Entrepreneurial motivation: a non-entrepreneur’s journey to become an entrepreneur

  • Raj V. Mahto
  • William C. McDowell


In entrepreneurship literature, much research effort is focused on differentiating entrepreneurs, recognizing or exploiting opportunities, resources available or required, or a combination of the three entrepreneurship-defining factors. There is, however, very little research on understanding a non-entrepreneur’s motivation to become an entrepreneur. This greatly limits our knowledge of the entrepreneurial process. It has hindered our understanding of how non-entrepreneurs are motivated to pursue entrepreneurial career options and has led to misinformed decisions by scholars and policy makers. In this paper, our goal is to develop a theory of entrepreneurial motivation that explains how non-entrepreneurs develop the motivation to pursue entrepreneurship. We argue that an individual’s self-assessment of their identity is the primary factor in individuals developing entrepreneurial motivation. The identity self-assessment leads individuals either to seek enhancement of their identity or establish a new identity that opens them to the influence of entrepreneurial motivation reinforcing entrepreneurial exposure in their social environment.


Entrepreneurial Motivation Entrepreneurship Theory Identity Self-Assessment Social Identity 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Anderson School of ManagementThe University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Bradley UniversityPeoriaUSA

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