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Psychologists map entrepreneurial spirit in U.S., Great Britain and Germany

Date:
June 1, 2013
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Researchers mapped the entrepreneurial personality structures in the United States, Great Britain and Germany, identifying regions where a feeling of entrepreneurial spirit is “most at home.”

Map of state-level variation in an entrepreneurship-prone personality profile across the United States.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Texas at Austin

Founders of successful companies tend to exhibit personality traits that make them more socially engaging, creative and able to handle stress than nonentrepreneurs, according to new research from the University of Jena in Germany and The University of Texas at Austin.

Jena researchers Martin Obschonka, Eva Schmitt-Rodermund and Rainer K. Silbereisen, along with UT Austin Professor of Psychology Samuel Gosling, mapped the entrepreneurial personality structures in the United States, Great Britain and Germany, identifying regions where a feeling of entrepreneurial spirit is "most at home." The research will be published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

The team analyzed the personalities of more than 500,000 U.S. citizens, in addition to approximately 20,000 German and 15,000 British citizens. The psychologists correlated their findings with economic data derived from various regions within each country.

In the U.S., entrepreneurial spirit -- associated with personality characteristics such as being socially engaging, responsible, creative, able to handle stress, and at times uncompromising -- was high in western states such as Colorado and Utah, and low in Rust Belt states such as Michigan and in Deep South states such as Mississippi. Researchers found substantial correlations between the geographic distribution of the entrepreneurial personality structure and the regional distribution of actual entrepreneurial activity, such as the number of startup businesses in a region.

The psychologists found similar results in Germany and Great Britain. Although there are no firm conclusions regarding the causes of these regional differences, one possible explanation might be found in the socialization processes within the regions, where prevalent "entrepreneurial values" are conveyed through parenting or social institutions.

"The Rust Belt has a long tradition in rule-driven mass production," Gosling said. "It is therefore possible that this region supported nonentrepreneurial values more strongly, which in turn might have been reflected in a less marked entrepreneurial personality structure."

The researchers conclude that the close connection between the distribution of the entrepreneurial personality structure and the economic clout of respective regions must be considered in future political and economic decisions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Martin Obschonka, Eva Schmitt-Rodermund, Rainer K. Silbereisen, Samuel D. Gosling, Jeff Potter. The Regional Distribution and Correlates of an Entrepreneurship-Prone Personality Profile in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom: A Socioecological Perspective.. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013; DOI: 10.1037/a0032275

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Psychologists map entrepreneurial spirit in U.S., Great Britain and Germany." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130601133658.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2013, June 1). Psychologists map entrepreneurial spirit in U.S., Great Britain and Germany. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130601133658.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Psychologists map entrepreneurial spirit in U.S., Great Britain and Germany." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130601133658.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

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