Shocks and entrepreneurship: A study of career shocks among newly graduated entrepreneurs

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the career shocks that young, newly graduated entrepreneurs experience in the process of starting a business.

Design/methodology/approach – The study adopted a qualitative approach, drawing upon 25 semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs who recently graduated from university (up to the age of 30) in different European countries.

Findings – The analysis identifies several career shocks that can confront entrepreneurs before and after starting a business and reveals how these shocks influence graduates’ decisions to become and continue to be an entrepreneur.

Research limitations/implications – The study sheds light on the diverse nature of career shocks and the importance of integrating agency concepts and environmental influences in career research. It identifies important factors relevant for school-to-work transition research and complements work in
entrepreneurship research on necessity and opportunity entrepreneurship, push and pull motives, and entrepreneurial intentions.

Practical implications – Organizations can use the findings to attract and retain young entrepreneurial employees, while higher education organizations can use the findings to better prepare students for a
successful transition into entrepreneurship, whether in the corporate or independent form.

Originality/value – The paper integrates the concept of career shocks with literature on entrepreneurship and offers a categorization of career shocks in the pathway to entrepreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-581
Number of pages20
JournalCareer Development International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Career decisions
  • Career shocks
  • Careers
  • Entrepreneurship
  • School-to-work transition
  • Youth entrepreneurship


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