Rule breaking in adolescence and entrepreneurial status: An empirical investigation

Zhen Zhang, Richard D. Arvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations


Entrepreneurship researchers contend that many entrepreneurs are rule breakers in order to succeed in their venturing processes. Few studies have examined the longitudinal relationship between negative forms of rule breaking in adolescence and entrepreneurial status in adulthood. Drawing upon Willis' [Willis, R.H. 1963. Two dimensions of conformity-nonconformity. Sociometry 26: 499-513.] theory on nonconformity, this study hypothesizes a positive relationship between an individual's modest rule breaking in adolescence and entrepreneurial status. Results (N = 165) support this hypothesis and also show that modest rule breaking serves as a mediator in the relationship between risk propensity and entrepreneurial status. These results have important implications for entrepreneurs' ethical decision making.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-447
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009



  • Constructive deviance
  • Entrepreneurial status
  • Ethics
  • Rule breaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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