High Technology Entrepreneurs Versus Small Business Owners in Israel

Dafna Schwartz, Ayala Malach-Pines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years there has been growing interest in the psychology of managers and entrepreneurs. Yet, few studies have compared the two, and the literature often treats them interchangeably. This exploratory study focused on two types of entrepreneurs: high technology entrepreneurs (HTEs) and small business owners (SBOs) who were assumed to be more similar to managers. An attempt to identify psychological similarities and differences between them was made. Twenty-five HTEs and fifty SBOs were interviewed with respect to their family and professional backgrounds, self-perception and work attitudes. Results revealed a number of similarities (high involvement, optimism, energy, independence and initiative) as well as differences (HTEs’ higher level of education, higher military rank and greater leadership experience as compared to the SBOs’ greater realism, greater love of management and greater likelihood of having a father who was also an entrepreneur). These differences were interpreted within a psychoanalytic framework that focuses attention on SBOs’ positive identification with both parents as compared to the HTEs’ negative identification with father and greater identification with work. Practical
implications of these differences for the management of HTEs’ and SBOs’ organisations or businesses and for public policy were drawn.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Entrepreneurship
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


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