Entrepreneurial personality

Author: Marius Kahlert, UTwente

Oxford Dictionary (2015) defines personality as "the combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character". Personality traits include the human characteristics, abilities, motives, attitudes and values which shape the individual person's experiences and actions. Hence, personality traits cause the mental and behavioural processes of individuals. Since its advent in the 1980s (e.g. Digman, 1990; Costa & McCrae, 1992; etc.) the Big Five model has been the predominant system to describe a human personality. The Big Five personality traits are commonly known under the acronym "OCEAN" and consist of openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. Each of these dimensions consists of a set of related qualities.

The human 's psychology and personality aspects might play a significant role in the individual propensity towards entrepreneurial actions. In his meta analysis, Brandstätter (2011) assessed the correlation between personality traits and entrepreneurial behaviour. He explored the personality traits of entrepreneurs by comparing personality scores of those with the scores of managers. It was found that while being more open to new experiences (openness), entrepreneurs are also slightly more dutiful (conscientiousness) and rather energetic towards the social and material world (extraversion) compared to managers. At the same time entrepreneurs tend to score lower in agreeableness and neuroticism. This suggests that there is an entrepreneurial personality.

Sources: Brandstätter, H. (2011). Personality aspects of entrepreneurship: A look at five meta-analyses. Personality and individual differences, 51(3): 222-230.

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Oxford University Press. (2015). Personality - definition of personality in English from the Oxford dictionary. Retrieved November 24, 2015, from http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/personality