The Value of Happiness in Entrepreneurship



Following the recent trend of studying positive experiences in entrepreneurship, the current dissertation seeks to dig into a new perspective in driving entrepreneurship: individuals choose and strive for entrepreneurship due to happiness, and in turn the level of happiness plays a key role in affecting individuals’ preference and likelihood of being selected into this process. The four empirical studies in this dissertation present an integrative framework of the value of happiness in entrepreneurship—whether, why and how happiness is connected to entrepreneurship.

Specifically, it focuses on the volitional effect of happiness on entrepreneurial action enacted on different phases of new business creation process—the absolute entrepreneurial engagement (study 1: engagement versus non- engagement), the relative entrepreneurial engagement (study 2: engagement levels in terms of entrepreneurship quality), and the post entrepreneurial engagement (study 3: subsequent motivational actions of entrepreneurial orientation, effort, and persistence). Moreover, regarding entrepreneurship as one cognitive mindset, study 4 examines the effect of happiness on effectuation, one important construct of entrepreneurship in explaining and representing entrepreneurial mindset. The dissertation conceptualizes a theoretical framework of happiness with three distinct unit dimensions (positive affect, positive evaluation, and positive functioning) and two different unit levels (individual happiness and population happiness). The differential effects of three distinguished dimensions of happiness on entrepreneurship are examined in study 4, and the effects of macro-level happiness on entrepreneurship are explored on study 1 and study 2.