Seeking the roots of entrepreneurship: Childhood and adolescence extraversion predict entrepreneurial intention in adults

Annelot Wismans*, Pauline Jansen, Roy Thurik, Peter Prinzie, Ingmar Franken

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Abstract

Entrepreneurial personality research has mostly used cross-sectional data, giving rise to the question of whether the results can be used to predict entrepreneurial outcomes. Using a unique longitudinal dataset, we investigate whether and from what age personality in childhood and adolescence predicts entrepreneurial intention in young adulthood. We cover a time span of 17 years by assessing personality at four different developmental phases (6–9, 9–12, 12–15, and 14–17 years of age) and one measurement of entrepreneurial intention in young adulthood (23–26 years of age). We employ a variable-oriented approach by studying the Big Five traits—imagination, conscientiousness, extraversion, benevolence, and emotional stability—individually and a person-oriented approach by studying the “entrepreneurial personality profile,” a configuration of these traits. Extraversion as measured at 9–12 years already predicts entrepreneurial intention in young adulthood. This relationship becomes stronger as the age at which extraversion is measured increases. Unlike earlier literature, we do not find clear prospective relationships regarding the other traits. Our study presents insights into the antecedents of entrepreneurial intention and highlights the importance of extraversion in childhood and adolescence. The difference between our results and those of previous cross-sectional research highlights the importance of using longitudinal data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Psychology
Early online date8 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors. Applied Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of International Association of Applied Psychology.

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