Entrepreneurship promotes well-being by satisfying an individual’s basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. This is one of several conclusions drawn in Nadav Shir’s research at the Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Creation, where he studied the relationship between entrepreneurship and mental health.
Engaging actively in starting new business activities evokes a unique state of mental wellness. This is the case despite the fact that many entrepreneurs experience more stress and have a greater workload and lower wages than average. Previously, it was thought that an entrepreneur’s well-being was due to a general human preference to be independent of employment hierarchies, but Nadav Shir reveals a much more nuanced picture in his doctoral thesis Entrepreneurial Well-Being.
- My research shows that the sources of entrepreneurs’ well-being are not the result of the absence of any conditions, but rather of the presence of the opportunities entrepreneurs enjoy to self-organize their work and working relationships. To appreciate freedom is one thing, but to experience freedom and act freely is something quite different, says Nadav Shir.
In the early stages of starting a new business, when there are complex and uncertain factors to consider, entrepreneurial engagement seems to be detrimental to mental health. This may explain why many fail to transition from thought to action in entrepreneurship. For those who succeed, however, entrepreneurship is an outstanding opportunity for growth, personal development and finding meaning in one’s life.
Entrepreneurial engagement is an enticing option to many. In Sweden alone, approximately 70,000 people become entrepreneurs each year. In 2013, there were 770,000 self-employed people in Sweden, making entrepreneurship and self-employment one of the predominant forms of employment in Sweden.
- An understanding of what drives an entrepreneur’s well-being offers new insights not only for researchers, but also for people who work with employees in large organizations, as well as for families and individuals who want to get the most out of their lives, says Nadav Shir.
For more information contact:
Nadav Shir, PhD,
Department of Management and Organization,
Stockholm School of Economics
Cell phone: +46 704 283 239