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Journal Articles Journal of Business Strategy Year : 2020

How entrepreneurs think: financial decisions for the long or short term

Johan Maes
  • Function : Author
Elliroma Gardiner
  • Function : Author


Purpose The purpose of this paper is to suggest that different start-up motivations make entrepreneurs pursue different kinds of new business performance, which in this study are expressed in financial terms (i.e. return on assets). The authors posit that so-called extrinsic motivation urges entrepreneurs to be more short-term oriented, while their intrinsic motivation encourages a longer-term business vision. Additionally, this paper explores how intrinsic and extrinsic entrepreneurship motivations combine and produce financial dilemmas for entrepreneurs. Design/methodology/approach The analyses are based on 300 entrepreneurs across diverse industries in Belgium. Data was collected for this study through structured interviews with entrepreneurs combined with a company questionnaire. Financial data was obtained through a government database. Findings Results confirm that extrinsic entrepreneurship motivation boosts new business short-term financial performance, whereas intrinsic motivation contributes to the firm’s longer-term financial returns. This paper also shows that a mix of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations directs entrepreneurs toward different profitability levels during the organization’s survival and early-establishment phase. Originality/value Research on entrepreneurship has not yet corroborated that motivations can be personally conflicting, thereby saddling the entrepreneur with dilemmas that may manifest into different levels of business performance.

Dates and versions

hal-03141884 , version 1 (15-02-2021)



Jonas Debrulle, Johan Maes, Elliroma Gardiner. How entrepreneurs think: financial decisions for the long or short term. Journal of Business Strategy, 2020, ⟨10.1108/JBS-04-2020-0068⟩. ⟨hal-03141884⟩
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