Fear and the poverty entrepreneur: The paradox of failure and success

Michael H. Morris, Donald F. Kuratko, Susana C. Santos, Sohab Soleimanof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

When low-income and disadvantaged individuals start businesses—herein, poverty entrepreneurs—the experience of fear can be especially impactful on their behavior. In this article, we explore the role of fear as an obstacle and facilitator in both the launching and development of ventures by poverty entrepreneurs. Two primary fears are examined. The first, fear of failure, has been examined extensively by scholars yet has received scant attention concerning poverty entrepreneurs. Our second focus is the fear of success, which has received even less emphasis and is not well-understood in the context of business. It is a seemingly paradoxical notion that individuals can perceive negative consequences from what is otherwise a successful outcome. Using experiences from the Urban Poverty and Business Initiative—an 11-month annual intervention program that operates in 32 cities across the globe and serves over 2,000 disadvantaged entrepreneurs—we developed a series of focus groups with poverty entrepreneurs to learn more about their encounters with fear. A reconceptualization of these fears in a poverty context is provided. The potential upsides and downsides of fear when it comes to entrepreneurial behavior are examined, and implications are drawn from the coexistence of fears of failure and success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)41-54
Number of pages14
JournalBusiness Horizons
Volume67
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Marketing

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