What is it about?

This paper explores whether there is a difference between the personality traits of social entrepreneurs, who set up an enterprise to address issues of public concern, compared to traditional entrepreneurs, who set up a business to make a profit. The well established General Enterprising Tendency (GET) test, which measures the ‘ideal entrepreneurial personality’, was used to measure and compare the traits of traditional and social entrepreneurs.

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Why is it important?

The research found that social entrepreneurs exhibited statistically significantly higher levels of creativity, risk taking, and need for autonomy than traditional entrepreneurs. This finding provides evidence that traditional and social entrepreneurs differ and it suggests that different entrepreneurial traits and skill sets might be required by social entrepreneurs.


This research lays the groundwork for more specific exploration focusing on the differences between social and traditional entrepreneurs. As more social entrepreneurs play a greater role in society, it will be important to be able to understand what makes them different and also what they require and how they can be best supported.

Professor Robin Bell
University of Worcester

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Personality trait differences between traditional and social entrepreneurs, Social Enterprise Journal, October 2014, Emerald,
DOI: 10.1108/sej-08-2013-0033.
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