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Bright or dark, vain or villainous? How entrepreneurial fitness, Machiavellianism and narcissism relate to entrepreneurial intention

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This study investigates antecedents of entrepreneurial intentions of young adults, the next generation of entrepreneurs. We determine whether aspiring entrepreneurs’ positive and dark traits relate to entrepreneurial intentions. Results indicated that entrepreneurial fitness, a second-order construct comprised of multiple positive and bright traits, positively relates to entrepreneurial intention, while the dark traits of Machiavellianism and narcissism differentially relate to entrepreneurial fitness and intention. Narcissism positively relates to entrepreneurial fitness and intention both directly and indirectly. Though Machiavellianism positively and directly relates to entrepreneurial intention, it also negatively and indirectly relates to intention through a negative relationship with entrepreneurial fitness. However, overall, entrepreneurial fitness positively relates with entrepreneurial intention. Findings extend the core model of entrepreneurial intention by concurrently illuminating the adaptive and maladaptive aspects of the dark side of narcissism and Machiavellianism with the bright, positive antecedents of entrepreneurial intention with entrepreneurial fitness. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


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