Appraisals matter: relationships between entrepreneurs' stress appraisals and venture-based outcomes


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate how stress appraisals (i.e. cognitive evaluations) influence entrepreneurial outcomes like expected financial well-being, life satisfaction, business growth and exit intentions. Design/methodology/approach: This study uses a mixed-methods approach to provide methodological triangulation by analyzing data from two independent samples (qualitative data from 100 entrepreneurs in Study 1; quantitative regression analysis of a sample of 142 entrepreneurs in Study 2). Findings: Results from the qualitative exploration (Study 1) show that entrepreneurs appraised venture-related stressors differently as a challenge, threat or hindrance. The quantitative study (Study 2) found that challenge stress appraisals were positively related to expected financial well-being and expected life satisfaction, threat stress appraisals were negatively related to expected financial well-being and positively related to business exit intentions, and hindrance stress appraisals were positively related to expected business growth and negatively related to business exit intentions. Originality/value: Most entrepreneurship research focuses on stressors rather than appraisals of the stressor. Drawing upon the transactional theory of stress that explains how stress appraisals are an important consideration for understanding the stress process, these two studies showed that stress appraisals differ for each entrepreneur (Study 1) and that stress appraisals explain more variance in many entrepreneurial outcomes than stressors (Study 2).

Publication Title

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research