The "lived-experience" of entrepreneurs intrinsic motivation and feelings about navigating their external environment

by Davis, Tammy D., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2015, 229 pages; 10008708


The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to gain new and deep insight into how start-up entrepreneurs interpret, perceive, and describe their motivation to start a new venture and how it felt to navigate their external environment from a legal/political, education, securing capital, and practical training perspective. Sample frame of 25 participants were purposefully selected whose businesses were in operation from 1 to 3 years with yearly revenues less than $2million. Relevant demographics of the entrepreneurs varied in age, gender, ethnicity, education status, industry, and legal structures. Based on elements of the self-determination theory of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivators were used to describe how entrepreneurs interpret their personal experience in starting a new venture and barriers that hindered their internal motivation to continue or excel on the entrepreneurial journey. Findings in this study revealed that the vast majority of entrepreneurs contribute spirituality, perseverance, and personal experience as internal motivators to start their own business and continues to give them the courage and strength to believe in themselves to be successful. The individual characteristics and personal traits they disclose are independence, flexibility, social consciousness, intensity, and persistence. External motivators, from a legal perspective, these entrepreneurs lacked knowledge on how to structure a business and showed very little concern for politicians or lawmakers. They do not believe that lawmakers are serious about addressing their issues and they do not believe the education system is doing enough to teach basic skills on how to become an entrepreneur or operate a business. Future studies in the plight of start-up entrepreneurs can contribute to empowering more people to become self-employed and allow lawmakers, educators, and financial institutions to contribute to the development and expansion of our economy by preparing, training, and lending a hand-up to those who dare to follow their passion.

AdviserTony Pizur
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBusiness administration; Entrepreneurship; Management
Publication Number10008708

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