Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Charles Scherbaum


Yochi Cohen-Charash

Committee Members

Yochi Cohen-Charash

Lise Saari

Harold Goldstein

Erin Eatough

Subject Categories

Industrial and Organizational Psychology


Advisor: Professor Charles Scherbaum

Entrepreneurship is widely recognized as a vehicle for economic growth (Ireland & Webb, 2007), and recent years have shown growing multi-disciplinary interest among entrepreneurship scholars. The primary focus of this study was to identify psychological and contextual variables that explain African American and females’ intent to quit entrepreneurship. Specifically, using Heilman’s (1983) lack-of-fit model as a theoretical lens, it tested the proposal that the intent to quit entrepreneurship could be explained by the extent of African American and females’ perceptions of fit and identification with the role. Data were collected via survey methodology from a sample of 201 existing African American and female entrepreneurs, operating businesses within several metropolitan cities across the United States. Predictions of race and gender differences in perceptions of fit and identification with entrepreneurship were not supported. While the proposed inverse relationship between perceptions of fit and intent to quit were supported by the data, no racial or gender differences were observed. To test the possible additive effects of negative stereotyping, it was proposed that compared to other gender-ethnic groups, African American females would report less fit and entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and a greater intent to quit. These predictions were also not supported. Finally, despite the absence of race or gender differences, several predictors of fit, such as, business planning and, entrepreneurial self-efficacy were identified. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings, as well as considerations for future research, are discussed.