Date of Award

Summer 8-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Business Administration

First Advisor

Son Le


A significant amount of Entrepreneurship literature has focused on both venture failure and the decision by entrepreneurs to leave or quit their businesses. A large portion of the literature has approached the topics of venture failure and the decision to leave or close companies from a financial perspective. While finances do play a vital role in entrepreneurs’ intentions to quit ventures, it is not the only variable impacting entrepreneurs’ decisions in regards to the continuation of their business ventures.

In this dissertation, antecedents of entrepreneurial identity centrality are investigated. Antecedents to the founder’s entrepreneurial identity centrality include entrepreneurial self-efficacy, lack of support, undesirable rewards, commitment level to the entrepreneurial identity, and meaning discrepancy. The relationship between entrepreneurial identity centrality and entrepreneurial passion is also explored. Further, this dissertation examines the relationship between entrepreneurial passion and the decision of entrepreneurs to depart their ventures.

The investigation of the relationships between various antecedents and how these antecedents impact entrepreneur identity centrality relies upon identity theory literature. The relationship between entrepreneurial identity centrality and entrepreneurial passion is examined using literature related to both identity theory and passion. Finally, the study examines the relationship between entrepreneurial passion and departure intentions utilizing the literature related to identity theory and passion. This dissertation integrates concepts found in research related to identity theory, social-cognitive theory, and passion. The model was developed utilizing antecedents to identity centrality, passion, and intentions to depart ventures.

A number of research questions are explored in this study. First, how do the antecedents presented in this study impact venture founders’ identity prominence, or identity centrality? Second, how does identity centrality impact entrepreneurial passion? The third research question examined in this dissertation is as follows: does the loss of passion influence founders’ intentions to exit a new business venture? These questions are answered through both a literature review and the use of a questionnaire that was distributed to entrepreneurs. Hypotheses aimed at answering the various research questions explored in this dissertation are presented and tested using the data gathered from the questionnaire. The purpose of this dissertation is to gain a better understanding of what leads entrepreneurs to abandon ventures.

Major findings of this dissertation include the fact that entrepreneurial identity centrality is positively related to entrepreneurial passion. In other words, as identity centrality, or prominence, increases, entrepreneurial passion should also increase. Further, entrepreneurial passion was found to have a significant, negative relationship with entrepreneurs’ intentions to quit a venture. So, the more passionate founders are about being entrepreneurs, the less likely they are to want to depart a venture. In addition to these two findings, a number of entrepreneurial identity centrality antecedents were examined. Realized intrinsic rewards, job involvement, and entrepreneurial identity meaning were all found to have significant positive relationships with entrepreneurial identity centrality. Realized extrinsic rewards were negatively related to entrepreneurial identity centrality; this relationship was significant. The results concerning both the relationship between entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurial identity centrality, and the relationship between perceived network support and entrepreneurial identity centrality were not significant.

This dissertation contributes both theoretically and empirically to the research and literature related to understanding entrepreneurs’ decisions to depart entrepreneurial business ventures. The research extends the literature related to identity theory and passion by investigating the roles that entrepreneurial identity and entrepreneurial passion play in peoples’ decisions to depart ventures. First, the study scrutinizes the role that a number of antecedents play in entrepreneurial identity prominence, expanding upon existing identity literature. Second, the relationship between entrepreneurial identity prominence and passion is examined. Finally, the relationship between passion and entrepreneurs’ intentions to quit their ventures is analyzed.

A theoretical relationship between passion loss and intentions to quit is developed in this dissertation. Arguments related to founder identity centrality, entrepreneurial passion, and entrepreneur’s intentions to quit their ventures are presented. In this study, it is argued that it is not solely financial struggles that lead to entrepreneurs quitting their ventures. Entrepreneurs’ identities and their passion for their business ventures also play vital roles.