Chapter 13: The Psychology of Entrepreneurs: A Self-regulation Perspective
Alan R. Johnson and Frédéric Delmar INTRODUCTION In this chapter, we suggest theoretical and integrative links between previous and future research into the psychology and, more specifically, the motivation of entrepreneurs using a self-regulation perspective. Recent research in work motivation has shifted from focusing on the single concept of ‘goal setting’ and ‘intentions’ towards a broader understanding of self-regulation processes (Diefendorff and Lord, 2008). Self-regulation is the capacity of individuals to guide their activities over time and across changing circumstances (Kanfer, 1990). We aim to incorporate this broader understanding into entrepreneurship research as we believe it allows for a better understanding of the function and form of the entrepreneurial mindset. In addition, a self-regulation perspective permits integration of empirical findings about the dynamic nature of the entrepreneurial process, while keeping goal-directed individuals as the central actors in that process. We review psychological research in entrepreneurship for the following reasons. First, self-regulation theories – such as the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991), through its core concept of behavioral intentions, and Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1991), through its core concept of self-efficacy – are among the most popular motivation theories used in entrepreneurship research. However, it is not well known among entrepreneurship scholars that the foregoing work motivation theories may be integrated within a selfregulation framework, together with more recently emerging research streams, including but not limited to cognitive and learning styles (Sadler-Smith and Badger, 1998) as well as goal generating and goal striving. Thus, we show how these theories may...
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