, I hypothesize that the relationship between endorsement and sustainability is contingent upon how business outcomes, including household standard of living changes and extreme work hours, impact the family. Finally, I test whether family endorsement has short-term effects on the entrepreneur’s method and timing of venture creation. Utilizing a mixed-methods design, I address these phenomena with nationally representative samples of established and aspirant entrepreneurs through a field survey and two experiments. Findings suggest that family endorsement impacts ongoing family social support and is an important consideration for an entrepreneur. This dissertation contributes to research at the intersection of entrepreneurship and family by introducing family endorsement and examining how pre-venture family processes impact the venture creation and sustainability efforts of entrepreneurs.

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