Exploring the Reasons and Ways to Exit: The Entrepreneur Perspective
Research on entrepreneurial exit has received growing attention recently, attributing to the importance of exit in the entrepreneurial process. Yet, the complex phenomena of exit render the research scattered in the field. This research is aimed at understanding entrepreneurial exit at the individual level, which has received less attention in the scholarly works. This article contributes to the discussion on the level of analysis researching entrepreneurial exit. Furthermore, the empirical work explores the reasons for and ways to exit of young firms. Following Austrian firms from founding until 3–4 years of operation, we are able to track entrepreneurs who exit. Our study reveals that the entrepreneurs who exit have fewer general managerial skills, are less experienced (general job experience, industry), have fewer entrepreneurial skills and less leadership quality, compared to the entrepreneurs who still engage in their founded firms in the sample. These findings indicate the importance of human capital, which plays a role in the continuation of the professional career of an entrepreneur. With regards to reasons to exit, our findings show that entrepreneurs exit due to personal-related reasons (alternative and normative) and firm-related reasons (calculative). Concerning ways to exit, the study reveals the specific context of Austria in which temporary closure is a possible way to exit. In the early stage, this study finds that the voluntary exit occurs in most cases, rather than the involuntary exit.
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