The Pursuit of Happiness - Satisfaction from Employment and Entrepreneurship
Abstract: On average, entrepreneurs have lower incomes than employed individuals, work longer hour, and endure more stress. In spite of the grim reality, research has consistently shown entrepreneurs are more satisfied with their lives than employees. Through interviews with three former employees who have all undergone a transition to entrepreneurship, this study brings an in-depth understanding of how a set of individuals perceive this transformative journey. The interviews have been analaysed by drawing upon insights from research on procedural utility - the notion that people value processes at work more than outcomes - and the job characteristics model framework (JCM), which has recently been adapted for entrepreneurship research. The JCM framework implies an increase in different variables (Task Variety, Task Significance, Task Identity, Feedback, and Autonomy) will lead to an ensuing increase in job satisfaction. In turn, job satisfaction correlates positively with overall life satisfaction. Our results show the interviewees perceived their employment as more interesting in relation to all variables but one: autonomy. However, all perceived themselves as more happy in their entrepreneurial lives, which suggests autonomy is a source of utility and motivation which potentially trumps all other identified variables in terms of its significance for satisfaction. Additionally, two new variables - labelled social context and responsibility - were identified as possible precursors for satisfaction, which we suggest are further explored in future research on the area.
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