Doing good, feeling good? Entrepreneurs' social value creation beliefs and work-related well-being

Brieger, Steven A., De Clercq, Dirk and Meynhardt, Timo (2021) Doing good, feeling good? Entrepreneurs' social value creation beliefs and work-related well-being. Journal of Business Ethics, 172, pp. 707-725. ISSN (print) 0167-4544


Entrepreneurs with social goals face various challenges; insights into how these entrepreneurs experience and appreciate their work remain a black box though. Drawing on identity, conservation of resources, and person–organization fit theories, this study examines how entrepreneurs’ social value creation beliefs relate to their work-related well-being (job satisfaction, work engagement, and lack of work burnout), as well as how this process might be influenced by social concerns with respect to the common good. Using data from the German Public Value Atlas 2015 and 2019 and the Swiss Public Value Atlas 2017, a three-study design analyzes three samples of entrepreneurs in Germany and Switzerland. Study 1 reveals that entrepreneurs report higher job satisfaction when they believe their organization creates social value. Study 2 indicates that these beliefs relate negatively to work burnout; entrepreneurs’ perceptions of having meaningful work mediate this relationship. Study 3 affirms and extends these results by showing that a sense of work meaningfulness mediates the relationship between social value creation beliefs and work engagement and that this mediating role is more prominent among entrepreneurs with strong social concerns. This investigation thus identifies a critical pathway—the extent to which entrepreneurs experience their work activities as important and personally meaningful—that connects social value creation beliefs with enhanced work-related well-being, as well as how this process might vary with a personal orientation that embraces the common good.

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