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Article

The pursuit of entrepreneurship is often characterized by high levels of struggle and adversity, and even those who ultimately succeed in their entrepreneurial endeavors routinely experience failures and setbacks along the way. Therefore, it is likely that individuals who are more skilled at coping with, and conquering, such obstacles in their quest for success are more apt to enter, and be successful at, entrepreneurial careers. While several factors contribute to an individual’s ability to persevere through adversity and to continue to work to accomplish long-term goals, individual grit has garnered an increasing level of attention as a key element in such persistence, particularly in entrepreneurial contexts. Grit, conceptualized as an individual’s passion and perseverance in the pursuit of accomplishing long-term goals, can play several roles in the entrepreneurial process. While grit is a potential outcome of entrepreneurial passion, it also has important associations with several key entrepreneurial outcomes. For instance, given that entrepreneurship is linked with risk-taking, grit is an asset for individuals who chase entrepreneurial opportunities. Higher levels of risk incur a greater likelihood of failure, and the ability to persist with entrepreneurial initiatives in the face of failures is potentially bolstered by high levels of grit. Furthermore, persistence against adversity can often translate into improved venture performance as a result of entrepreneurs’ continued, focused efforts at developing and improving their new venture. Furthermore, grit may play an even more important role for individuals who face heightened levels of adversity during their entrepreneurial careers. Women and younger individuals often experience unique challenges that their counterparts who are men or older do not have to face. Therefore, having high levels of grit may be an advantage in women and youth. While the relationship between grit and entrepreneurship has gained considerable momentum as a topic of scholarly interest, there are important avenues available for future research to further develop understanding of the topic.

Article

Alexander Bolinger and Mark Bolinger

There is currently great enthusiasm for entrepreneurship education and the economic benefits that entrepreneurial activity can generate for individuals, organizations, and communities. Beyond economic outcomes, however, there is a variety of social and emotional costs and benefits of engaging in entrepreneurship that may not be evident to students nor emphasized in entrepreneurship courses. The socioemotional costs of entrepreneurship are consequential: on the one hand, entrepreneurs who pour their time and energy into new ventures can incur costs (e.g., ruptured personal and professional relationships, decreased life satisfaction and well-being, or strong negative reactions such as grief) that can often be as or more personally disruptive and enduring than economic costs. On the other hand, the social and emotional benefits of an entrepreneurial lifestyle are often cited as intrinsically satisfying and as primary motivations for initiating and sustaining entrepreneurial activity. The socioemotional aspects of entrepreneurship are often poorly understood by students, but highlighting these hidden dimensions of entrepreneurial activity can inform their understanding and actions as prospective entrepreneurs. For instance, entrepreneurial passion, the experience of positive emotions as a function of engaging in activities that fulfill one’s entrepreneurial identity, and social capital, whereby entrepreneurs build meaningful relationships with co-owners, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders, are two specific socioemotional benefits of entrepreneurship. There are also several potential socioemotional costs of entrepreneurial activity. For instance, entrepreneurship can involve negative emotional responses such as grief and lost identity from failure. Even when an entrepreneur does not fail, the stress of entrepreneurial activity can lead to sleep deprivation and disruptions to both personal and professional connections. Then, entrepreneurs can identify so closely and feel so invested that they experience counterproductive forms of obsessive passion that consume their identities and impair their well-being.