An Investigation of the Relationship between Motivation, Positive State Affect, Authenticity, and Performance in Unconventional Entrepreneurs




Wooldridge, Colin Douglas

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Despite substantial variation in the reasons underlying an individual’s choice to pursue new venture creation, researchers have almost exclusively studied this motivation through an opportunity - necessity categorization (Block & Landgraf, 2016). Variation in individual motives for creating new ventures is important because these reasons differentially relate to intended and achieved venture growth (Cassar, 2007). However, studies relating motivation to entrepreneurial outcomes such as performance, have often resulted in mixed and weak findings (Carsrud & Brännback, 2011). To make progress in this area, entrepreneurship scholars have suggested researchers consider how motivation may indirectly relate to performance outcomes (Shane, Locke, & Collins, 2003), as well giving closer attention to the unique characteristics of a new venture’s environment (Elfving, Brännback, & Carsrud, 2017). Following these suggestions, I contend that the unique relationship between online content creators and their audiences has many similarities with customer service contexts. As such, variations in motivation may differentially impact how genuinely content creators enjoy these interactions, and, subsequently, how this may indirectly affect performance. Specifically, I draw on self-determination theory (SDT) and Niven’s (2016) interpersonal emotion regulation motivation (IERM) theory, to propose that variation in motives for starting a business, including self-realization, financial success, role-model emulation, innovation, recognition, and independence, indirectly relate to performance through affect and authenticity. In studying content creators, this research contributes to answering calls in the entrepreneurship literature to investigate more common forms of entrepreneurship outside of venture capital funded tech-startups (Welter, Baker, Audretsch, & Gartner, 2017). This work seeks to address two research questions: (A) How does variation in motivation for the starting of a business relate to affect and authenticity; and (B) How do differences in affect and authenticity relate to performance?


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Entrepreneurial Motivation, Entrepreneurship, Unconventional Entrepreneurship