Eustress - findings concerning the indication and interpretation of positive stress among entrepreneurs - a case study

Virpi Oksman, Miikka Ermes, Kati Tikkamäki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper examines the experience of eustress, using Selye's (1964, 1987) concept of "good stress".Usually stress is considered and researched as a negative experience, but we suggest that learning to respond to negative stress and demands with positive emotions and behaviours is likely to increase positive drive, creativity and courage (Le Fevre, Matheny &Kolt, 2003; Selye 1964; 1987). However, it is sometimes challenging to draw the line between distress, negative stress and positive stress. Especially entrepreneurs are an important target group of studying positive stress as they have a high responsibility for self-management and deciding over their ways of working. We conducteda case study with 21 entrepreneurs in Finland to find out how the entrepreneurs experience the balance between positive and negative stress. In addition, 9 of the entrepreneurs took part in a physiological stress measurement for a period of one week by wearing sensors and writing a diary of their daily events during the measurement. The entrepreneurs were interviewed before and after the measurement. We conclude that the physiological measurement of stress should be combined with qualitative self-report of participants to understand the valence of the stress, as it can't be concluded from the physiological measures only. In addition, novel digital services could be developed to support learning new ways to respond to stress and provide useful tools for facilitating positive stress and wellbeing at work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-347
JournalThe Business and Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed
EventInternational conference on Business and Economic Development, ICBED 2016 - New York, United States
Duration: 4 Apr 20165 Apr 2016


  • entrepreneurs
  • positive stress
  • stress measurement
  • self-management
  • wellbeing at work


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