The Role of Affect in Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a highly emotional process, and the identity and affective well-being of many entrepreneurs is closely linked to the performance of their ventures. Thus, a recent research stream in the entrepreneurship literature has started to investigate how emotions influence the decision making and behavior of entrepreneurs, and how engaging in entrepreneurship impacts the psychological well-being of individuals. 

Contributing to this research, one of our recent studies (Patzelt & Shepherd, 2011) has explored the relationship between self-employment and negative emotional experiences of individuals and found that, on average, entrepreneurs experience fewer negative emotions than salaried employees. This difference, however, is contingent on the individual’s coping behaviors. Further, we investigated how affective displays of entrepreneurs impact employees and found that entrepreneurs’ displays of confidence, satisfaction, bewilderment, worry, and frustration interdependently influence employees’ decisions to engage in entrepreneurial action (Brundin, Patzelt & Shepherd, 2008). Current studies focus on how work stress and fear of failure impact entrepreneurial decision making and action and on employees' perceptions of their supervisor's entrepreneurial passion (Breugst, Domurath, Patzelt, & Klaukien, 2012).


Breugst, N., Domurath, A., Patzelt, H., & Klaukien, A. (2012). Perceptions of entrepreneurial passion and employees' commitment to entrepreneurial ventures. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 36 (1), 171-192.

Patzelt, H., & Shepherd, D.A. (2011). Negative emotions of an entrepreneurial career: Self-employment and regulatory coping behaviors, Journal of Business Venturing, 26(2), 226-238.

Brundin, E., Patzelt, H., & Shepherd, D.A. (2008). Managers' emotional displays and employees' willingness to act entrepreneurially, Journal of Business Venturing, 23(2), 221-243.