The Relationship between Entrepreneurial Intention, the Big Five Personality Traits and Emotional Intelligence

Abstract :

The interest in entrepreneurial intention has escalated drastically over the last decades. Gaining a better understanding of the minds, behavior and personality profile of individuals who become entrepreneurs can be beneficial to the growth of the economy of a country. The literature provides numerous theories that link entrepreneurial intention and personality and at the same time there is a link between emotional intelligence and entrepreneurial intention. However, limited evidence was found where personality, emotional intelligence and entrepreneurial intention were investigated in the same study. Furthermore, some studies focus on the link between personality, as one construct, and entrepreneurial intention. The purpose of this paper is to determine the relationship between entrepreneurial intention and the Big Five individual personality traits as well as the relationship between entrepreneurial intention and emotional intelligence. To investigate these relationships, 177 nascent entrepreneurs, who indicated strong entrepreneurial intentions to start a business, completed a self-completion questionnaire. The findings suggest that two of the Big Five personality traits (i.e., conscientiousness and openness to experience) have positive relationships with entrepreneurial intention while one trait (i.e., neuroticism) has a negative relationship with entrepreneurial intention. Openness to experience seems to be the personality trait most strongly correlated with entrepreneurial intention compared to the other four traits. Furthermore, a positive relationship between entrepreneurial intention and emotional intelligence exists. A better understanding of individuals who possess entrepreneurial intention and which personality traits can enhance entrepreneurial intention may assist government programs, career councillors and business schools to identify, develop and support individuals who aspire to start their own businesses.