An Exploration of Entrepreneurial Anxiety in the Context of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

Allen, Dee (2018) An Exploration of Entrepreneurial Anxiety in the Context of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs). PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

Text (Final thesis)
D Allen PhD Thesis 2018.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License All Rights Reserved.

Download (4MB) | Preview


For the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) entrepreneur, it is an everyday experience to be worried about the enterprise. Worry is an aspect of anxiety and worrying about individual, team and organizational issues are inevitable aspects of an entrepreneurial SME’s existence. SMEs are organizations with 0–250 employees and considered to be important to the UK economy. However, there is still limited research on the impact of the emotion of anxiety on SME entrepreneurs and their businesses. This research was designed to help broaden understanding of emotions and entrepreneurships by focusing on anxiety in the entrepreneurial SME context and how anxiety could affect SMEs. Following on from the literature review of the concept of emotions, anxiety, social defence and paradox theory, an interpretivist, and therefore, qualitative strategy was adopted. The data was sought via focus groups, interviews and questionnaires of SME business owners/entrepreneurs and staff. Data analysis was conducted using qualitative content analysis. The findings yield rich data from participants about their feelings, experiences and perceptions of anxiety from personal (micro), social/group/team (meso) and organizational (macro) levels. The findings show how, for the SME business owner/entrepreneur and for entrepreneurial SME staff, the emotion of anxiety has negative and positive impacts, creating paradoxical tensions, and the social defences at the personal (micro), social/group/team (meso) and organizational (macro) levels. This is shown in the conceptual framework which visually illustrates the interconnectedness of the paradoxical contradictions and tensions mobilized by and mobilizing entrepreneurial anxiety at the three levels. Thus, this thesis provides a new contribution in emotions and entrepreneurship research. This contribution to knowledge is crucial because it moves the literature beyond the focus on passion as a key entrepreneurial emotion as illustrated in the current literature (Cardon et al., 2012). Entrepreneurial anxiety is introduced as an equally important entrepreneurial emotion essential in entrepreneurship. This knowledge is critical as it provides insights on how entrepreneurial anxiety can impact the survival, change, growth, decision-making and learning of an SME organization.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anxiety; Entrepreneurship; Small and medium enterprises (SME)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD2340.8 Small and Medium-sized businesses, artisans, handcrafts, trades
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2019 10:41
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2023 12:53

University Staff: Request a correction | Repository Editors: Update this record

University Of Gloucestershire

Bookmark and Share

Find Us On Social Media:

Social Media Icons Facebook Twitter Google+ YouTube Pinterest Linkedin

Other University Web Sites

University of Gloucestershire, The Park, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH. Telephone +44 (0)844 8010001.