Job Satisfaction of the Entrepreneurial Workforce

Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises


Johan Wiklund


Entreprenerial Workforce, Entrepreneurship, Firm Growth, Job Satisfaction, New Venture Employees

Subject Categories



Entrepreneurial firms are important engines for new job creation and play a critical role in defining the future of work. They are also noted for their inherit uncertainty, intimacy, idiosyncratic job design, and role ambiguity. There is reason to believe that the experiences of employees working for these firms, the entrepreneurial workforce, are different from those working within large, established organizations. As these firms navigate the process of growing into a mature firm, the employees working within them experience both opportunities that will improve their well-being and challenges that impair it. This dissertation is divided into three papers that set out to investigate the well-being of entrepreneurial workforce as measured by their job satisfaction. The first paper provides an overview of current directions in the study of well-being and entrepreneurship and identifies stakeholder well-being as an important area for future empirical research. The second paper builds on Penrose’s theory of growth and leverages a multilevel dataset to test the relationship between new venture growth and employee job satisfaction. The third paper combines human and machine coding to identify work design characteristics most salient in new ventures and tests how these characteristics influence job satisfaction. In doing so, this dissertation provides theoretical insights into the complex mechanisms found in new ventures that influence job attitudes, challenging the assumptions that high performing firms are always great places to work, and building new knowledge as to what employees’ value most from their jobs.


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