Physiological Theory

Could your physiology make you more entrepreneurial?

Research examining the physiology of entrepreneurs is rather new and underdeveloped. Very little is known about how our physiology can affect our propensity for entrepreneurship.
One study examined how testosterone level experienced in the womb can affect us. Testosterone exposure in utero is linked to competitiveness, aggressiveness, and other traits that have been linked to some extend with entrepreneurs.[1]
The researchers used a technique of measuring finger length ratios that are markers of testosterone exposure. Survey respondents where supplied with rulers and instructions and self-reported the lengths of their index and ring fingers. To calculate the ratio (2D:4D), one divides the length of the index finger by the length of the ring finger on the same hand. A higher ratio (i.e., relatively long index finger) is associated with many different traits including sexuality, aggressiveness, assertiveness, unprovoked violence, etc…

Studies in management have gone much further than those in entrepreneurship.[2] They have investigated the role of hormones like dopamine, testosterone, oxytocin, serotonin, and cortisol. They have looked at physical characteristics like height, weight, physique, athleticism, energy and attractiveness. They have looked at medical conditions like cardio, diabetes, and musculoskeletal, and blood pressure.



[1] Bönte, W., Procher, V. D., and Urbig, D. (2016). Biology and selection into entrepreneurship—The relevance of prenatal testosterone exposure. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 40(5), 1121-1148.

[2] Nofal, A. M., Nicolaou, N., Symeonidou, N., and Shane, S. (2018). Biology and management: A review, critique, and research agenda. Journal of Management, 44(1), 7-31.


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