Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Business Administration

First Advisor

Paul D. Johnson

Second Advisor

Charles C. Dibrell

Third Advisor

Walter D. Davis


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



The focal topics of this dissertation are subjective entrepreneurial success (SES) and grief. Over the past three decades, the budding SES literature has seen accelerating growth since its conceptual inception in 1987, with 2016 marking a key event in the literature – the formal naming and definition of the SES construct. Research on the SES construct is of interest to scholars because it complements the objective economic conceptualizations of success often seen in the entrepreneurship literature, highlighting the idiosyncratic ways that entrepreneurs conceptualize and evaluate their success.

To contribute to the SES literature, Essay One of my three-essay dissertation, I systematically review the SES literature. Second, I analyze the current state of the SES literature, showing what work scholars have done to examine SES and what journals have published it. Finally, I review the future directions that scholars have proposed in SES works, I highlight avenues for fruitful research.

In Essay Two, I develop a set of three entrepreneurial striving types based on unique combinations of entrepreneurs’ personal values and the subjective success criteria that represent. I examine the potential for conflict and compatibility between these values and their representative criteria, and the potential effects on entrepreneurs’ motivation, well-being, and success. In Essay Three, I examined entrepreneurs’ grief following business failure and how this affects their intentions to create new businesses, and the effect that entrepreneurial identity and resilience may have on these relationships.

Available for download on Saturday, September 13, 2025