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Integrating cognitive, motivational, and emotional self-regulation in early stage entrepreneurs

O'Shea, Deirdre (2011) Integrating cognitive, motivational, and emotional self-regulation in early stage entrepreneurs. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

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Self-regulation refers to the regulation of the self by the self, and requires a change to bring thinking and behaviour into accord with some consciously desired goal (Forgas, Baumeister & Tice, 2009). The primary objective of this research was to advance theorising and research in this field. The model of self-regulatory processes developed in the present research builds on past research and theory across the spectrum of psychological research on self-regulation, and integrates cognitive, motivational and emotional aspects, as they manifest in distal and proximal ways, and across the phases of the action process. The model draws on: Heckhausen’s (1991) Rubicon Model; Frese’s (Frese & Zapf, 1994; Frese, 2007) Action Theory; Locke and Latham’s (1990, 2000) Goal-Setting Theory; Kanfer’s (1992) proximal-distal distinction in classifying motivation theories; Kehr’s (2004) Model of Work Motivation and Volition; DeShon and Gillespie’s (2005) Motivated Action Theory; Carver and Scheier’s (2000, 2009) Control Theory; Bagozzi, Baumgartner and Pieters (1998) Model of Goal-Directed Emotions; Gross and John’s (2003) Model of Emotion Regulation; and Lazarus and Folkman’s (1984) Model of Coping. The model provides a more complete picture of the aspects of the self and the task that individuals regulate in achievement contexts. More specifically, the model was tested in an entrepreneurial context, typically characterised by high autonomy, and where the entrepreneur has responsibility for managing both themselves and their venture to achieve success. The choice to examine self-regulatory mechanisms in entrepreneurs was based on the idea that “people with good self-control do better than others” (Forgas, Baumeister & Tice, 2009; p. 5). Hence, the second objective of the research was to examine the way in which early-stage entrepreneurs engage self-regulatory processes to aid success. The study adopted a mixed-methods design, utilising an interview and questionnaire, integrated during data analysis. Seventy five entrepreneurs took part. Motivational variables included entrepreneurial orientations, personal initiative, domain specific efficacy, and work engagement. Cognitive variables included goal orientations, goal-setting, planning and taking goal-directed action. Emotional variables included emotion regulation, anticipatory emotions and coping strategies. Three measures of goal attainment were used: an objective measure, an external evaluation, and the individual’s self-perceptions of success, all assessed using multi-item scales. The results confirmed the proximal-distal nature of the self-regulatory processes. For each path (cognitive, motivational and emotional), the results demonstrated clearly that the more distal variables predicted the more proximal variables, but cross-prediction between the paths (e.g. cognitive predicting motivational or emotional, motivational predicting cognitive or emotional etc.) were somewhat more mixed. The cognitive variables had the largest impact on entrepreneurial success, demonstrating an effect on all three success variables. The motivational and emotional variables had an impact only on self-perceptions of success. The results provide insights into the self-regulatory mechanisms relevant for entrepreneurial success. The model provides a more complete integration of self-regulatory concepts than has been observed previously. Examining self-regulation within the entrepreneurial context allows for the disparate psychological perspectives on entrepreneurship to be discussed using a common framework (e.g. entrepreneurial personality; Rauch & Frese, 2007a,b; motivational and cognitive approaches; Locke & Baum, 2007; Busenitz & Arthurs, 2007; process perspective, Baron, 2007, 2008; competence approach, Markman, 2007). Practically, this research points to the meta-skills pertinent to entrepreneurial success that can be trained. Furthermore, future applications of such research are pertinent for employees as they operate in increasingly dynamic and autonomous working environments.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:November 2011
Supervisor(s):Buckley, Finian
Uncontrolled Keywords:Organisational Psychology; Self-Regulation; Emotion Regulation; Psychology of Entrepreneurship
Subjects:Business > Employee motivation
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > DCU Business School
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
Funders:DCU Business School Scholarship
ID Code:16455
Deposited On:28 Nov 2011 11:16 by Finian Buckley. Last Modified 28 Nov 2011 11:16

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