This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the Similarities and Differences Between Nonprofit Leaders and Small Business Entrepreneurs




Hara, Monita

Type of Degree



Educational Foundations
Leadership and Technology


This study presents key findings of a 2006 electronic survey which focused on a cluster of 12 personality traits that reflected the work performance levels and work satisfaction levels of 107 small business owners and nonprofit leaders. The Personal Style Inventory (PSI), which contained eighty-eight questions, was used in order to examine the similarities and differences between the two groups. Traits examined included: adaptability, autonomy, competitiveness, goal setting, work-related internal locus of control, persistence, emotional resilience, social networking, self-promotion, optimism, work-drive and tolerance of financial uncertainty. Within this research project, three research questions were asked. First, what is the relationship of the selected work performance traits of nonprofit leaders and small business owners? Second, what is the relationship of the selected work satisfaction traits of nonprofit leaders and small business owners? Third, what is the relationship of the twelve selected personality traits between nonprofit leaders and small business owners overall? The results indicated that 9 out of the 12 traits studied showed that there was no statistical significance between the two groups. The three traits that were statistically significant included: work-related locus of control, optimism and tolerance for financial uncertainty. Traditionally, trait research has focused on who is more likely to start a business, while fewer studies have focused on personality traits and how they relate to entrepreneurial outcomes (Johnson, 1990). This study broadens the scope of trait research as well entrepreneurial research.