Movements between entrepreneurship and paid employment – including both transitions
to entrepreneurship and re-entry into paid employment – are remarkably common, yet
have only recently begun to attract scholarly attention. Ferber and Waldfogel (1998)
estimate that fully a quarter of young men and a fifth of young women in the United
States have experienced a spell of entrepreneurial activity by their mid-thirties. Far more
have contemplated launching a new venture (Reynolds and Curtin 2008). Most of these
entrepreneurs launch their new ventures after having worked for established firms
(Sørensen and Fassiotto 2011). And while between 15 and 30% of entrepreneurs are
serial founders who follow one venture with another (Hyytinen and Ilmakunnas 2007),
the majority of entrepreneurs, by definition, have a different kind of career transition. It
seems likely that if and when entrepreneurial ventures fail, many entrepreneurs will
transition back into paid employment. These patterns of movement suggest that
entrepreneurial activity is usefully studied using a perspective that explicitly
conceptualizes the relationship between entrepreneurial dynamics and career processes
While there has been important work done on entrepreneurial careers emphasizing how
individual differences in preferences (e.g. Douglas and Shepherd 2002) or personalities
(see Zhao et al 2010) affect the propensity towards entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial
success, to date most of this work has treated entrepreneurship as a final career
destination and ignored the potential for movement back into wage employment or to
unemployment. Most of the existing research also emphasizes stable individual traits
such as gender, family background, and personality, as opposed to characteristics that
change over time such as family and organizational context. Thus, there is a compelling
need to better understand entrepreneurship in the context of a career trajectory and to take
into account life course and temporal differences across individuals.
We seek to complement earlier approaches to entrepreneurial careers that were grounded
in psychological approaches to career theory (e.g. 1994 Special Issue of ETP edited by
Jerome Katz and Edgar Schein) that emphasize stable individual traits with structural
approaches that emphasize organizational context and change.
For this special issue we seek theoretical and empirical work that advances our
understanding of the multiple ways in which career experiences shape entrepreneurial
activity, and the ways in which entrepreneurial activity shapes career experiences.
Examples of relevant topics include but are not limited to:
- The role of work experiences on the rate and nature of entrepreneurial entry
- The impact of employer characteristics and policies on new venture formation and
- The dynamics of spin-offs and spin-outs
- The career trajectories and outcomes of founder
- The impact of entrepreneurial failure on subsequent outcomes in paid employment
Manuscript Central ( http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/etp ) between September 1 and
October 1, 2014. When submitting, be sure to indicate the submission is for the special
issue on Careers, Organizations and Entrepreneurship in the appropriate box.
Questions regarding the special issue may be addressed to any of the guest editors:
Diane Burton (email@example.com)
Stanislav Dobrev (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Jesper Sørensen (Sorensen@stanford.edu)
Douglas, Evan J. & Shepherd, Dean A. (2002). Self-Employment as a Career Choice:
Attitudes, Entrepreneurial Intentions, and Utility Maximization. Entrepreneurship:
Theory & Practice 26 (3), 81-90.
Ferber, Marianne & Waldfogel, Jane. (1998). The Long-Term Consequences of Non-
Standard Work. Monthly Labor Review 121 (5), 3-12.
Hyytinen, Ari & Ilmakunnas, Pekka (2007). What distinguishes a serial entrepreneur?
Industrial and Corporate Change 16 (5), 793-821.
Reynolds, Paul D., and Curtin, Richard T. (2008). Business Creation in the United States:
Panel Study of Entrepreneurial Dynamics II Initial Assessment. Foundations and Trends
in Entrepreneurship 4, 155-307.
Sørensen, Jesper B. & Fassiotto, Magali A. (2011). Organizations as Fonts of
Entrepreneurship. Organization Science 22 (5), 1322-1331.
Zhao, Hao, Seibert, Scott E., & Lumpkin, G. T. (2010). The Relationship of Personality
to Entrepreneurial Intentions and Performance: A Meta-Analytic Review. Journal of
Management 36 (2), 381-404.