The dramatic changes of the conditions of gainful employment, combined with problems induced by the economic
globalization, such as the crisis in employment, bring new developmental questions to the fore. Prominent among
them is the attempt to gain a better understanding of entrepreneurial activities. Whereas economists and management
researchers have dealt with financial and organizational questions of entrepreneurship, a whole domain is lacking.
That is, the antecedents of entrepreneurial habits (e. g., the striving for independence, the creativity in finding out
about market opportunities) in one's development and socialization are under-researched and consequently virtually
unknown. Entrepreneurial success is related to the context in which a business is established, i. e., where it is,
whether or not the market provides supporting conditions, or the economic expertise of the owner. However, there
may other factors be involved as well. Entrepreneurial success is also likely to be related to the personality structure
of an entrepreneur, to his or her motivation, or to specificities of the family of origin. The purpose of the project
is to shed light on the psychological characteristics of successful entrepreneurs in East Germany. In the first phase
of the project, about 140 entrepreneurs with small and medium sized businesses have responded to questionnaires.
First results indicated that entrepreneurial success was related to the degree to which the entrepreneur represented a
risk-taking personality. In a second step, 60 founders were invited into our laboratory in order to find out about their strategies
under stress. For this purpose complex computer simulations of business decisisons
are used. A prospective longitudinal study, which is not part of the current project but will be added later, is planned
on the basis of the results. It will address the development of entrepreneurial skills and characteristics.
Meanwhile, additional data on more than 500 students and 400 previously unemployed entrepreneurs was collected. The aim is to shed light on early precursors of entrepreneurial activity and the antecedents of entrepreneurial success.
- Schmitt-Rodermund, E. & Vondracek, F. W. (2002). Occupational dreams, choices, and aspirations: Adolescents' entrepreneurial prospects and orientations. Journal of Adolescence, 25, 65-78.
- Schmitt-Rodermund, E. (in press). Pathways to successful entrepreneurship: Parenting, personality, competence, and interests. Journal of Vocational Behavior.
E. Schmitt-Rodermund & Silbereisen, R. K.