Original Research

Does personality matter for small business success?

Shelley Farrington
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 15, No 4 | a243 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v15i4.243 | © 2012 Shelley Farrington | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2011 | Published: 20 November 2012

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Shelley Farrington, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

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Personality traits influence occupational choice and are valid predictors of managerial success. The primary objective of this study was to investigate whether a relationship exists between possessing certain personality traits and small business success. The personality dimensions of the five-factor model of personality, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, Openness to experience, Agreeableness and Neuroticism were the focus of this study. Convenience sampling was employed and 383 usable questionnaires were returned. The validity and reliability of the measuring instrument was assessed. Multiple regression analysis was undertaken to establish relationships between the independent variable (the five dimensions of personality) and the dependent variable, Business success. The findings of this study show that individuals who have high levels of the personality traits Extraversion, Conscientiousness and Openness to experience are more likely to have successful small businesses. Openness to experience is of specific importance as it demonstrates the strongest influence, and is the only trait that has a positive influence on both the financial and growth performance of the business. As such, insights are provided into the personality profile most suited to successful small-business ownership.


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