ArticlePDF Available

Abstract and Figures

Research has established a number of personality features and behaviours associated with business creation and success. The similarities between these traits and narcissism, a concept with roots in clinical psychology and psychiatry, led the authors to conduct this study, which proposes to measure whether entrepreneurs score higher on a narcissism scale than other vocational groups. The second goal of this study is to measure the role of narcissism on intention to start a business. Student entrepreneurs have been compared with non-entrepreneur students, city workers, and employees and managers from a branch of a large financial institution. Then, students filled out measures of general self-efficacy, locus of control and risk propensity as well as a narcissism scale. Results indicate that student entrepreneurs score significantly higher than all other vocational groups on a measure of narcissism. Results also indicate that narcissism is positively correlated with general self-efficacy, locus of control and risk propensity. Moreover, narcissism plays a significant role in explaining entrepreneurial intentions, even after controlling for self-efficacy, locus of control and risk propensity. Overall, these findings shed new light on the underlying personality traits of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial intentions and suggest new directions in the study of entrepreneurs’ personality profile.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Entrepreneurial personality: The role of narcissism
Cynthia Mathieu
, Étienne St-Jean
Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres, Canada
article info
Article history:
Received 24 January 2013
Received in revised form 4 April 2013
Accepted 24 April 2013
Available online 29 May 2013
Entrepreneurial intentions
Locus of control
Risk propensity
Research has established a number of personality features and behaviours associated with business cre-
ation and success. The similarities between these traits and narcissism, a concept with roots in clinical
psychology and psychiatry, led the authors to conduct this study, which proposes to measure whether
entrepreneurs score higher on a narcissism scale than other vocational groups. The second goal of this
study is to measure the role of narcissism on intention to start a business. Student entrepreneurs have
been compared with non-entrepreneur students, city workers, and employees and managers from a
branch of a large financial institution. Then, students filled out measures of general self-efficacy, locus
of control and risk propensity as well as a narcissism scale. Results indicate that student entrepreneurs
score significantly higher than all other vocational groups on a measure of narcissism. Results also indi-
cate that narcissism is positively correlated with general self-efficacy, locus of control and risk propen-
sity. Moreover, narcissism plays a significant role in explaining entrepreneurial intentions, even after
controlling for self-efficacy, locus of control and risk propensity. Overall, these findings shed new light
on the underlying personality traits of entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial intentions and suggest new
directions in the study of entrepreneurs’ personality profile.
Ó2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Career choice theory (Holland, 1997) and person-environment
fit theory (Judge & Kristof-Brown, 2004) stipulate that individuals
chose careers and work environments that best fit their values,
needs and personality. Narcissistic individuals fantasize about
fame and power (Raskin & Novacek, 1991); see themselves as more
intelligent and attractive (Gabriel, Critelli, & Ee, 1994) and are in
constant search of admiration and superiority (Morf & Rhodewalt,
2001). Narcissists are attracted to celebrity (Young & Pinsky, 2006)
and tasks that support their superiority to others in a competitive
way (Morf, Weir, & Davidov, 2000). In fact, not surprisingly, narcis-
sists seem to seek out leadership positions in organizations
(Campbell & Campbell, 2009) and what better position for leader-
ship and power than owning a business? It is well recognized that
entrepreneurship fosters the myth of generating wealth, among
entrepreneurs and in society in general (Shane, 2009).
Consequently, entrepreneurship could attract individuals with
greater narcissistic personality than other vocational choices.
However, to our knowledge, narcissism in entrepreneurs has never
been empirically studied.
This study proposes to test whether entrepreneurs are more
narcissistic than other vocational groups. Furthermore, our study
measures the role of narcissism in explaining entrepreneurial
intentions. We think that bridging clinical and personality psychol-
ogy with entrepreneurial studies may help shed light into the
study of ‘‘who is the entrepreneur’’ and better understand the
underlying personality construct related to well-studied entrepre-
neurial personality traits.
1.1. Entrepreneurs and narcissism
Entrepreneurs and narcissists share many traits in the Big Five-
Factor model (high extraversion and openness to experience, low
neuroticism and agreeableness) (Brandstätter, 2011; Paulhus &
Williams, 2002). Of the personality traits that have been most
studied in relation to entrepreneurship, we find risk propensity,
self-efficacy and locus of control. Results of a meta-analysis on per-
sonality traits and entrepreneurial intentions showed that risk pro-
pensity yielded the largest effect size (Zhao, Seibert, & Lumpkin,
2010). In their meta-analysis, Stewart and Roth (2001) report that
entrepreneurs score significantly higher than managers on risk
propensity. Many studies have linked high risk propensity behav-
iours to narcissism (Foster, Misra, & Reidy, 2009; Lakey, Rose,
Campbell, & Goodie, 2008). This could be related to the fact that
narcissists are focused on success and achievement, and are not
0191-8869/$ - see front matter Ó2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author. Address: Business Department, Universite du Quebec a
Trois-Rivieres, P.O. Box 500, Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada G9A 5H7.
E-mail address: (C. Mathieu).
Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 527–531
Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect
Personality and Individual Differences
journal homepage:
afraid of failure (Elliot & Thrash, 2001). A study by Foster,
Shenesey, and Goff (2009), reports that narcissistic individuals
are more prone to risk-taking and differ from non-narcissistic indi-
viduals in that they perceive greater benefits deriving from risky
behaviours. It seems that the display of overconfidence (and per-
haps the appeal of power and success) may affect the rational eval-
uation of risk-taking in narcissistic individuals. Note here that
literature has proven that entrepreneurs show higher degrees of
overconfidence when compared with managers (Koellinger,
Minniti, & Schade, 2007).
Self-efficacy refers to the belief that an individual has it in his or
her ability to accomplish specific tasks undertaken (Bandura,
1997). One’s perception of self-efficacy does not depend on the
number of skills one possesses, but in the belief of what one is able
to do with one’s own skills in a variety of situations. Individuals
who present high generalized self-efficacy have higher hopes of
success (Heckhausen & Schulz, 1995). High levels of generalized
self-efficacy have also been associated with business creation
(Dimov, 2010; Poon, Ainuddin, & Junit, 2006). (Chen, Greene, &
Crick, 1998) have found that students who manifested entrepre-
neurial intentions scored higher on a measure of entrepreneurial
self-efficacy than students who did not have entrepreneurial inten-
tions. Narcissistic individuals, have inflated views of their abilities
(Campbell, Hoffman, Campbell, & Marchisio, 2011), and think that
they are special and unique (APA, 2000) and their primary motive
for action is self-enhancement and a sense of entitlement (Camp-
bell, Bonacci, Shelton, Exline, & Bushman, 2004). Furthermore,
even when faced with opposing facts, it seems that individuals
high on narcissism still consider that they do better than others,
and predict that they would do better than others in similar tasks
in the future (Campbell, Goodie, & Foster, 2004).
Internal locus of control (LOC) refers to the belief that one is in
control of his own destiny (Rotter, 1966). Because, by definition,
entrepreneurs are individuals who chose to ‘‘control’’ their career
by creating, and managing their own business, it is not surprising
to find that LOC has been vastly studied in relation to entrepre-
neurial intention (Mueller & Thomas, 2001). However, results have
yielded somewhat conflicting results; while some have found a po-
sitive link, others have found no evidence of a link (Chell, 2008).
Nevertheless, in a meta-analysis on 20 studies, Rauch and Frese
(2005) have found a small but significant difference between busi-
ness owners and non-owners and a positive correlation between
LOC and business success. There is reason to postulate that narcis-
sistic individuals who we hypothesized have high self-efficacy,
would also believe that they are in control of their destiny and thus
present an elevated internal LOC.
In sum, the overlap between entrepreneurial literature and lit-
erature on narcissism leads to the possibility that narcissism could
very well be an underlying construct explaining entrepreneurship.
Consequently, we propose that entrepreneurs are more narcissistic
than other vocational groups (Hypothesis 1).
1.2. The role of narcissism in entrepreneurial intentions
Entrepreneurial intentions have been associated with entrepre-
neurial self-efficacy (Chen et al., 1998; Zhao, Seibert, & Hills, 2005)
and risk propensity (Zhao et al., 2010). Chen et al. (1998), report
that self-efficacy may explain entrepreneurial avoidance in the fact
that there may be individuals who avoid starting a business not be-
cause they lack necessary skills but because they think they do. On
the contrary, if we look at narcissists who tend inflated views of
their abilities (Campbell et al., 2011), we could hypothesize that
they would think they have the necessary skills to start a business
(even though, in reality, they may not). Hence, we suggest that nar-
cissism will influence entrepreneurial intentions (Hypothesis 2).
2. Material and methods
2.1. Participants and procedure
Data for this research came from three separate projects. For the
first project, university students were asked to fill out a survey as
part of a larger-scale longitudinal study concerning the choice of
the career as an entrepreneur. The survey was conducted online.
In total, 1572 students accepted the invitation, and 89% of them
were enrolled from Universities across Quebec, Canada. From this
first wave, 655 students took part in the sixth-month follow-up
in which several personality measures were included, such as
To test the first hypothesis, from this second wave, two groups
were created. First, we have grouped university students who had
been entrepreneurs in the past or who are currently entrepreneurs
(n= 108). This group will be subsequently called the ‘‘entrepreneur-
ial student sample’’. Secondly, we selected students who had never
been entrepreneurs in the past, who are not entrepreneurs now or
in the process of starting a business. Out of these, we grouped those
who answered ‘‘not at all’’ to the following question: ‘‘Do you in-
tend to start a business in the future’’. Since the survey was geared
towards choosing an entrepreneurial career, we wanted to avoid
the thematic-biased respondents, and retain only those students
who not only had never been an entrepreneur, but also who did
not plan to become one in the future. A total of 73 students fit this
profile and this sample will be referred to as the ‘‘student’’ sample.
Data for the two other groups came from two studies that are
part of a larger investigation on the effects of personality disorders
in the workplace. The first group consisted of 98 employees and
managers from a large Canadian financial institution who com-
pleted an online survey during work hours (response rate of
85.3%). Data from the second group were collected from 116
white-collar workers and managers working for a public organiza-
tion (response rate of 91.5%). They filled out a paper–pencil survey
during work hours.
As can be seen in Table 1, the sex distribution of respondents
was comparable between the ‘‘city’’ and ‘‘entrepreneurial student’’
samples, and between the ‘‘bank’’ and ‘‘student’’ samples. How-
ever, mean age was different between groups (ttest, p60.000),
as was expected since we compared student samples and organiza-
tional samples. Furthermore, it is not surprising to find a different
distribution for levels of education. Nevertheless, no significant
distribution differences could be found between the ‘‘student’’
and the ‘‘entrepreneurial student’’ samples, or between the ‘‘city’’
and ‘‘bank’’ samples.
The second wave sample of students was also used to test the
relationship between narcissism and intention to start a business
(Hypothesis 2).
2.2. Measures
2.2.1. Narcissism
Narcissism was measured using a short version of the Narcissis-
tic Personality inventory (NPI-16; Ames, Rose, & Anderson, 2006).
Table 1
Descriptive statistic of the four samples.
City Bank Student Entrepreneur
Men 52.5% 14.3% 11.8% 52.8%
Women 47.5% 85.7% 82.2% 47.2%
Mean age (S.D) 44.7 (8.93) 40.6 (12.14) 24.3 (4.05) 32.5 (10.46)
High school 11.4% 36% 0% 0%
College 58.1% 46% 0% 0%
Undergraduate 24.8% 18% 62.3% 59.4%
Graduate 5.7% 0% 37.7% 40.6%
528 C. Mathieu, É. St-Jean / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 527–531
Each item presents two statements and the participant must
choose the one that best describes him or her. The narcissistic
statements were coded 1 whereas the ‘‘non-narcissistic’’ state-
ments were coded 0, and the 16 items are added together, for a to-
tal score ranging from 0 to 16. All three samples of the present
study showed acceptable level of internal consistency on NPI-16
with Cronbach’s Alphas of 0.69 for the student sample; 0.66 for city
workers and 0.69 for financial industry employees.
2.2.2. Intention to start a business
A modified version of the measure developed by Thompson
(2009) was used by adding an item to capture the intention to
buy a new business (instead of creating one from the ground up)
(seven items). A 7-point Likert scale was used, and items are, for
example, ‘‘I save money to start a new business’’, ‘‘I don’t have
plans to start my new business (reversed)’’, and ‘‘I have the inten-
tion to start a new business in the future’’. Cronbach’s Alpha for
this measure is 0.87.
2.2.3. General self-efficacy
For the general self-efficacy scale (GSE), we used the measure
developed by Schwarzer and Jerusalem (1995), containing ten
items and measured using a 7-point Likert scale. Items are, for
example, ‘‘I can always solve difficult problems if I try hard en-
ough’’, ‘‘It is easy for me to stay concentrated on my goals and
achieve them’’, and ‘‘I can remain calm when faced with difficulties
because I can rely on my coping skills’’. Cronbach’s Alpha is 0.91.
2.2.4. Risk propensity
We measured risk-taking attitude with the instrument devel-
oped by Dohmen et al. (2005). In a scale from 0 = No willingness
to take risks to 10-Complete and full willingness to take risks, respon-
dents note their willingness to take risks in six different situations
(driving a car, in your career, in financial decisions, etc.). The last
item asks the amount of money, from a hypothetical lottery gain
of 100,000$, one is willing to invest in a project that has a 50%
chance to double the initial amount and a 50% chance to lose half
of the initial amount (from 0 to 100,000$, steps of 10,000$). Cron-
bach’s Alpha for this instrument is 0.76.
2.2.5. Locus of control
We measured the locus of control using the scale developed by
Paulhus (1983). Instead of measuring a general locus of control,
this author proposed three different spheres of control, namely
personal, interpersonal, and socio-political. We used the personal
sphere of control (PSC) that consists of 10 items (e.g. Competition
discourages excellence; When I get what I want it’s usually be-
cause I worked hard for it, etc.), with a seven-point Likert scale.
Cronbach’s Alpha is 0.73.
We included control measures that can influence the intention
to start a business: sex, age, number of children. We also added the
ability to obtain funds to start a business (Likert 5) and also how
long one can maintain their standard of living without any sources
of revenues, both measures to assess wealth of the individual.
Using self-reported data, measuring both predictors and depen-
dent variables may result in common method variance (CMV)
(Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). To reduce possibil-
ity of CMV, we first insured confidentiality to each respondent in
order to reduce social desirability, respondent leniency, and taking
on perceptions consistent with the researchers’ objectives
(Podsakoff et al., 2003). Also, PSC and Intention to start a business
have negative wording and NPI-16 contains binary statements
(instead of Likert-type scale), which are two solutions for reducing
CMV (Podsakoff et al., 2003). We performed Harman’s single factor
test as a post hoc test. This procedure involves conducting an unro-
tated exploratory factor analysis on all of the items collected for
this study (excluding socio-demographic items). Results indicated
that our data converges into 13 factors, and that the first one ex-
plains only 18.9% of the variance. All combined, this strongly sug-
gests that risks of CMV are reduced with our data.
To determine between-group differences (Hypothesis 1), we
conducted an ANOVA with post hoc comparison. Levene’s test indi-
cated that the variances are not homogeneous (p= 0.001). Conse-
quently, we used the Tamhane’s T2 and the Games–Howell tests,
which are more restrictive in that situation. To test the relationship
between narcissism and intention to start a business (Hypothesis
2), we have conducted hierarchical regression analyses. In the first
step, we entered control variables only. Then we tested models
with control variables and adding only one variable from entrepre-
neurial traits (narcissism, GSE, Risk-taking and LOC). Model 6 in-
cludes control variables and all trait variables except for
narcissism. For the final model, we added narcissism to the previ-
ous personality traits and control variables.
3. Results
As can be seen in Table 2, differences were significant between
all of the non-entrepreneurs’ groups and the group composed of
entrepreneurial students. There was no significant difference be-
tween groups of non-entrepreneurs (City, Bank, and Non-Entrepre-
neur-Students). Clearly, our results show that ‘‘entrepreneurial
students’’ score significantly higher on narcissism that other voca-
tional groups, thus supporting Hypothesis 1. Table 3 presents
mean, standard deviation and correlation matrix for all variables
used in our model.
Furthermore, we have conducted a hierarchical linear regres-
sion on the student sample. As we can see in Table 4, Model I
shows that being a woman and the number of children were both
negatively related to the intention to start a business, but age and
ability to obtain funds were positively related. In Model II, we have
added the NPI-16, which appeared to be positively significant. In
steps 3–6, we have added to our control variables GSE, risk propen-
sity and personal sphere of control. All of these trait variables,
when added by themselves to control variables in the model were
positively related to intention to start a business. For the seventh
step, we have added to the control variables all three entrepre-
neurial traits (GSE, risk propensity and LOC). All three were posi-
tively related to the intention to start a business resulting in an
adjusted R
of .252. Finally, the NPI was added in the seventh mod-
el and appears to be positively related to intention to start a busi-
ness, increasing the adjusted R
to 0.273. When NPI-16 is added to
the model, LOC’s contribution became non-significant. For this last
model, risk propensity had the highest standardized b, followed by
the NPI-16 and GSE.
4. Discussion
This study has found that student entrepreneurs are more nar-
cissistic than students who are non-entrepreneurs, employees and
managers from a financial institution and city workers. Since the
literature seems to indicate that entrepreneurs and narcissists
share personality traits such as risk propensity, and possibly other
Table 2
Differences in the means on NPI-16 between samples.
City Bank Student Entrepreneur tTest
Mean score 3.64
p= 0.000
Std. dev. 2.56 2.53 3.05 3.33
Number of cases (n) 116 98 73 108
Significant differences in post hoc tests between groups at p60.001.
C. Mathieu, É. St-Jean / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 527–531 529
traits (general self efficacy and locus of control), the fact that entre-
preneurs are more narcissistic could explain some of the differ-
ences found in the literature between entrepreneurs and
Results also indicate that high scores on narcissism are posi-
tively associated with high scores on GSE, LOC and risk propensity.
Since narcissists have a grandiose sense of self-importance (APA,
2000), it is not very surprising to find that narcissists score higher
on self-efficacy measures. Self-efficacy has been identified in the lit-
erature as one of the main components of intentions to start a busi-
ness (Chen et al., 1998) and the subsequent start-up (Dimov, 2010).
Since all of the three entrepreneurial traits (GSE, LOC and risk pro-
pensity) seem to be correlated to narcissism, perhaps working on
the underlying personality structure of individuals may help better
understand the concept of ‘‘the entrepreneurial personality’’.
Indeed, in terms of predicting intention to start a business, GSE
and risk propensity were good predictors. In fact, in the global
model, risk propensity was the best predictor of entrepreneurial
intentions; this is in line with results from a meta-analysis by Zhao
et al. (2010). LOC influenced significantly the intention to start a
business, but to a lesser degree. However, when the NPI-16 was
added to the model, LOC’s contribution became non-significant.
This finding is in line with previous conflicting results on the role
of LOC in entrepreneurial intentions. Judge and Bono (2002) had
hypothesized that these conflicting results may be due to the
strong resemblance between LOC and GSE. They present the fact
that Levenson’s GSE measure and Paulhus’ LOC measure (both used
in the present study) share a common item (‘‘When I make plans, I
am certain to make them work’’). Since narcissistic individuals
seem to show overconfidence in their skills and have a tendency
to overclaim their knowledge, perhaps LOC is part of the underly-
ing personality and a resulting trait of a core personality structure
captured by the NPI-16. Furthermore, in line with previous re-
search on the subject, in terms of sex, this study has found that
entrepreneurial intentions are significantly lower for women (Wil-
son, Kickul, & Marlino, 2007). Moreover, results indicate that being
a woman reduces the scores on the NPI-16. This finding corre-
sponds to results found in research on subclinical narcissism indi-
cating that men tend to score higher on the NPI than women
(Twenge & Foster, 2008).
Moreover, when testing our different models including control
variables and only one ‘‘trait’’ variable at a time, the model that
yielded the strongest results was the one including the NPI-16
(although closely followed with the model including risk propen-
sity). In fact, adding all three traditional trait variables (LOC, risk
propensity and GSE) to the model that included only control vari-
ables and narcissism, we found that the model was only slightly
enhanced. This not only indicates the importance of considering
narcissism in predicting entrepreneurial intentions and behaviours
but may be an indication that personality traits traditionally re-
lated to entrepreneurship could be explained by this underlying
personality structure (confounding factor).
Table 3
Mean, standard deviation and correlation matrix of variable used.
Variable Mean S.D. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
0.52 0.50 1.0
2-Age 24.98 6.36 0.04 1.0
3-Children 1.08 0.81 0.08
4-Abil. Funds 3.73 1.57 0.09
0.04 0.06
5-Mth wt.Rev 2.44 2.12 0.11
0.05 0.01 0.19
6-Intention 3.35 1.35 0.27
0.03 0.16
7-GSE 5.49 0.82 0.15
8-Risk-Taking 5.77 1.54 0.35
0.07 0.04 0.14
0.02 0.39
9-PSC 5.51 0.67 0.10
0.06 0.10
0.08 0.24
10-NPI 5.95 3.08 0.15
0.01 0.07 0.10
0.05 0.31
Note: Abil. Funds = ability to obtain funds; Mth wt. Rev = months without revenue; GES = general self-efficacy; PSC = personal sphere of control; NPI = narcissistic personality
Coded men = 0, women = 1.
Correlation significant at p60.05.
Table 4
hierarchical linear regression of the intention to start a business.
Model I Model II Model III Model IV Model V Model VI Model VII
Age 0.225
Number of children 0.142
0.024 0.158
0.003 -0.024 0.007 0.019
Ability to obtain funds 0.145
0.065 0.091
0.051 0.069 0.008 0.006
Mth without revenues 0.008 0.009 0.017 0.028 0.003 0.023 0.016
NPI 0.311
GSE 0.254
Risk-taking 0.319
Personal Sphere of Ctrl 0.200
Adj. R
0.125 0.199 0.183 0.195 0.145 0.252 0.273
N1219 509 1215 514 522 513 508
Note: Abil. Funds = ability to obtain funds; Mth wt. Rev = months without revenue; GES = general self-efficacy; PSC = personal sphere of control; NPI = narcissistic personality
Coded men = 0, women = 1.
530 C. Mathieu, É. St-Jean / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 527–531
4.1. Limitations and future directions
To our knowledge, this is the first study to explore the role of
narcissism in entrepreneurship. The reliability of the NPI-16,
although acceptable was somewhat low. However, Ames et al.
(2006) reported that the NPI-16 paralleled the NPI-40 in its rela-
tion to other personality measures and dependant variables and
found Cronbach Alphas for the NPI-16 similar to the ones found
in the present study ranging from 0.65 to 0.72 for their 5 studies.
Also, this study relies on student entrepreneurs who may differ
from experienced entrepreneurs. Thus, results found in the present
study will have to be tested in a population of experienced
Furthermore, although our results seem to indicate that narcis-
sism is associated with business intentions, whether these results
would apply to business success remains to be tested. Just as nar-
cissism was associated with leader emergence but not with leader
effectiveness (Campbell et al., 2011), it may also be associated with
business start-up but not with business success in the long-run. In
other words, we argue that individuals who score very low on a
number of narcissistic traits such as risk-taking and overconfi-
dence may never start a business, but those who score very high
on the same traits could lead their businesses to a loss.
American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental
disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
Ames, D., Rose, P., & Anderson, C. (2006). The NPI-16 as a short measure of
narcissism. Journal of Research in Personality, 40(4), 440–450.
Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: W.H. Freeman.
Brandstätter, H. (2011). Personality aspects of entrepreneurship: A look at five
meta-analyses. Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 222–230.
Campbell, W. K., Bonacci, A. M., Shelton, J., Exline, J. J., & Bushman, B. J. (2004).
Psychological entitlement: Interpersonal consequences and validation of a new
self-report measure. Journal of Personality Assessment, 83, 29–45.
Campbell, W. K., & Campbell, S. M. (2009). On the self-regulatory dynamics created
by the peculiar benefits and costs of narcissism: The case of tragedy of the
commons. Self & Identity, 8, 214–232.
Campbell, W. K., Goodie, A. S., & Foster, J. D. (2004). Narcissism, confidence and risk
attitude. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 17, 297–311.
Campbell, W. K., Hoffman, B. J., Campbell, S. M., & Marchisio, G. (2011). Narcissism
in organizational contexts. Human Resource Management Review, 21, 268–284.
Chell, E. (2008). The entrepreneurial personality (2nd ed.). New York (NY): Routledge.
Chen, C., Greene, P. G., & Crick, A. (1998). Does entrepreneurial self-efficacy
distinguish entrepreneurs from managers? Journal of Business Venturing, 13,
Dimov, D. (2010). Nascent entrepreneurs and venture emergence: opportunity
confidence, human capital, and early planning. Journal of Management Studies,
47(6), 1123–1153.
Dohmen, T., Falk, A., Huffman, D., Schupp, J., Sunde, U., & Wagner, G. (2005).
Individual risk attitudes: New evidence from a large, representative,
experimentally-validated survey. Bonn, Germany: Institute for the Study of Labor.
Elliot, A. J., & Thrash, T. M. (2001). Narcissism and motivation. Psychological Inquiry,
12(4), 216–219.
Foster, J. D., Misra, T. A., & Reidy, D. E. (2009). Narcissists are approach-oriented
toward their money and their friends. Journal of Research in Personality, 43(5),
Foster, J. D., Shenesey, J. W., & Goff, J. S. (2009). Why do narcissists take more risks?
Testing the roles of perceived risks and benefits of risky behaviors. Personality
and Individual Differences, 47(8), 885–889.
Gabriel, M. T., Critelli, J. W., & Ee, J. S. (1994). Narcissistic illusions in self-evaluations
of intelligence and attractiveness. Journal of Personality, 62(1), 143–155.
Heckhausen, J., & Schulz, R. (1995). A life-span theory of control. Psychological
Review, 102, 284–304.
Holland, J. L. (1997). Making vocational choices. Odessa, FL: Psychological
Assessment Resources.
Judge, T. A., & Bono, J. E. (2002). Are self-esteem, generalized self-efficacy,
neuroticism, and locus of control indicators of a common construct? In B. W.
Roberts & R. Hogan (Eds.). Personality Psychology in the Workplace. Washington,
DC: American Psychological Association, pp. 93–118.
Judge, T. A., & Kristof-Brown, A. (2004). Personality, interaction psychology, and
person-organization fit. In B. Schneider & D. B. Smith (Eds.), Personality and
organizations (pp. 87–109). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Koellinger, P., Minniti, M., & Schade, C. (2007). I think I can, I think I can:
Overconfidence and entrepreneurial behavior. Journal of Economic Psychology,
28(4), 502–527.
Lakey, C. E., Rose, P., Campbell, W. K., & Goodie, A. S. (2008). Probing the link
between narcissism and gambling: The mediating role of judgment and
decision-making biases. Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, 21(2), 113–137.
Morf, C. C., & Rhodewalt, F. (2001). Unraveling the paradoxes of narcissism: A
dynamic self-regulatory processing model. Psychological Inquiry, 12(4),
Morf, C. C., Weir, C., & Davidov, M. (2000). Narcissism and intrinsic motivation: The
role of goal congruence. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 36(4),
Mueller, S. L., & Thomas, A. S. (2001). Culture and entrepreneurial potential: A nine
country study of locus of control and innovativeness. Journal of Business
Venturing, 16(1), 51–75.
Paulhus, D. (1983). Sphere-specific measures of perceived control. Journal of
Personality and Social Psychology, 44(6), 1253–1265.
Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The dark triad of personality: Narcissism,
machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36,
Podsakoff, P. M., MacKenzie, S. B., Lee, J. Y., & Podsakoff, N. P. (2003). Common
method biases in behavioral research: A critical review of the literature and
recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879–903.
Poon, J. M. L., Ainuddin, R. A., & Junit, S. O. H. (2006). Effects of self-concept traits
and entrepreneurial orientation on firm performance. International Small
Business Journal, 24(1), 61–82.
Raskin, R. N., & Novacek, J. (1991). Narcissism and the use of fantasy. Journal of
Clinical Psychology, 47(4), 490–499.
Rauch, A., & Frese, M. (2005). Let’s put the person back into entrepreneurship
research: A meta-analysis on the relationship between business owners’
personality traits, business creation, and success. European Journal of Work
and Organizational Psychology, 16(4), 353–385.
Rotter, J. B. (1966). Generalized expectancies for internal versus external control of
reinforcement. Psychological Monographs, 80(1), 1–28.
Schwarzer, R. & Jerusalem, M. (1995). Generalized self-efficacy scale. In J. Weinman
& S. Wright & M. Johnston (Eds.), Measures in health psychology: A user’s portfolio.
Causal and control beliefs (pp. 35–37). Windsor, England: NFER-NELSON.
Shane, S. (2009). Why encouraging more people to become entrepreneurs is bad
public policy. Small Business Economics, 33(2), 141–149.
Stewart, W. H., Jr., & Roth, P. L. (2001). Risk propensity differences between
entrepreneurs and managers: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 86(1), 145–153.
Thompson, E. (2009). Individual entrepreneurial intent: Construct clarification and
development of an internationally reliable metric. Entrepreneurship Theory and
Practice, 33(3), 669–694.
Twenge, J. M., & Foster, J. D. (2008). Mapping the scale of the narcissism epidemic:
Increases in narcissism 2002–2007 within ethnic groups. Journal of Research in
Personality, 42(6), 1619–1622.
Wilson, F., Kickul, J. R., & Marlino, D. (2007). Gender, entrepreneurial self-efficacy,
and entrepreneurial career intentions: Implications for entrepreneurship
education. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31(3), 387–407.
Young, S. M., & Pinsky, D. (2006). Narcissism and celebrity. Journal of Research in
Personality, 40, 463–471.
Zhao, H., Seibert, S. E., & Hills, G. E. (2005). The mediating role of self-efficacy in the
development of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(6),
Zhao, H., Seibert, S. E., & Lumpkin, G. T. (2010). The relationship of personality to
entrepreneurial intentions and performance: A meta-analytic review. Journal of
Management, 36(2), 381–404.
C. Mathieu, É. St-Jean / Personality and Individual Differences 55 (2013) 527–531 531
... Established entrepreneurs are defined as those entrepreneurs who have been actively practising as owners or managers of their businesses for more than three and a half years (Bosma and Kelley, 2019). Previous research has often focused on student and nascent entrepreneurs (Mathieu and St-Jean, 2013;Hmieleski and Lerner, 2016) and the nascent stages of the entrepreneurial process in understanding the link between personality traits, entrepreneurial intention and behaviour (Shirokova et al., 2016;Esfandiar et al., 2019;Liu et al., 2019;Antoncic et al., 2015;Shirokova et al., 2016). By focusing on established entrepreneurs in this paper, additional perspectives such as understanding the personal and business growth of entrepreneurs; opportunity identification as well as entrepreneurial identity in relation to the narcissistic traits from those who have been actively functioning as experienced entrepreneurs (Bosma and Kelley, 2019) can be explored. ...
... The NPI is one of those quantitative measurement scales in the field which have been developed, revised and modified by scholars over many decades (Raskin and Hall, 1979;Ames et al., 2006). Scholars such as Hmieleski and Lerner (2016) and Mathieu and St-Jean (2013) call for research following the qualitative route in analysing narcissism within entrepreneurship, and therefore, this study aims to contribute to the literature in this space while aiming to achieve a more holistic and balanced view of entrepreneurial behaviour. ...
... After an extensive literature review on narcissism as well as the entrepreneurship personality, specific narcissistic traitswhich were the most cited within the referenced literaturehave been identified as the most common. These traits include an inflated positive view of self (Liu et al., 2019;Navis and Ozbek, 2016), self-enhancement (Liu et al., 2019;Twenge et al., 2008), superiority Upside of narcissism (Macenczak et al., 2016;O'Reilly et al., 2014), entitlement (Liu et al., 2019;Macenczak et al., 2016) and exhibitionism (Macenczak et al., 2016;Twenge et al., 2008;Mathieu and St-Jean, 2013 The paper makes several contributions. The paper's findings provide insights into the multidimensionality of narcissism, normally viewed as a dark or negative trait, within entrepreneurship. ...
Purpose As research emerged in terms of how narcissism, a negative or dark trait, has been found to be constructive in enhancing entrepreneurial behaviour, there are mixed results regarding the significance of narcissism in the field of entrepreneurship. Additionally, this previous research has mostly been conducted on student or nascent entrepreneur samples within developed economies. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore how narcissistic traits of established entrepreneurs in an emerging economy context infuence their entrepreneurial behaviour both positively and negatively. Design/methodology/approach Gioia methodology was applied in the qualitative study by means of in-depth interviews, which allowed for the unpacking of narcissistic traits among established entrepreneurs in South Africa. Four themes emerged from the data, and included insights related to entrepreneurial experience influencing behaviour; business growth linked to personal development; opportunity identification versus loss; and identity separation in relation to authentic identity versus an entrepreneurial identity. Findings The findings of the paper contribute to creating an understanding of how to hone individual narcissistic traits for positive influences that develop entrepreneurs while also contributing to their business development, opportunity realization and identity. In addition, the findings highlighted a separation between established entrepreneurs’ authentic personality and the inputs that end up resulting in the entrepreneurial personality. Originality/value This paper highlights the possibility of narcissism functioning as a business process involved in entrepreneurship rather than a necessary personality trait. An interesting dynamic contributed to what seems to be a constant battle between the authentic identity and the entrepreneur identity, gaining deeper insight surrounding established entrepreneurs’ experiences to survive and, more importantly, thrive as entrepreneurs.
... Narcissism comprises self-love, self-admiration, and the propensity to think about others as an extension of the self, because of the continuous search for self-affirmation (Chatterjee & Hambrick, 2007). Accordingly, narcissists fantasize about fame and power, thinking they are special and unique, and seeing themselves as more intelligent and attractive than others (Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013). Previous studies have labeled narcissism as a controversial trait, because of the antithetical connotation, namely a destructive and a constructive side (Leonelli & Masciarelli, 2020;Maccoby, 2003). ...
... Psychopaths tend to charm and manipulate others in various ways for their personal purposes (Hare, 1999). Prior literature shows that psychopathy leads to troubled and conflicting feelings about emotions (Wu, Wang, Lee, et al., 2019,Wu, Wang, Zheng, et al., 2019, which results in the rejection of social norms and the constant need to oppose the status quo (Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013). Psychopathic individuals rarely experience emotional empathy, thus being capable of using other people to achieve their goals (Jonason & Krause, 2013). ...
Masstige marketing represents the democratization of luxury to middle-class consumers. The purchase of luxury brands aims to satisfy utilitarian and hedonic customers’ motives, based on their personality traits, even the dark ones (such as narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy). The continuous evolution of technologies pushes consumers to face their technological adoption propensity. Smartphones can be considered as objects able to extend the self of consumers and their status. The interest of our research is to investigate the masstige perception of smartphone brands, through the lens of the antecedents of consumers' behavior and the dark side of their personalities. The relationship is explored considering the technological propensity of consumers. We analyzed three market leader brands in the smartphone industry – Apple (iPhone), Samsung, and Huawei. The research contributes to the academic literature on the impact of the dark side of personalities on masstige marketing and technology adoption propensity.
... Entrepreneurship is a good way to achieve self-superiority. Many studies have shown that narcissism is significantly positively correlated with entrepreneurial intentions and entry (Mathieu and St-Jean, 2013;Hmieleski and Lerner, 2016;Gao and Huang, 2021). ...
Full-text available
This study investigates the impact of entrepreneurship education on college students’ entrepreneurial intentions, as well as the moderating effects of personality and family economic status on the relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intention, respectively. We tested our hypotheses using a sample of college students in Tianjin, China, and analyzed the data of 326 questionnaires containing validated measures. The results show that entrepreneurship education has a positive impact on college students’ entrepreneurial intentions; proactive personality negatively moderates this relationship; and family economic status positively moderates it. However, the moderating effect of narcissistic personality has not been verified. This study is unique and innovative as it brings new insights to this stream of literature by introducing the roles of the personality and family economic status in the relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intention. Our analysis provides important empirical evidence about the negative moderating effect of proactive personality and the positive moderating effect of family economic status on the relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intention, introducing insights into the heterogeneity of the effect of entrepreneurship education.
... Being proactive aids one to adjust to changes and unexpected situations or environments . By being proactive, one does not merely anticipate change; they initiate it for a more significant cause (Mathieu and St-Jean, 2013). In the business context, taking the initiative to improve the business is associated with being proactive as businesses continually need to deal with changes (Karabulut, 2016). ...
Full-text available
This study explored the effect of attitude towards entrepreneurship (ATE), need for achievement (NFA), risk-taking propensity (RTP), proactive personality (PRP), self-efficacy (SLE), opportunity recognition competency (ORC), entrepreneurship education, uncertainty avoidance (UNA), and entrepreneurial knowledge (ENK) on entrepreneurial intention (ENIN) among university students in Malaysia. This quantitative study had adopted the cross-sectional design approach and involved 391 university students in Malaysia via the online survey. The study outcomes revealed that the NFA, PRP, and SLE significantly affect students’ attitudes towards entrepreneurship. Moreover, entrepreneurship education and UNA significantly affect ORC. Finally, ATE has a positive and significant effect on ENIN among university students in Malaysia. As entrepreneurship offers an alternative career path for people seeking economic prosperity and addressing social issues, including unemployment, the government should formulate effective policies and regulations that support entrepreneurship activities. Universities and other institutions should play a pivotal role in providing the proper exposure via entrepreneurship education while honing the essential traits for a career in entrepreneurship.
... In this paper, the focus will be on nonpathological narcissism, which is common of those people who manifest vanity, superiority and entitlement (Leonelli, 2021). Narcissists are also characterised by high levels of self-love and self-admiration, and they consider themselves more unique, smarter and more attractive than others (Leonelli et al., 2019;Mathieu and St-Jean, 2013). Only a few studies investigate the relationship between narcissism and recognition and exploitation of entrepreneurial opportunities. ...
Purpose This paper analyses how entrepreneurs recognise and exploit entrepreneurial opportunities following a sustainable approach that respects the equilibrium among environmental, social and commercial purposes, and how their personality affects this process. The main personality traits focused in this study are narcissism, locus of control and sustainability orientation. Design/methodology/approach This single case study involves Essentia Dimora Rurale, a small agritourism business, located in Molise (Italy), characterised by a sustainable business model that generates value for the local environment, thus revitalising abandoned territories. Data are collected using qualitative and quantitative methods and are analysed using the Gioia methodology. Findings The Essentia Dimora Rurale's approach is rooted in the concept of sustainability and the development of tourism in the territory. The preservation of traditional values and the creation of a network allow the firm to prosper and survive. The personalities of the two sibling entrepreneurs fuel the process, and the authors show that each personality trait plays a different role in each phase of the firm's growth. Research limitations/implications From a theoretical point of view, the study contributes to entrepreneurial, sustainability and personality literature. However, using a single case study can represent a limit for the research. Practical implications Various practical implications are recognised concerning several stakeholders, such as the owners and the entities linked to the regional promotion and tourism sectors. Originality/value The novelty of the research relies on the importance of entrepreneur opportunity identification, particularly in sustainable firms. Moreover, the authors fill the literature gap investigating the impact of three personality traits in this process.
... According to Hannibal et al. (2016), entrepreneurial self-efficacy motivates academics to act in the markets, which helps them overcome their initial limitations. This self-efficacy has led them to an individual perception related to their ability to successfully complete a task, and consequently the literature has related this variable to entrepreneurial intention (Zhao et al. 2005;Ozgen and Baron 2007;Guerrero et al. 2008;Díaz-García and Jiménez-Moreno 2010;Prodan and Drnovsek 2010;Mathieu and St-Jean 2013;Shinnar et al. 2014;Fernández-Pérez et al. 2014;Huyghe and Knockaert 2015). Self-efficacy can be a mechanism to overcome the financial, technological, and legal uncertainty, which is often associated with entrepreneurship and development in new markets (Markman et al. 2002;Obschonka et al. 2010). ...
Full-text available
Academic spin-offs (ASOs) are companies with a strong international vocation for two main reasons: first, they market their products and services in global market niches to profit from their high investment in R&D, characteristic of the sectors in which ASOs operate; and second, as a consequence of the international training and experience and of the international networks that the founding academic entrepreneurs of these companies tend to enjoy, derived from their scientific activity. Despite this natural tendency to internationalize, ASOs and specifically the founding academic entrepreneurs of these companies present certain difficulties in accessing resources for internationalization and in achieving credibility in foreign markets due to their university origins. Based on the resource-based view (RBV), and network theory (NT), this work proposes that the human capital, the social capital, and the psychological capital of the academic entrepreneur could compensate for these obstacles, providing key resources for the internationalization of their companies. The results contribute to the RBV, NT, and academic entrepreneurship and internationalization literature since they show that human capital, in terms of the international experience and training of the academic entrepreneur, their networks of relationships with international academic agents, and their psychological capital, are all antecedents of the internationalization of ASOs. However, the networks of academic entrepreneur relationships with international market agents appear to be irrelevant in the process of international expansion of ASOs.
... A study conducted on the entrepreneur students narrates that the narcissistic personality is more associated with entrepreneurship. The students who are entrepreneurs have narcissistic personalities than non-entrepreneurs because of taking risks and locus of control [136]. An entrepreneur must be an all-rounder and have multi-dimension skills [137]. ...
In this study, we draw on the threatened egotism theory to examine the effect of angel narcissism on their investment behaviors and the boundary condition of past investment performance. We propose that angel narcissism is positively related to deal size and portfolio industry diversification but negatively related to the number of co-investors. Moreover, past investment performance moderates these relationships such that the effects of angel narcissism on their investment behaviors are stronger when past investment performance is lower. Data from a longitudinal analysis of 133 angels from 2010 to 2019 largely supported our hypotheses. Our study, the first to examine angel narcissism, highlights the psychological foundation of angel investing.
Our study proposed a research model in which opportunity recognition mediates the relationships between the Dark Triad personality traits and entrepreneurial intentions, and locus of control moderates the influence of opportunity recognition on entrepreneurial intentions based on the theory of planned behavior. To test the model, we used data collected from a sample of 962 undergraduate students who were enrolled in nine Vietnamese universities. The results show that opportunity recognition mediates the effects of the Dark Triad traits, namely Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and narcissism, on entrepreneurial intentions. In addition, the influence of opportunity recognition on entrepreneurial intentions was positively moderated by internal locus of control and negatively moderated by external locus of control. Our results cast light on the mediation and moderation mechanisms of the relationships between Dark Triad traits and entrepreneurial intentions and provide empirical evidence supporting the theory of planned behavior. Furthermore, the study proposes implications for educators to motivate students’ intentions to start a business venture.
Full-text available
This paper aims to examine the direct effect of the HEXACO personality traits on entrepreneurial intention and career adaptability, the indirect effect of personality traits on entrepreneurial intention through career adaptability, and the direct effect of career adaptability on entrepreneurial intention. A 55-item questionnaire was employed to measure the personality traits of HEXACO, career adaptability, and entrepreneurial intention. The study sample includes more than half of the students of the business department (n = 485) of a public university based in Athens. The results indicate that extraversion, conscientiousness, and openness have a direct and positive impact on entrepreneurial intention, while emotionality has a negative one. Also, career adaptability relates positively to entrepreneurial intention. Openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and humility affect positively career adaptability. Finally, it is indicated that openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and humility have an indirect and positive relationship with entrepreneurial intention through career adaptability. The data were empirically tested using the Jamovi program that uses the R code for designing the analysis (Rosseel, 2019). These findings suggest the need for more studies that will investigate the validity of the findings presented here in different settings (McKenna, Zacher, Ardabili, & Mohebbi, 2016; Brännback & Carsrud, 2018).
Full-text available
A set of meta-analyses were conducted to examine the relationship of personality to outcomes associated with two different stages of the entrepreneurial process: entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial performance. A broad range of personality scales were categorized into a parsimonious set of constructs using the Five Factor model of personality. The results show that four of the Big Five personality dimensions were associated with both dependent variables, with agreeableness failing to be associated with either. Multivariate effect sizes were moderate for the full set of Big Five personality variables on entrepreneurial intentions (multiple R = .36) and entrepreneurial performance (multiple R = .31). Risk propensity, included as a separate dimension of personality, was positively associated with entrepreneurial intentions but was not related to entrepreneurial performance. These effects suggest that personality plays a role in the emergence and success of entrepreneurs.
Full-text available
The role of personality traits in the decision to start a business and to maintain it successfully is discussed controversially in entrepreneurship research. Our meta-analysis builds upon and extends earlier meta-analyses by doing a full analysis of personality traits that includes a comparison of different traits from a theoretical perspective and by analysing a full set of personality predictors for both start-up activities as well as success. Theoretically, our article adds to the literature by matching traits to the tasks of entrepreneurs. The results indicate that traits matched to the task of running a business produced higher effect sizes with business creation than traits that were not matched to the task of running an enterprise, corrected r = .247, K = 47, N = 13,280, and corrected r = .124, K = 20, N = 3975, respectively. Moreover, traits matched to the task produced higher correlations with success, corrected r = .250, K = 42, N = 5607, than traits not matched to the task of running a business, corrected r = .028, K = 13, N = 2777. The traits matched to entrepreneurship significantly correlated with entrepreneurial behaviour (business creation, business success) were need for achievement, generalized self-efficacy, innovativeness, stress tolerance, need for autonomy, and proactive personality. These relationships were of moderate size in general and, moreover, heterogeneity suggested that future research should analyse moderator variables.
Interest in the problem of method biases has a long history in the behavioral sciences. Despite this, a comprehensive summary of the potential sources of method biases and how to control for them does not exist. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine the extent to which method biases influence behavioral research results, identify potential sources of method biases, discuss the cognitive processes through which method biases influence responses to measures, evaluate the many different procedural and statistical techniques that can be used to control method biases, and provide recommendations for how to select appropriate procedural and statistical remedies for different types of research settings.
The literature on narcissism in organizational contexts is reviewed. We begin by describing the context of narcissism and several relevant theoretical approaches to understanding it. We next describe research on narcissism in a range of organizational topics, from leadership to meta-organizational issues. We conclude by highlighting several reoccurring themes involving the role of narcissism in organizational contexts, with an emphasis on articulating directions for future research.
Entrepreneurship research has identified a number of personal characteristics believed to be instrumental in motivating entrepreneurial behavior. Two frequently cited personal traits associated with entrepreneurial potential are internal locus of control and innovativeness. Internal locus of control has been one of the most studied psychological traits in entrepreneurship research, while innovative activity is explicit in Schumpeter's description of the entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial traits have been studied extensively in the United States. However, cross-cultural studies and studies in non-U.S. contexts are rare and in most cases limited to comparisons between one or two countries or cultures. Thus the question is raised: do entrepreneurial traits vary systematically across cultures and if so, why?
We used the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) to assess the degree of narcissism among celebrities. Results indicate that celebrities are significantly more narcissistic than MBA students and the general population. Contrary to findings in the population at large, in which men are more narcissistic than women, female celebrities were found to be significantly more narcissistic than their male counterparts. Reality television personalities had the highest overall scores on the NPI, followed by comedians, actors, and musicians. Further, our analyses fail to show any relationship between NPI scores and years of experience in the entertainment industry, suggesting that celebrities may have narcissistic tendencies prior to entering the industry.