ADHD symptoms, entrepreneurial passion, and entrepreneurial performance

Isabella Hatak, Manling Chang, Rainer Harms, Johan Wiklund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (SciVal)


Recent studies have substantially enhanced our understanding of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in entrepreneurship—articulating the theoretical relevance of ADHD-type traits in entrepreneurship and confirming the positive linkages between ADHD symptoms/diagnosis and entrepreneurial intentions and behavior. However, how and why some people with ADHD symptoms run successful ventures, while other entrepreneurs fail to perform well, is still not well established. Our study builds on a Gestalt perspective that integrates person–environment fit and broaden-and-build theorizing, and proposes that strong positive emotions enable entrepreneurs with ADHD symptoms (at the subclinical level) to mitigate/reinforce the effect of ADHD’s trait-specific weaknesses/strengths to achieve entrepreneurial performance. Relying on fuzzy-set methodology, our findings indicate that for entrepreneurs with ADHD symptoms, entrepreneurial performance occurs when they simultaneously experience passion for founding and developing. This passion configuration is unique to successful ADHD-type entrepreneurs. As such, this study offers novel theoretical and empirical insights as well as implications for practitioners. Plain English Summary Do people with ADHD perform well in entrepreneurship? Our research shows how ADHD symptoms relate to entrepreneurial performance finding that passion is important. Entrepreneurs who are highly and thereby ambidextrously passionate for growing their businesses and for founding activities while lacking intense positive feelings for coming up with new ideas can benefit from ADHD. These results are important for people with ADHD and their loved ones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1693-1713
Number of pages21
JournalSmall Business Economics
Issue number4
Early online date20 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021


  • ADHD
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Entrepreneurial passion
  • Entrepreneurial performance
  • Entrepreneurship
  • fsQCA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics


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