Affiliation motivation and interest in entrepreneurial careers

Wayne H. Decker (Department of Management and Marketing, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, USA)
Thomas J. Calo (Department of Management and Marketing, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, USA)
Christy H. Weer (Department of Management and Marketing, Salisbury University, Salisbury, Maryland, USA)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 24 March 2012



The goal of this paper is to better understand affiliation motivation patterns among students interested in pursuing entrepreneurial/self‐employment careers as compared to students less interested in pursuing entrepreneurial careers.


The study sample included 424 college students enrolled in upper‐division business courses in a public institution in the Mid‐Atlantic region of the USA. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the effects of four dimensions of affiliation motivation on entrepreneurial aspirations.


Interest in entrepreneurial careers was negatively associated with the need for emotional support and positively associated with the need for positive stimulation from other persons. Therefore, persons with entrepreneurial interests enjoy interacting with other people, but they are not emotionally dependent upon them. Neither the need for social comparison nor the need for attention varied as a function of entrepreneurial aspirations.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should distinguish among persons seeking different types of entrepreneurial and self‐employment opportunities, as well as compare business students both to students studying fields other than business and persons established in careers.

Practical implications

Knowledge of persons' affiliation motivation patterns may contribute to effective career counseling and career development.


This paper contributes to greater understanding of the distinguishing characteristics of persons aspiring to be entrepreneurs by assessing four subcategories of affiliation motivation rather than treating it as a one‐dimensional concept.



Decker, W., Calo, T. and Weer, C. (2012), "Affiliation motivation and interest in entrepreneurial careers", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 27 No. 3, pp. 302-320.

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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