Autonomy is a primary motive for a large majority of small business starters. However, as an explanation of why people want their own (autonomous) business it is largely circular. Therefore we focus on an explanation of the autonomy motive itself. Specifically, it is questioned why small business starters want autonomy. In answering this question a two level distinction is made. The motivation for autonomy can be an end in itself. The small business starter is then motivated by the decisional freedoms and responsibilities with regard to the what, how, and when aspects of work. Autonomy can also be instrumental for the fulfillment of still other motives. We suggest that this is the case for three motives in particular: resistance towards bosses or rules, self-congruence/self-endorsement, and power/ control. Our framework is confirmed studying a sample of 167 nascent entrepreneurs motivated by autonomy.
Van Gelderen, M.; Jansen, P. (2006). Autonomy as a start-up motive. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 23-32.