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Handbook of Stress in the Occupations

Edited by Janice Langan-Fox and Cary Cooper

The Handbook of Stress in the Occupations sets a new agenda for stress research and gives fresh impetus to scholars who wish to focus on issues and problems associated with specific jobs, some of which have received little attention in the past.
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Chapter 18: On Being Entrepreneurial: The Highs and Lows of Entrepreneurship

Sharon Grant


Sharon Grant I first began researching occupational stress about ten years ago, as a PhD candidate exploring personality-based correlates of occupational stress and strain in salaried managers. In 2005, I joined the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship, where I was based for about three years. Due to my research background in occupational stress, I was immediately curious to know the status of the literature on stress in entrepreneurs or owner–managers, and wondered whether there might be opportunities to apply my knowledge of occupational stress to research agendas in the entrepreneurship discipline.1 To my surprise, despite the inherently stressful nature of entrepreneurship, I discovered that stress in entrepreneurs was an underexplored research topic (Kariv, 2008; Ortqvist et al., 2007; Wincent & Ortqvist, 2009). Past research has largely focused on positive ‘precursors’ to entrepreneurship, such as motives for self-employment, with scarce attention paid to potentially negative consequences or outcomes, such as stress and strain (Dolinsky & Caputo, 2003; Feldman & Bolino, 2000; Parasuraman & Simmers, 2001). In particular, there is little systematic research on sources of stress (‘stressors’) among entrepreneurs. Indeed, much of what we know about occupational stress has come from research on salaried workers with predefined jobs in large organizations (Prottas & Thompson, 2006; Tetrick et al., 2000). Accordingly, I began to question whether the sources of stress captured by existing occupational stress scales were even relevant for owner–managers, given the idiosyncrasies of entrepreneurship. For example, commonly measured stressors among salaried workers, such as nonparticipation, supervision and underutilization, are immaterial to entrepreneurs given...

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