Abstract

Drawing on role congruity theory (Eagly & Karau, 2002) we investigate whether an individual’s gender moderates the relationship between their level of psychopathic tendencies and their entrepreneurial intentions. Characteristics typical of entrepreneurs are usually defined in agentic terms, which are ascribed more strongly to men, while women are traditionally ascribed communal characteristics. Tthe characteristics associated with entrepreneurship roles have traditionally been associated more with men than women causing entrepreneurship to be viewed as more congruent with the masculine gender role (Eagly & Karau, 2002).

Societal pressure to conform to prescribed gender roles is strong, but personality characteristics, such as psychopathy, can influence the extent to which an individual adheres to these prescribed roles. Psychopathy manifests in both clinical and subclinical forms. Those with subclinical psychopath tendencies can function in society (Babiak & Hare, 2006). Many of the traits associated with psychopathy are viewed as negative but researchers have suggested there might be a positive aspect to psychopathy (Person, 1986, & Chiaburu, Muñoz, & Gardner, 2013) and extant research finds that psychopathy has a positive relationship with entrepreneurial intentions (Akhtar, Ahmetoglu, & Chamorro-Premuzik, 2013). We build on this literature and apply role theory to hypothesize a positive relationship between psychopathy and entrepreneurial intentions which is moderated by gender such that the relationship will be stronger for women than for men.

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