Abstract

While ample research has demonstrated the negative psychological ramifications of entrepreneurship (e.g., Boyd & Gumpert, 1983), little work extols the potential positive outcomes that founding a venture has on an entrepreneurs’ psychological well-being. In this paper, we offer a novel outcome of starting a new business and test it within a highly relevant, yet understudied setting. Specifically, we argue that entrepreneurship can provide founders with “Purpose in Life” (PIL; Crumbaugh & Maholick, 1964), defined as the presence of meaning and goal-directedness (Ryff & Singer, 1998), and explore this relationship within a base of the pyramid context. We draw upon established work that explicates a deep emotional and prideful connection between an entrepreneur and their business (e.g., Shepherd, 2003) to develop theory arguing that entrepreneurship may be a powerful tool in gaining PIL, yet that this effect fades over time. We further hypothesize that the presence of community support moderates this relationship.

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