Affiliations: School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia | Department of Management, University of Cologne, Germany | Department of Management and Organisation, NUS Business School, National University of Singapore, Singapore | Institute of Strategic Personnel Management and Institute of Corporate Development, Leuphana University, Lüneburg, Germany
Note:  Address for correspondence: Hannes Zacher, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia. Tel.: +61 7 3365 6423; Fax: +61 3365 4466; E-mail: [email protected]
Abstract: Longitudinal studies of entrepreneurial career development are rare, and current knowledge of self-employment patterns and their relationships with individual difference characteristics is limited. In this study, the authors analyzed employment data from a subsample of 514 participants from the German Socio-Economic Panel study (1984–2008). Results of an optimal matching analysis indicated that a continuous self-employment pattern could be distinguished from four alternative employment patterns (change from employment to self-employment, full-time employees, part-time employees, and farmers). Results of a multinomial logistic regression analysis showed that certain socio-demographic characteristics (i.e., age and gender) and personality characteristics (i.e., conscientiousness and risk-taking propensity) were related to the likelihood of following a continuous self-employment pattern compared to the other employment patterns. Implications for future research on entrepreneurial career development are discussed.