Sensory processing sensitivity and entrepreneurial intention: The strength of a weak trait

Rainer Harms, Isabella Hatak, Manling Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
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Research on entrepreneurial personality traits has done a commendable job in developing theory and providing evidence for the consistent effects of the entrepreneurial trait profile (ETP) on various entrepreneurial outcomes. While research has established the fit between the extravert, conscientious and open traits and entrepreneurial intention (EI), the view that entrepreneurship may provide an alternative career path for people outside the norm has attracted increasing interest. In this study, we explore a counterweight to the dominant ‘superhero’ personality perspective by arguing that, in entrepreneurship, highly sensitive persons (HSPs) can attend to their own needs and skills, and turn their weaknesses into strengths. Sensory processing sensitivity (SPS) – a fundamental meta-personality trait – may provide the crucial piece in the personality puzzle related to opportunity recognition ability (ORA) and the intention to act entrepreneurially. We adopt a person-environment fit approach and employ fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA). We find that combinations of either SPS or ETP and ORA are sufficient conditions for EI. This study contributes to the literature on entrepreneurial traits by inviting reconsideration of the stereotypical view of extrovert and open entrepreneurs and acknowledging the strength of a ‘weak’ trait.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00132
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Business Venturing Insights
Early online date14 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • Sensory processing sensitivity
  • Entrepreneurial intention
  • Entrepreneurial trait profile
  • Opportunity recognition ability
  • Personality traits
  • 22/4 OA procedure


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