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Personality trait differences between traditional and social entrepreneurs

Rachael Smith (Teach First, London, UK)
Robin Bell (Worcester Business School, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK)
Helen Watts (Worcester Business School, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 28 October 2014

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to identify personality trait differences between social and traditional entrepreneurs.

Design/methodology/approach

The Durham Business School’s General Enterprise Tendencies (GET) test was chosen to measure an individual’s entrepreneurial personality. The choice was based on the test’s established use within industry and its ability to measure traits most commonly considered “entrepreneurial” by the extant literature. The test was adapted for this study and distributed to both social and traditional entrepreneurs. The results were then statistically analysed to test for significant differences between the two groups.

Findings

It was found that social entrepreneurs exhibited statistically significantly higher levels of creativity, risk-taking and need for autonomy than traditional entrepreneurs. The results were then discussed critically in light of the literature.

Research limitations/implications

The modest sample size was the main limitation of the research. In addition, the sample set was fairly culturally homogeneous. It has been recommended that an additional test be carried out with a larger sample size, consisting of a more culturally diverse range of participants, to improve the generalisation of the findings.

Originality/value

This research provides new insights into personality trait differences between social and traditional entrepreneurs and is particularly useful to those with an interest in entrepreneurial orientation and those interested in the identification and development of social entrepreneurs.

Keywords

Citation

Smith, R., Bell, R. and Watts, H. (2014), "Personality trait differences between traditional and social entrepreneurs", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 200-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/SEJ-08-2013-0033

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited