Theses and Dissertations



Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Marler, Laura

Committee Member

Vardaman, James

Committee Member

McLarty, Benjamin

Committee Member

Marett, Kent

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Business Administration (Management)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Business


Department of Management and Information Systems


This dissertation explores how dark and light personality traits influence venture performance via mediating effects of social structure. Because entrepreneurship is an inherently social process, theoretical perspectives of social network theory and social comparison theory are used to examine how entrepreneurs’ dark and light personality traits interact with personality traits of socially proximal others to influence venture performance via network structure. These perspectives are drawn together using socioanalytic theory. This dissertation argues that agreeableness and narcissism interact with the personality traits of network others at the group-level to influence structural hole positioning within entrepreneurial networks; in turn, structural holes are hypothesized to exert a positive effect on venture revenue. This study offers contributions to the fields of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial personality, social networks, and social comparison processes. Hypotheses are tested using a dataset of 234 entrepreneurs nested within 24 groups; analyses are conducted via linear mixed effects models and Monte-Carlo approximation of mediation confidence intervals (Model 1) and OLS regression and non-parametric bootstrapping approximation of mediation confidence intervals (Model 2).