Eric P. Swift

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2013


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Instructional Leadership Excellence (ILEAD)


School of Education

Committee Chair

James E. Henderson

Committee Member

Joseph Kush

Committee Member

Mary T. McKinney


education, emotional intelligence, entrepreneur, leadership


Entrepreneurship benefits the individual and society, but it was unclear whether emotional intelligence (EI) predicts entrepreneurial outcomes. New ventures fail at a high rate. A possible factor in the success or failure of small business could be the emotional intelligence (EI) level of the entrepreneur, defined as the ability to perceive, use, understand, and manage emotions. However, few studies to date had empirically explored EI and entrepreneurship or investigated the predictive value of EI in important measures of entrepreneurial outcomes, such as the success rate in starting new businesses, business longevity, and business profitability. The present study was designed to fill this gap in the literature.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether EI scores are predictive of new venture creation (Hypothesis 1), business longevity (Hypothesis 2), new business success rate (Hypothesis 3), or business profitability (Hypothesis 4). Hypotheses were tested using logistic regression (H1) or linear regression (H2, H3, H4). Each analysis controlled for the demographic variables of age, gender, and education level. Regression analysis (n=52); logistic analysis, and correlation analysis showed no statistically significant effect of emotional intelligence scores on business starts, longevity, or profitability when controlling for age, gender, and education. Furthermore, the existence of a business plan prior to starting a business was not correlated with business starts, longevity, or profitability.

This study was unique by being one of the first to examine the EI construct empirically with a population of entrepreneurs seeking assistance using the MSCEIT instrument. The results have implications for the selection and training of entrepreneurs, the design of micro-enterprise training programs and the success of the entrepreneur. As a result of this study, a summary of human capital factors of entrepreneurship was developed in Table 3 that can be used as a framework for future research and training purposes.