The Impact of Spousal Relationships on Business Venture Success

Gillian Owens, Jonathan Scott, John Blenkinsopp

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Objectives: This study seeks to explore whether the spousal relationships of entrepreneurs have an impact on their business ventures by focusing upon the concept of Relationship-Inferred Self-Efficacy (RISE). Prior Work: The focus of the entrepreneurship literature has traditionally been on individual entrepreneurs, their personal characteristics, motivation and their ability to identify and create opportunities. Little attention has been paid to the spousal relationships of those entrepreneurs and their contribution to the success of the entrepreneurial venture. This research seeks to address this gap in the literature. Approach: A sample of 31 entrepreneurs and spouses were interviewed using an unstructured method. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using template analysis, chosen because it provides flexibility in its approach and has fewer specified procedures. Results: The data suggests the unique dynamics found in the entrepreneur / spouse relationship can introduce many forms of enabling qualities which contribute to the success of the entrepreneurial ventures. These include RISE, which provides belief from another if self-belief is waning during difficult times; an identity bubble, which allows the entrepreneur to be him- or herself without the pressures of socially constructed identity, which ensures that the entrepreneur is protected from humdrum everyday activity allowing her or him to focus on their business venture. Implications: These findings add a qualitative dimension to the existing literature. Whilst Relationship Inferred Self-Efficacy (RISE) has previously been discussed within the context of the coach/athlete dyadic relationship it has not been considered within the entrepreneur/spouse context. The identity bubble has strong links to the socially constructed entrepreneurial personality. Value: This paper makes a novel contribution in that it explores entrepreneur/spousal dynamics utilizing an in-depth focused qualitative methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2013
EventInstitute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship conference 2013 - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Nov 201313 Nov 2013


ConferenceInstitute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship conference 2013
CountryUnited Kingdom

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    Owens, G., Scott, J., & Blenkinsopp, J. (2013). The Impact of Spousal Relationships on Business Venture Success. Paper presented at Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship conference 2013, Cardiff, United Kingdom.