The hare and the tortoise: The impact of action- versus state-orientation on entrepreneurial progress and persistence

Carina Lomberg*, Jana Thiel, Paul Steffens

*Corresponding author for this work

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Action-orientation is portrayed as key for entrepreneurship. To understand the conditions under which action-orientation is indeed favourable for entrepreneurs, we introduce the personality-systems-interaction (PSI) theory to entrepreneurship research. PSI theory distinguishes action- versus state-orientation and explains how both dispositions influence an entrepreneur’s cognition (including goals), emotional reactions and the resulting behaviour. It provides a novel basis for understanding individual differences in persistence and progression through the venture creation process. Based on the tenets of PSI theory, we develop propositions to explain how action-oriented versus state-oriented individuals respond differently to the demands of the entrepreneurial process.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)604-625
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Affective self-regulation
  • Entrepreneurial process
  • Persistence
  • Personality-systems-interaction theory
  • Progress

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