People - 04.04.2018 - 00:00 

What motivates entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurship is intriguing. Nevertheless, the risk of failure is high. What role motivation might play in this respect is the subject of Justus von Grone's thesis.

4 April 2018. Justus von Grone founded his first company during his studies. Among his friends, there are plenty of people who have experience with starting their own business. This is why he wanted to understand the topic of entrepreneurship not only from the practical but also the scientific point of view. In his doctoral thesis entitled "What drives entrepreneurs? Uncovering motivational dynamics of entrepreneurship through regulatory focus theory" he examined the motivation of entrepreneurs and business owners.

Motivation and promotion or prevention focus
"In psychology, there is the concept of regulatory focus," says Justus von Grone. "The theory is that each individual is motivated to achieve their goals either by promotion or prevention focus." While in the case of promotion focus, the individual is focused on profits and positive outcomes, in the case of prevention focus, the individual is focused on preventing losses and negative outcomes. But how does an entrepreneur successfully apply their own regulatory focus in the business sense?

Motivation varies depending on the goal
According to Justus von Grone, one of the key findings is that, depending on the situation, entrepreneurs can have different motivation in achieving their goals. Grone devised a new scale for this purpose. "In this way, I found out that promotion-focused entrepreneurs intend to set up more companies. "Prevention focused entrepreneurs also want this, but only if they have acquired enough knowledge about potential critical situations and failure." Dealing openly with entrepreneurial failure, therefore, has the benefit of learning from it and supporting entrepreneurial motivation.

Work helps to address entrepreneurial issues
Entrepreneurship is intriguing: "Few factors have such a strong impact on job creation, innovation or, in general, on a dynamic and competitive economy," says von Grone. "Nevertheless, the risk of failure is high." His doctoral thesis contributes to a better understanding of the two motivational dynamics of entrepreneurs. "What is more, I hope that my doctoral thesis will help budding entrepreneurs to take the step towards starting their own business and help them deal with critical situations and thus make the right entrepreneurial decisions."

This is why in the future, von Grone wants to be active in practice as well as in the academic field. In practice, for example, he may find new fields of research that would make a theoretical and, in particular, a relevant practical contribution to academic research.

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