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The relationship between business incubator services and the psychological capital of tenants

The relationship between business incubator services and the psychological capital of tenants

PhD Candidate: Alison Ollerenshaw

Supervisors: Dr Angela Murphy, Assoc Prof Helen Thompson and Prof Suzanne McLaren

Research overview

Business incubators (BIs) offer nascent businesses a protective, nurturing environment, supporting tenants to grow their businesses and be sustainable in the long-term (Bergek & Norrman, 2008; Robinson & Stubberud, 2014). Incubators offer characteristic services that include access to space, physical resources and infrastructure; business support; networking; and, structured selection, entry and exit for tenants. Published research offers broad insights about BIs, their development and operation, however very little research has examined whether BIs impact on the positive psychological state of development of tenants. Preliminary investigations by Ford (2015) suggest that incubators may support psychological capital (PsyCap). PsyCap is a multi-dimensional construct representing an individual's positive psychological state of development represented by hope, efficacy, resilience, and optimism (Luthans, Youssef, & Avolio, 2007). Examination of the characteristic services offered through BIs indicate they are analogous with interventions for developing PsyCap.

This research will examine whether a relationship exists between the characteristic services offered by BIs and tenants' PsyCap and whether it exists over time. This research draws from the positivist research approach using a quantitative methodology with mixed methods, comprising surveys and interviews. Three studies are proposed with data collected from tenants in incubators in Australia and overseas. The first study will examine whether the four characteristic services of BIs are related to tenants' PsyCap using a cross sectional research design. The second study will investigate whether the BI characteristic services predict tenants' PsyCap over time, using longitudinal data. The third study will qualitatively examine the relationship between BI characteristic services and PsyCap through the experiences of tenants at BIs. This research is unique and will contribute new knowledge about the relationships between the characteristic services of BI and tenants' PsyCap. These investigations will inform the wider incubator industry about the type of services that support tenants' PsyCap.

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