Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration


Johan Wiklund


Affect, Day Reconstruction Method, Motivation, Perseverance, Theory building, Well-being

Subject Categories



This study unravels the underlying mechanisms that influence entrepreneurs' behavior during the startup process. Theories of entrepreneurial behavior have assumed that entrepreneurs try to achieve goals--profit, sales, job satisfaction, autonomy, to name a few. Yet, past studies are silent about how entrepreneurs keep making efforts toward business startups while not achieving goals for a prolonged period of time. If goals are hard to reach and entrepreneurs are unable to assess their achievement level toward their goals, how do they manage to keep making efforts during the business startup process? What factors influence their effort level during the startup? Based on individual entrepreneurs' daily records, this thesis suggests that entrepreneurs manipulate their affective states through their behavior thus are able to keep engaged in startup despite high uncertainty about their goals and achievement levels. I analyze individual entrepreneurs' behavior, emotions, and perceptions as the uncertain future unfolds for them. By using research methods that avoid recollection bias, I present a model as to how entrepreneurs' behavior and their affective states are interrelated, and what triggers entrepreneurs to increase or decrease their effort toward business startups. This study contributes to the further understanding of entrepreneurial behavior by suggesting alternative drivers of entrepreneurial processes: happiness and contentment.


Open Access

Included in

Business Commons