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Entrepreneurs’ Perceived Social Support : Trait-like Characteristic or Developable Social Capital?

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abstract There is some evidence that entrepreneurs that can fully benefit from the positive aspects of their job design, such as autonomy and opportunities to learn, experience high job satisfaction and good health accordingly (Stephan & Roesler, 2010). Hence, all positive aspects of entrepreneurship come along with stress and strain. Since the late 1970s, the impact of social networks and social capital for individual health outcomes has been discussed in the field of organizational behavior and psychology. The job demands-resources model of burnout (Demerouti et al., 2001; Schaufeli et al., 2009) explicates, that an individual’s performance depends on the relationship between job demands and job resources. Job demands are defined by workload, time pressure, and task complexity, whilst social support, performance feedback, opportunities to learn, and autonomy act as job resources. Entrepreneurship scholars investigated how social capital influences business success or failure of start-ups and established businesses. Furthermore, they have investigated the role of individual traits and differences in order to explain differences in venture growth and performance (Begley & Boyd 1987). Sarason & Sarason (1984) argue that the level of perceived social support could be a stable attribute with trait like characteristics.
The business context influences individuals’ health, and thereby their ability to
perform. We want to understand and analyze how job resources, especially social support, influence entrepreneurs’ individual health. So far, we do not know whether social support is a determinant of entrepreneurs’ job and life satisfaction or health. Most studies considering social support as a key determinant shed light on corporate employees or members of large institutions such as hospitals or universities. Hence, we will investigate whether individuals with higher levels of perceived social support are more or less likely to be self-employed (cross-sectional), and whether their levels of job and life satisfaction varies over time according to the level of social support they perceive (longitudinal). Data is obtained from the first nine waves of the Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics Panel of Australia (HILDA). We will use structural equation modeling to test our hypotheses and compare entrepreneurs with employees. We include measures for individuals’ health state, perceived social support, as well as job and life satisfaction for our cross-sectional analyses. We will use proxies for density and quality of entrepreneurs’ social networks, and controlling for important life events, such as marriage, birth of a child, divorce, or death of a relative or friend will allow us to shed light on the social support phenomenon.
Sarason et al. (1986) have suggested that a lack of social support is a vulnerability about which something can be done, but entrepreneurship promotion programs tend to focus on business planning and financial sourcing. Therefore, we strongly recommend strengthening entrepreneurial networks that provide business related social support. In addition, we think that health education and building awareness for recreational aspects should be part of entrepreneurship education, especially for practitioners but also for undergraduates and graduate students.
type conference paper (English)
keywords Entrepreneurship; Health and Well-Being; Social Support; Social Capital; Personality Traits
project Health and Entrepreneurship - The Influence of Social Support on Entrepreneurs’ Health and Performance
name of conference IWP Institute of Work Psychology International Conference 2012 (Sheffield, UK)
date of conference 26-6-2012
title of proceedings Work, Wellbeing and Performance
page(s) 1-12
publisher The Institute of Work Psychology (Sheffield, UK)
review internal review
citation Pullich, J. (2012). Entrepreneurs’ Perceived Social Support: Trait-like Characteristic or Developable Social Capital?. In Work, Wellbeing and Performance, pp.1-12. Sheffield, UK: The Institute of Work Psychology.