Founders "Just Want to Have Fun": Substance Abuse and Entrepreneurship Addiction

Nicola Anne Thomas, Carina Lomberg, Lars Alkærsig

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


We examine substance addiction as a core antecedent in the development of entrepreneurship addiction, which is the compulsive need to engage in entrepreneurship. We draw on psychological addiction literature to expand beyond solely looking at entrepreneurship addiction through the lens of behavioural addictions, such as gaming or internet use, to focus on the neurobiological underpinnings shared by all addictions, behavioural and substance alike. Through the use of a mixed- method approach, we team both epidemiological data from more than 48,833 founders from 2005-2014, with qualitative case study data from four founders with a history of addiction. We demonstrate how the shared neurobiological underpinnings of addiction make founders with a history of all addictions more likely to become serial entrepreneurs, and consequently entrepreneurship addicts, and how the cycle of entrepreneurship addiction plays out for founders with concomitant addictions. Our theorizing offers insights into a potentially at risk group of founders, and aims to identify the potential neurobiological mechanisms at play in making this group predisposed to this dark-side of entrepreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2020
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventRENT 2020 - Online
Duration: 19 Nov 202020 Nov 2020


ConferenceRENT 2020


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