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Publication Date



College of Business


Purpose: The purpose of this article is to recognize emotional intelligence (EI) as a specific emotional competency possessed by entrepreneurs that facilitates their coping with stressors that arise in their day-to-day work. Highlighting the problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies employed by entrepreneurs, the paper establishes that EI in entrepreneurs enables the onset of acceptance of the stressful situation and optimism that a stressful situation can be solved.

Design: The paper reviews literature on the topics related to links between EI, entrepreneurial behaviors and entrepreneurial coping. Subsequently, acceptance-avoidance motivation theory is used to posit that entrepreneurs' EI serves as an antecedent that (1) guides the selection of their coping strategies through the onset of optimism and acceptance of the stressful situation, (2) assists in perceiving those situations as either controllable or uncontrollable, and (3) shapes the actual process through which entrepreneurs cope.

Findings: The proposed conceptual model asserts that entrepreneurs’ EI as reflected in their abilities to perceive, use, understand and regulate emotions, is key to their coping. EI in entrepreneurs assists them in being optimistic about solving a stressful situation and accepting of such situations as well. Thereafter, selection of a problem-focused or emotion-focused coping strategy or both ensues.

Originality: The current work offers a conceptual model that highlights the role of entrepreneurs' EI in coping, integrates both the cognitive and affective components of coping, and suggests a variety of avenues for future research. This model extends models of coping that categorize coping types to specify the process thought to be involved. Understanding the role of emotional intelligence in coping with stress by entrepreneurs has theoretical and practical implications which are discussed as well.

Publisher's Statement

This postprint/accepted manuscript has been made available in compliance with publisher policy under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial International Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC 4.0).

Publisher's version of record:

Publication Title

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License





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