Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Davis, James

Committee Member

Stumpf, Dan

Committee Member

Morse, David

Committee Member

Blackbourn, Richard

Committee Member

King, Stephanie

Other Advisors or Committee Members

Wiseman, W. Martin

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Community College Leadership

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Education


Department of Educational Leadership


Many factors contribute to business and entrepreneurial success. Raw material, labor, capital, and entrepreneurship are common inputs into most business organizations (enterprises). Entrepreneurship is the one factor of production that is needed in all successful business organizations. In Southeast Kentucky, there has been much attention given to small business development and the need for more entrepreneurship. However, little research has been done on the “self-directedness” and “emotional intelligence” that are needed for entrepreneurial success. This study investigated the possible association between self-directed learning and emotional intelligence with entrepreneurial success in a Southeast Kentucky group consisting of independent small business owners. This study also examined the relationships of age, gender, annual salaries, years of college education, and years of business experience with entrepreneurial success. The Learning Preference Assessment (LPA), the online BarOn EQ-i survey, and a short demographic survey were used in this study. Of the 250 entrepreneurs randomly selected, 104 responded by completing and returning the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Survey instrument (SDLRS) and the demographic questionnaire. Due to technical difficulties, the results from the online BarOn EQ-i survey were not available. The mean SDLRS score for all 104 entrepreneurs was 239.63. The minimum SDLRS score was 206, and the maximum SDLRS score was 284. Correlational analysis revealed a moderate-size, positive correlation of SDLRS with years of experience. More experience tended to go with higher test scores. Also, a moderate- to large-size positive correlation of SDLRS scores with sex (gender) was discovered. Males tended to score higher than females on the SDLRS. There was no correlation whatsoever of SDLRS scores with age. There was a large positive correlation of educational level with SDLRS scores. Individuals with higher education were associated with higher scores. Lastly, there was a very large correlation between SDLRS scores and income. All variables, except age and experience, were significant when compared to self-directedness.