Aug. 6, 2013 — Media reports about alleged anti-social and delinquent behavior of entrepreneurs are no rarity. Such reports direct the attention towards possibly ’hidden’ anti-social tendencies in entrepreneurial types. Is it true then, that entrepreneurs are a particularly self-serving species with their own moral ideas and ethical principles? Does he really exist, the type of the entrepreneurial ‘homo oeconomicus’ who first of all is interested in his own benefit and profit and who abandons ethical and social principles? And if so: what makes him so?
Together with Swedish colleagues of the University of Stockholm, psychologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (FSU) tried to answer these questions. In their search for anti-social tendencies in the biographies of business founders, the German-Swedish team of researchers came to surprising conclusions.
Data from 1000 Children over 40 Years
The psychologists used a Swedish longitudinal study for their research. In the study ‘Individual Development and Adaptation‘ they registered pupils of a sixth form of a singular age group of a medium seized Swedish town – about 1000 children – and accompanied them over a 40-year time period. ”We analyzed this data regarding the entrepreneurship the participants were showing later on in their professional careers. We wanted to know what kind of social behavior they showed,” Dr. Martin Obschonka from the Center for Applied Developmental Science at the University of Jena says. Therefore the scientists analyzed extensive data regarding rule-breaking behavior and attitudes of the participants. They followed these anti-social tendencies in adolescence as well as in the adulthood of the participants. At the same time, a large number of archive data of criminal offenses registered and sanctioned by the police were evaluated.
The psychologists’ research results give a multi-faceted picture, as the latest study by the scientists shows.
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- The dark side of entrepreneurship: Researchers prove anti-social tendencies of entrepreneurs (phys.org)