Abstract

Anyone observing entrepreneurs finds their passion inescapable. Indeed, practitioners scoff at entrepreneurship scholars for ignoring passion. Reasons for entrepreneurs to act appear to be a function of more situation-specific “human spirits” than rational behavior. While Keynes’ “animal spirits” – here conceptualized as “human spirits”- merits deeper consideration, few economists have analyzed this. What is the spark and from whence does it arise? Here we use the lens of entrepreneurial intentions to understand the central role of passion in the entrepreneurial event. We argue here and empirically test whether passion is the ‘missing link’ in entrepreneurial intentions.

Entrepreneurs tend to believe that they have an above average likelihood of surviving and succeeding in their chosen new venture, a remarkable level of optimism in entrepreneurs that seems independent of 'rational' predictors such as experience (Cooper, Dunkleberg, & Woo, 1988). Vallerand, et al (2003) developed a measurement tool of the negative and positive forms of passion, Obsessive and Harmonious. For example, passion without planning tends to be obsessive while passion with planning tends to be harmonious.

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