Call for Master Thesis: “Business start-up, burn-out and start-up success” – apply until 28th October

Second wave of data collection

Especially in the first phase of business start-up founders have high and diverse demands. With longer periods of overwhelming strain founders are threatened to develop symptoms of burn-out that might reduce the success of the start-up project and the founders’ health related quality of life. Thus, burn-out symptoms might reduce the contribution of business start-up to economic development and innovation. Still, there has been only little research on burn-out symptoms in the business start-up so far.

A joint research imitative by IFI JKU, University of Groningen, University of Twente and the Medical University of Graz aims at closing this gap. A team of international researchers with backgrounds in psychiatry, psychology and management build up a longitudinal dataset among a large number of Austrian founders over a period of 12 months. Based on these data two questions will be answered: (1) How do the start-up conditions impact on the evolution of burn-out symptoms among entrepreneurs? (2) How do the burn-out symptoms of entrepreneurs impact on start-up success? The role of the entrepreneurs’ founding motives, expectations, work patterns and health related quality of life will be identified. Tested questionnaires will be used. The results of the study will not only contribute to scientific discourse, but will also gain clinical relevance as they will be used, in collaboration with the industry partners, to develop programs for burn-out prevention that are tailor-made for entrepreneurs in the start-up phase.

In 2015 and 2016, data was collected from Austrians who started a new venture during 2014. In the coming semester we will approach these individuals again with a short questionnaire that is conducted either in personal meetings or via telephone.

Your master thesis will contribute to this research initiative. You will be equipped with a short validated questionnaire in German language. With this questionnaire you will approach SME-managers/owners who participated in the first wave of data collection during 2015. You will try to get as many responses as possible from a list of 150 contacts provided. This data collection will be done by 3-5 master students in parallel. For your thesis, you will focus on a specific aspect of the total project. Thus, you will be able to base your analysis on the total sample, to which each of you will contribute. That way, a series of individual theses will emerge each of which is based on a rich empirical basis.

To apply for this research initiative, please send your CV with the reference “MA Burnout@Startup Wave 2” to matthias.fink@jku.at until 28th October.

Key contributions that we have published on similar topics:

  • Fink, M., Rauch, A., Hatak, I. & Baranyi, A. (2016): Mental Health of Start-up Entrepreneurs – The Role of Working Conditions and Physical Health. Academy of Management Perspectives Special Issue Workshop, Syracuse University, USA, 06.10.-08.10.
  • Rauch, A., Hatak, I. & Fink, M. (2016). Stress in Entrepreneurship – Towards an Integrative Model. 1st International Workshop on Health of Small Business Owners & Entrepreneurs. Montpellier, France, 28.09.-30.09.
  • Fink, M., Hatak, I. & Rauch A. (2016). Start-Up Conditions and Burn-Out: The Moderating Role of Start-Up Motives. ENT Symposium ‘Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners And Well-Being’. 2016 AoM Annual Meeting. Anaheim, USA, 04.08.-09.08.
  • Hatak, I., Rauch, A., Fink, M. & Baranyi, A. (2016). Business Start-Up, Burn-Out, and Start-Up Success. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference. Bodo, Norway, 08.06.-11.06. (selected for in Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research)
  • Hatak, I., Rauch, A. & Baranyi, A. (2015). Entrepreneurial Motives, Working Conditions, Burn-Out Symptoms and Firm Performance. 2015 AoM Annual Meeting. Vancouver, Canada, 07.08.-11.08.
  • Hatak, I., Rauch, A., Fink, M. & Baranyi, A. (2015). Doing Well by Being Well: The Interplay of Physical Well-being, Burn-Out Symptoms and Firm Performance of Necessity-, Rationality- and Opportunity-Driven Entrepreneurs. Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference. Boston Park, USA, 10.06.-13.06. (selected for FER)