Aguinis, H., Ansari, M. A., Jayasingam, S., & Aafaqi, R.
Management Research, Vol. 6, P. 121-137.
Based on the leadership, entrepreneurship, and issue selling literature, we hypothesized that entrepreneurs who are perceived to be successful can be differentiated from unsuccessful entrepreneurs based on their degree and type of social power. We conducted a field experiment including 305 Malaysian managers with considerable experience in working with entrepreneurs and in entrepreneurial environments. Entrepreneurs perceived to be successful were ascribed greater referent, information, expert, connection, and reward power; less coercive power; and similar legitimate power than unsuccessful entrepreneurs. These results provide evidence in support of social power as a distinguishing individual characteristic of successful entrepreneurs and make a contribution to theories linking social capital with entrepreneurial success. Aspiring entrepreneurs need to be aware that their social power profile is associated with various degrees of perceived success. Our paper points to the need to investigate variables beyond personality and that are more directly relevant to social and interpersonal interactions that may differentiate entrepreneurs perceived to be successful from those who are not.