Entrepreneurial motivation: A review of the literature and an agenda for future research

Charles Y. Murnieks, Anthony C. Klotz, Dean A. Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)


Given the substantial impact that new ventures have on the global economy, understanding what motivates entrepreneurs is of both practical and theoretical importance. Although research on the nature, causes, and consequences of entrepreneurial motivation has grown rapidly, it has evolved in distinct theoretical silos that tend to isolate motives based on the phase of business development (e.g., initiation, growth, and exit) rather than acknowledge that individuals often traverse all these phases and experience multiple types of motivation throughout their entrepreneurial journey. To advance the study of motivation in the fields of entrepreneurship and organizational behavior and provide a means through which these advancements can contribute to our understanding of how motivation drives the start-up, growth, and exiting of businesses, we organize and review the extant literature on entrepreneurial motives based on the phases of the new venture process. In doing so, this article develops a roadmap of the current state of entrepreneurial motivation research and its nomological network and provides suggestions to guide future research in extending our understanding of motivation in the entrepreneurship domain as well as in traditional organizational settings.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 25.04.2019
MoE publication typeA2 Review article in a scientific journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • entrepreneurial motivation
  • entrepreneurial passion
  • exit
  • growth
  • initiation

Areas of Strength and Areas of High Potential (AoS and AoHP)

  • AoS: Leading for growth and well-being


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