This research investigates how two personality traits common to entrepreneurs permeate their businesses and help successfully position their businesses in consumers’ minds as sustainable. The proposed model suggests that entrepreneurs’ personality traits of resilience and power distance can influence consumers’ perceptions about the business venture’s sustainability practices. Moreover, the study presents evidence these two traits indirectly impact business performance metrics, operationalized as consumers’ patronage intentions and the business’s reputation (i.e., brand equity and ethical leadership). To test the proposed framework, two levels of analysis were used. Level 2 includes data from a sample of 63 entrepreneurs and their self-assessments of their personalities. Level 1 contains data from 383 customers who evaluated the corresponding business ventures. Due to the hierarchical nature and nested structure of the data, hierarchical linear modeling was used to test the hypotheses. Results from this analysis indicate that an entrepreneur’s demonstration of the personality traits of resilience and high-power distance positively influences consumers’ evaluations of the business’ sustainability practices. Findings from this study also indicate that entrepreneurs who show the traits of resilience and high-power distance create positive spillover effects into customers’ perceptions about the ethical nature of the firm’s leadership, their stronger perception of the brand, and their stronger intentions to keep doing business with the firm. Furthermore, all three of these factors were found to be positively related to consumers’ perceptions of the venture’s sustainability practices.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Ab Wahida, H., Rhouseb, S. M., Wan, W. S., & Mustaffac, R. A. R. (2016). Social entrepreneurship and resilience among Public University students in Malaysia. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 6(12), 171–184.
Almeida, A. I. S., & Teixeira, A. A. (2017). On the work values of entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs: A European longitudinal study. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 22(02), 1750010.
Alvarado-Herrera, A., Bigne, E., Aldas-Manzano, J., & Curras-Perez, R. (2017). A scale for measuring consumer perceptions of corporate social responsibility following the sustainable development paradigm. Journal of Business Ethics, 140(2), 243–262.
Aragon-Mendoza, J., Raposo, M., & Roig-Dobon, S. (2016). Gender matters in venture creation decision. Journal of Business Research, 69(6), 2081–2086.
Ates, A., & Bititci, U. (2011). Change process: A key enabler for building resilient SMEs. International Journal of Production Research, 49(18), 5601–5618.
Ayala, J. C., & Manzano, G. (2014). The resilience of the entrepreneur. Influence on the success of the business. A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Economic Psychology, 42, 126–135.
Bande, B., Fernández-Ferrín, P., Varela, J. A., & Jaramillo, F. (2015). Emotions and salesperson propensity to leave: The effects of emotional intelligence and resilience. Industrial Marketing Management, 44, 142–153.
Bansal, P., & DesJardine, M. (2014). Business sustainability: It is about time. Strategic Organization, 12(1), 70–78. https://doi.org/10.1177/1476127013520265.
Benard, B. (2004). Resiliency: What we have learned. WestEd.
Bhattacharya, C. B., & Sen, S. (2003). Consumer-company identification: A framework for understanding consumers’ relationships with companies. Journal of Marketing, 67(2), 76–88.
Bijmolt, T. H., & Pieters, R. G. (2001). Meta-analysis in marketing when studies contain multiple measurements. Marketing Letters, 12(2), 157–169.
Brandstätter, H. (1997). Becoming an entrepreneur—A question of personality structure? Journal of Economic Psychology, 18(2–3), 157–177.
Brandstätter, H. (2011). Personality aspects of entrepreneurship: A look at five meta-analyses. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 222–230.
Buss, D. M., & Penke, L. (2015). Evolutionary personality psychology.
Chadwick, I. C., & Raver, J. L. (2018). Psychological resilience and its downstream effects for business survival in nascent entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 1042258718801597.
Chassé, S., & Courrent, J. M. (2018). Linking owner–managers’ personal sustainability behaviors and corporate practices in SMEs: The moderating roles of perceived advantages and environmental hostility. Business Ethics: A European Review, 27(2), 127–143.
Chaudhuri, A., & Holbrook, M. B. (2001). The chain of effects from brand trust and brand affect to brand performance: The role of brand loyalty. Journal of Marketing, 65(2), 81–93.
Chell, E., Haworth, J. M., & Brearley, S. (1991). The entrepreneurial personality: Concepts, cases, and categories. Routledge.
Ciavarella, M. A., Buchholtz, A. K., Riordan, C. M., Gatewood, R. D., & Stokes, G. S. (2004). The big five and venture survival: Is there a linkage? Journal of Business Venturing, 19(4), 465–483.
Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1999). If we are so rich, why aren’t we happy? American Psychologist, 54(10), 821.
Delgado-Ballester, E., Munuera-Aleman, J. L., & Yague-Guillen, M. J. (2003). Development and validation of a brand trust scale. International Journal of Market Research, 45(1), 35–56.
DiVito, L., & Bohnsack, R. (2017). Entrepreneurial orientation and its effect on sustainability decision tradeoffs: The case of sustainable fashion firms. Journal of Business Venturing, 32(5), 569–587.
Edgeman, R., & Williams, J. A. (2014). Enterprise self-assessment analytics for sustainability, resilience and robustness. The TQM Journal, 26(4), 368–381.
Fergus, S., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2005). Adolescent resilience: A framework for understanding healthy development in the face of risk. Annu. Rev Public Health, 26, 399–419.
Fiksel, J. (2006). Sustainability and resilience: Toward a systems approach. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, 2(2), 14–21.
Fisher, R. (2011). Passion, resilience, obsession & sustained entrepreneurial action: The path to entrepreneurial success. Faculty of Business and Enterprise. Melbourne: Swinburne University of Technology.
Fisher, R., Maritz, A., & Lobo, A. (2016). Does individual resilience influence entrepreneurial success? Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal, 22(2), 39–53.
Förster, C., & Duchek, S. (2017). What makes leaders resilient? An exploratory interview study. German Journal of Human Resource Management, 31(4), 281–306.
Frank, H., Lueger, M., & Korunka, C. (2007). The significance of personality in business start-up intentions, start-up realization and business success. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 19(3), 227–251.
Grisaffe, D. B., & Jaramillo, F. (2007). Toward higher levels of ethics: Preliminary evidence of positive outcomes. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 27(4), 355–371.
Gunasekaran, A., Rai, B. K., & Griffin, M. (2011). Resilience and competitiveness of small and medium size enterprises: An empirical research. International Journal of Production Research, 49(18), 5489–5509.
Ho, F. N., Wang, H. M. D., & Vitell, S. J. (2012). A global analysis of corporate social performance: The effects of cultural and geographic environments. Journal of Business Ethics, 107(4), 423–433.
Hofmann, D. A. (1997). An overview of the logic and rationale of hierarchical linear models. Journal of Management, 23(6), 723–744.
Hofstede, G. (1984). Culture’s consequences: International differences in work-related values (Vol. 5). Sage.
Hofstede, G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Sage.
Holbeche, L. (2015). The agile organization: How to build an innovative, sustainable and resilient business. Kogan Page Publishers.
Ioannou, I., & Serafeim, G. (2012). What drives corporate social performance? The role of nation-level institutions. Journal of International Business Studies, 43(9), 834–864.
John, O. P., Naumann, L. P., & Soto, C. J. (2008). Paradigm shift to the integrative big five-trait taxonomy. Handbook of personality: Theory and research, 3(2), 114–158.
Kennedy, A.-M., Kapitan, S., & Soo, S. (2016). Eco-warriors: Shifting sustainable retail strategy via authentic retail brand image. Australasian Marketing Journal (AMJ), 24, 125–134.
Ki, E.-J., & Shin, S. (2015). Organization sustainability communication (OSC): Similarities and differences of OSC messages in the United States and South Korea. Computers in Human Behavior, 48, 36–43.
Kim, H., Hur, W. M., & Yeo, J. (2015). Corporate brand trust as a mediator in the relationship between consumer perception of CSR, corporate hypocrisy, and corporate reputation. Sustainability, 7(4), 3683–3694.
Korunka, C., Frank, H., Lueger, M., & Mugler, J. (2003). The entrepreneurial personality in the context of resources, environment, and the startup process—A configurational approach. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28(1), 23–42.
Krueger, D. (1998). Personality characteristics of the small business entrepreneur. Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, 10(1), 26.
Krush, M. T., Krishnakumar, S., Agnihotri, R., & Trainor, K. J. (2012). The salesperson’s ability to bounce back: Examining the influence of salesperson’s resilience on job attitudes, behaviors, and performance. In National Conference in Sales Management Proceedings (pp. 11–13).
Leonelli, S., Ceci, F., & Masciarelli, F. (2016). The importance of entrepreneurs’ traits in explaining start-ups’ innovativeness. Sinergie, 101(Sep-Dec).
Leutner, F., Ahmetoglu, G., Akhtar, R., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2014). The relationship between the entrepreneurial personality and the big five personality traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 63, 58–63.
Lewellyn, K. B., & Muller-Kahle, M. I. (2016). A configurational approach to understanding gender differences in entrepreneurial activity: A fuzzy set analysis of 40 countries. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 12(3), 765–790.
Linnenluecke, M. K. (2017). Resilience in business and management research: A review of influential publications and a research agenda. International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(1), 4–30.
Littunen, H. (2000). Entrepreneurship and the characteristics of the entrepreneurial personality. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 6(6), 295–310.
Luthans, F., Avolio, B. J., Avey, J. B., & Norman, S. M. (2007a). Positive psychological capital: Measurement and relationship with performance and satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 60(3), 541–572.
Luthans, F., Youssef, C. M., & Avolio, B. J. (2007b). Psychological capital: Developing the human competitive edge (Vol. 198). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ma, C., Gu, J., & Liu, H. (2017). Entrepreneurs’ passion and new venture performance in China. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 13(4), 1043–1068.
MacBride, E. (2018, January). Entrepreneurial Lessons on Resilience from the World’s Great Minds. Forbes.
Malach-Pines, A., Levy, H., Utasi, A., & Hill, T. L. (2005). Entrepreneurs as cultural heroes: A cross-cultural, interdisciplinary perspective. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 20(6), 541–555.
Marchese, D., Reynolds, E., Bates, M. E., Morgan, H., Clark, S. S., & Linkov, I. (2018). Resilience and sustainability: Similarities and differences in environmental management applications. Science of the Total Environment, 613, 1275–1283.
Markus, H. R., & Kitayama, S. (1998). The cultural psychology of personality. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 29(1), 63–87.
Masten, A. S. (2014). Global perspectives on resilience in children and youth. Child Development, 85(1), 6–20.
Mattingly, E. S., Kushev, T. N., Ahuja, M. K., & Ma, D. (2016). Switch or persevere? The effects of experience and metacognition on persistence decisions. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 12(4), 1233–1263.
McGrath, R. G., MacMillan, I. C., & Scheinberg, S. (1992). Elitists, risk-takers, and rugged individualists? An exploratory analysis of cultural differences between entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Venturing, 7(2), 115–135.
Mihelic, K. K., Lipicnik, B., & Tekavcic, M. (2010). Ethical leadership. International Journal of Management & Information Systems (Online), 14(5).
Miska, C., Szőcs, I., & Schiffinger, M. (2018). Culture’s effects on corporate sustainability practices: A multi-domain and multi-level view. Journal of World Business, 53(2), 263–279.
Muñoz-Bullón, F., Sánchez-Bueno, M. J., & Vos-Saz, A. (2015). Nascent entrepreneurs’ personality attributes and the international dimension of new ventures. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 11(3), 473–492.
Naiyananont, P., & Smuthranond, T. (2017). Relationships between ethical climate, political behavior, ethical leadership, and job satisfaction of operational officers in a wholesale company, Bangkok metropolitan region. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 38(3), 345–351.
Ortiz-de-Mandojana, N., & Bansal, P. (2016). The long-term benefits of organizational resilience through sustainable business practices. Strategic Management Journal, 37(8), 1615–1631.
Parida, V., & Wincent, J. (2019). Why and how to compete through sustainability: A review and outline of trends influencing firm and network-level transformation. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 15(1), 1–19.
Park, H., & Kim, Y.-K. (2016). Proactive versus reactive apparel brands in sustainability: Influences on brand loyalty. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 29, 114–122.
Parker, H., & Ameen, K. (2018). The role of resilience capabilities in shaping how firms respond to disruptions. Journal of Business Research, 88, 535–541.
Petrovskaya, I., & Mirakyan, A. (2018). A mission of service: Social entrepreneur as a servant leader. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 24(3), 755–767.
Prabhu, V. P., McGuire, S. J., Drost, E. A., & Kwong, K. K. (2012). Proactive personality and entrepreneurial intent: Is entrepreneurial self-efficacy a mediator or moderator? International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 18(5), 559–586.
Ramos-González, M., Rubio-Andrés, M., & Sastre-Castillo, M. (2017). Building corporate reputation through sustainable entrepreneurship: The mediating effect of ethical behavior. Sustainability, 9(9), 1663.
Rauch, A., & Frese, M. (2007). Let’s put the person back into entrepreneurship research: A meta-analysis on the relationship between business owners’ personality traits, business creation, and success. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 16(4), 353–385.
Raudenbush, S. W. (2004). HLM 6: Hierarchical linear and nonlinear modeling. Scientific Software International.
Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (Vol. 1). Sage.
Schramm-Klein, H., Zentes, J., Steinmann, S., Swoboda, B., & Morschett, D. (2016). Retailer corporate social responsibility is relevant to consumer behavior. Business & Society, 55(4), 550–575.
Scridon, M. A., Achim, S. A., Pintea, M. O., & Gavriletea, M. D. (2019). Risk and perceived value: Antecedents of customer satisfaction and loyalty in a sustainable business model. Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, 32(1), 909–924.
Shane, S., Locke, E. A., & Collins, C. J. (2003). Entrepreneurial motivation. Human Resource Management Review, 13(2), 257–279.
Sharma, P. (2010). Measuring personal cultural orientations: Scale development and validation. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 38(6), 787–806.
Stewart Jr., W. H., & Roth, P. L. (2001). Risk propensity differences between entrepreneurs and managers: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Applied Psychology, 86(1), 145.
Sundermeier, J., & Kummer, T. (2019). Startup founders’ personality attributes in Crowdfunding campaigns: The relevance of hubris and Charisma in raising seed funding online. In Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences.
Svensson, G., Wood, G., & Callaghan, M. (2010). A corporate model of sustainable business practices: An ethical perspective. Journal of World Business, 45, 336–345.
Thanetsunthorn, N., & Wuthisatian, R. (2018). Cultural configuration models: Corporate social responsibility and national culture. Management Research Review, 41(10), 1137–1175.
Throop, W., & Mayberry, M. (2017). Leadership for the sustainability transition. Business and Society Review, 122(2), 221–250.
Tura, N., Keränen, J., & Patala, S. (2018). The darker side of sustainability: Tensions from sustainable business practices in business networks. Industrial Marketing Management.
Ungar, M. (Ed.). (2005). Handbook for working with children and youth: Pathways to resilience across cultures and contexts. Sage.
Walter, S. G., & Heinrichs, S. (2015). Who becomes an entrepreneur? A 30-years-review of individual-level research. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 22(2), 225–248.
Xi, J. M., Kraus, S., Filser, M., & Kellermanns, F. W. (2015). Mapping the field of family business research: Past trends and future directions. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 11(1), 113–132.
Yoo, B., & Donthu, N. (2001). Developing and validating a multidimensional consumer-based brand equity scale. Journal of Business Research, 52(1), 1–14.
Yoo, B., Donthu, N., & Lenartowicz, T. (2011). Measuring Hofstede’s five dimensions of cultural values at the individual level: Development and validation of CVSCALE. Journal of International Consumer Marketing, 23(3–4), 193–210.
Yoon, J., May, K., Kang, J. H., & Solomon, G. T. (2019). The impact of emotional self-management on benefit offerings and employment growth: An analysis of the fastest growing businesses in the United States. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 15(1), 175–194.
Zhang, Y., Winterich, K. P., & Mittal, V. (2010). Power distance belief and impulsive buying. Journal of Marketing Research, 47(5), 945–954.
Zhao, H., Seibert, S. E., & Lumpkin, G. T. (2010). The relationship of personality to entrepreneurial intentions and performance: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Management, 36(2), 381–404.
The authors would like to acknowledge and express our thanks for the funding received from the Escuela de Empresas’ Grants at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) to work on this study.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Vizcaíno, F.V., Cardenas, J.J. & Cardenas, M. A look at the social entrepreneur: the effects of resilience and power distance personality traits on consumers’ perceptions of corporate social sustainability. Int Entrep Manag J 17, 83–103 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-019-00626-0
- Personality traits
- Power distance
- Hierarchical linear modeling