Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Stating the obvious?

Yesterday I was sent a copy of a paper on the different personality characteristics of the self-employed, employees and the population in general. The paper is Sjoerd Beugelsdijk and Niels Noorderhaven (2005). 'Personality Characteristics of Self-Employed; An Empirical Study', Small Business Economics, 24(2) March: 159-167. The abstract reads,
This paper is concerned with the personality characteristics of self-employed. Most existing studies on personality characteristics of entrepreneurs concentrate on factors like age, educational profile, and motivations to become self-employed. There is a lack of significant empirical findings to claim that entrepreneurs are psychologically different from the general population. Based on a large sample of 14,846 individuals, we compare self-employed with the general population and with wage- and salary earners. We empirically show that entrepreneurs differ from the general population and wage- and salary earners in a number of characteristics. Entrepreneurs are more individually oriented than the rest of the population. Individual responsibility and effort are distinguishing characteristics. When asked about important qualities that children can be encouraged to learn at home, entrepreneurs answer that it is important to teach children an ethic of working hard. Except for the latter characteristic, the same holds if we compare self-employed with wage- and salary earners.
That there are differences between the self-employed and wage and salary earners seems unsurprising to me. That individual responsibility and effort are distinguishing characteristics of entrepreneurs also makes sense to me. So has the paper just stated the obvious?

1 comment:

MacDoctor said...

Stating the obvious is what research papers do best. It is dangerous to produce papers with unexpected results. You might attract the ire of your colleagues or, worse, imperil your funding.