Are entrepreneurs personally responsible for being stressed?

Being an entrepreneur is not only about success and prosperity. Being an entrepreneur can also mean long working hours, exhausting days and nights, high uncertainty, and an enormous workload. In her dissertation, Yekaterina Pak addresses the stressful side of being an entrepreneur by examining how entrepreneurs experience and respond to stress.

– Entrepreneurial stress has become a hot topic. Even though entrepreneurship can be rewarding, it can also negatively affect an entrepreneur’s health and well-being, says Yekaterina Pak, who will publicly defend her dissertation on Friday 10 November.

Yekaterina Pak’s doctoral dissertation at the University of Vaasa diverts from the traditional way of studying stress as hardship at work. In her dissertation, Pak finds that the way entrepreneurs feel about stress depends on their personality and how they deal with challenges in their work and life.

Entrepreneurs’ beliefs and values play a significant role in how entrepreneurs respond to stress

In her dissertation, Pak challenges the conventional view that entrepreneurial traits merely moderate or mediate the relationships between entrepreneurial stress and undesirable constraints at work.

Pak’s research reveals that entrepreneurs’ personal traits, such as optimism, self-efficacy, and high autonomy, can play a facilitating role in shaping the experience of stress. For example, an entrepreneur who has a high level of optimism and confidence may consider a challenging situation at work as the opportunity to be highly efficient. Moreover, entrepreneurs may enjoy and take pride in thinking of themselves as highly efficient at their work, regardless of the harmful effects that stress has on their physical and psychological health.

Social and financial support can trigger entrepreneurial stress

Loneliness and a lack of finances are sad companions of entrepreneurs. As a result, numerous social and economic associations aim to relieve entrepreneurs of these burdens. Indeed, previous research provides evidence that financial support and support from family members and colleagues can reduce entrepreneurial stress.

However, Pak’s findings suggest an opposite perspective on social and financial support. In her dissertation, Pak shows that financial support in the form of loans or investments can intensify entrepreneurial stress. Additionally, entrepreneurs may perceive social support from their peers as stress-inducing if it hinders their job performance.

The findings of Pak’s dissertation can benefit aspiring entrepreneurs as she breaks down what kind of stressful events entrepreneurs may encounter throughout their entrepreneurial journey. The results of her research can also be helpful for stakeholders, investors, and others interested in fostering entrepreneurship. By understanding how entrepreneurs experience and respond to stress, new stress-coping techniques and tools can be developed to help entrepreneurs on their journey.

Pak’s dissertation comprises three studies, which theoretically and empirically explore how entrepreneurs experience and respond to stress. For her dissertation, Pak interviewed entrepreneurs about their experiences with stress, discussing their motivation, life and work pressures.


Doctoral dissertation

Pak, Yekaterina (2023) What we talk about when we talk about entrepreneurship and stress: Essays on entrepreneurial stress. Acta Wasaensia 512. Doctoral dissertation. Vaasan yliopisto / University of Vaasa.

Publication pdf

Public defence

The public examination of M.Sc.(Econ & Bus. Adm.) Yekaterina Pak’s doctoral dissertation “What we talk about when we talk about entrepreneurship and stress: Essays on entrepreneurial stress” will be held on Friday 10 November 2023 at noon in auditorium Nissi at the University of Vaasa.

Participation in the defence is possible also online (Zoom, password: 756685)

Associate Professor Ewald Kibler (Aalto University) will act as an opponent and Associate Professor Jukka Partanen as a custos.


Further information

Yekaterina Pak, telephone +358 41 3694084, email yekaterina.pak (@)

Yekaterina Pak was born in Kazakhstan. She received her bachelor’s degree in 2013 from Karaganda Economic University, Kazakhstan. Pak completed the degrees of Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration majoring in International Business in 2016 at the University of Turku and Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration majoring in Management and Organisation in 2020 at the University of Vaasa. At the moment, Pak works as doctoral researcher in strategic management at the University of Vaasa.

Did you like the article?