More than money: Developing an integrative multi-factorial measure of entrepreneurial success

D Wach, U Stephan, Marjan Gorgievski

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164 Citations (Scopus)


This article conceptualizes and operationalizes ‘subjective entrepreneurial success’ in a manner which reflects the criteria employed by entrepreneurs, rather than those imposed by researchers. We used two studies to explore this notion; the first qualitative enquiry investigated success definitions using interviews with 185 German entrepreneurs; five factors emerged from their reports: firm performance, workplace relationships, personal fulfilment, community impact and personal financial rewards. The second study developed a questionnaire, the Subjective Entrepreneurial Success–Importance Scale (SES-IS), to measure these five factors using a sample of 184 entrepreneurs. We provide evidence for the validity of the SES-IS, including establishing systematic relationships of SES-IS with objective indicators of firm success, annual income and entrepreneur satisfaction with life and financial situation. We also provide evidence for the cross-cultural invariance of SES-IS using a sample of Polish entrepreneurs. The contribution of our research being that subjective entrepreneurial success is a multi-factorial construct, that is, entrepreneurs value various indicators of success with monetary returns as only one possible option.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1098-1121
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2015

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