Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship


Pathways of Fire: An Empirical Look at Entrepreneurial Passion


Published in Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, Vol. 31: Iss. 4, Article 2. 2011.

Document Type



This paper develops and tests a theory of entrepreneurial passion. We draw from the literature on identity theory to investigate the influence of entrepreneurial identities on entrepreneurial passion, as well as the relationship of entrepreneurial passion to behavior. Empirical analyses of responses from 247 entrepreneurs confirm that entrepreneurial passion rises and falls in connection with entrepreneurial identity centrality. Moreover, entrepreneurial passion influences entrepreneurial behavior through multiple pathways involving intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy and positive affect. This research provides new insights into the factors that impact entrepreneurial passion as well as the mechanisms through which that passion stokes the fire of entrepreneurial action.