Affiliations: Department of Developmental Psychology and Center for Applied Developmental Science, Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany | Department of Quantitative Social Science, Institute of Education, University of London, London, UK
Note:  Address for correspondence: Dr. Martin Obschonka, Department of Developmental Psychology and Center for Applied Developmental Science, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Am Steiger 3/1, D-07743 Jena, Germany. E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Contributing to the literature on early precursors of entrepreneurship, this study investigated the role of early social competencies for an entrepreneurial career choice and entrepreneurial success in young adulthood. We utilized data from the British Cohort Study and the Thuringian Founder Study (Germany), thereby comparing results across countries, study designs (e.g., retrospective vs. prospective), and concepts of early social competencies and entrepreneurship. In the British analyses, which concentrated on self-employment among the creative class, we found that social competencies in childhood (i.e., social skills and peer popularity at age 10) predicted entrepreneurial status at age 34, continuity in entrepreneurial activity (age 30 and 34) as well as earnings among the self-employed (age 34). In the German data, we found that entrepreneurial forms of social competencies in adolescence (i.e., leadership and early commercialization activities at age 14 or 15) predicted the process of starting an innovative business in young adulthood (entrepreneurial intentions, progress in the venture creation process, and business success in the post-startup phase). The results are discussed with an emphasis on possible pathways connecting early social competencies and enterprising behavior in young adulthood.
Keywords: Entrepreneurship, social competencies, social skills, childhood, adolescence