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A look at the dynamics of personal growth and self-employment exit

Nicholas J. Beutell (LaPenta School of Business, Iona College, New Rochelle, New York, USA)
Jeffrey W. Alstete (LaPenta School of Business, Iona College, New Rochelle, New York, USA)
Joy A. Schneer (College of Business Administration, Rider University, Flemington, New Jersey, USA)
Camille Hutt (EisnerAmper LLP, New York, New York, USA)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 4 September 2019

Issue publication date: 29 October 2019




The purpose of this paper is to test a model predicting self-employment (SE) personal growth (learning opportunities and creativity) and SE exit intentions (exiting to work for someone else and exit likelihood) based on the job demands-resources model.


SEM was used to examine SE demands and resources, strain, and engagement predicting growth, exit intentions, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction. SE type (owners with employees and independent owners without employees) was a moderator variable. Data were analyzed from a national probability sample (n=464 self-employed respondents for whom SE was their primary work involvement), the National Study of the Changing Workforce.


Overall support for the model was found. Work–family conflict (demand) and work–family synergy (resource) had the strongest relationships with strain and engagement. Strain was positively related to both growth and exit intentions while engagement was inversely related to exit intentions but positively related to growth. The model was significantly different for business owners and independently self-employed.

Practical implications

These results provide guidance to researchers and educators regarding the challenges of self- employment engagement and strain with implications for selecting business types that minimize exit likelihood while maximizing work engagement and personal growth potential.


This study breaks new ground by testing a structural model of engagement and growth for self-employed individuals while also investigating two types of exit intentions. The authors report findings for growth and exit decisions that have received scant attention in the literature to date. Type of SE was a significant variable.



Beutell, N.J., Alstete, J.W., Schneer, J.A. and Hutt, C. (2019), "A look at the dynamics of personal growth and self-employment exit", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 25 No. 7, pp. 1452-1470.



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