Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Business Administration

Major Professor

David W. Williams

Committee Members

T. Russell Crook, Melissa Cardon, Alex R. Zablah, Timothy P. Munyon


Despite a strong base of literature that shows appraisal (i.e., an individual’s assessment of the relevance of a possibly stressful situation to their own goals and their likelihood of effectively coping with it) is an important predictor of individual emotion, behavior, and performance, appraisal has been largely relegated to theory by the organizational sciences. The purpose of this work is to demonstrate why studying appraisal adds value to organizational science phenomena. This is accomplished through two empirical essays and a theory essay. First, a metaanalysis assesses the extent to which the challenge-hindrance framework, a perspective that explicitly suggests appraisal is unnecessary to understanding the effects of stressors (i.e., source of stress), applies to the context of entrepreneurship, where it is contended appraisal is most likely to play a role. Findings suggest that although the framework does apply, entrepreneurs (who operate in a more autonomous environment) experience better well-being and performance outcomes than non-entrepreneurs (who operate in more restrictive environments), and it is argued that appraisal is likely a factor in this difference. Second, a diary study tracks entrepreneurs’ daily appraisal, mood, and coping across a 20-day period in response to their self-identified largest source of stress. Results conclude that daily appraisal, which varies across time, directly affects daily mood and indirectly affects daily coping through mood, thus showing that appraisal predicts two important health indicators for entrepreneurs. Third, a theory on collective appraisal (i.e., the extent to which team members agree concerning which stressors are relevant to the team and how to respond to those stressors) is developed which turns appraisal from an individual-level construct to a team-level one. In so doing, the essay makes appraisal more useful to organizational science phenomena, which predominantly occur in team settings.

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