Positive stress and reflective practice among entrepreneurs

Kati Tikkamäki, Päivi Heikkilä, Mari Ainasoja

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    Abstract

    While heavy stress loads seem an unavoidable aspect of entrepreneurship, the positive side of stress (often referred to as 'eustress') remains a neglected area of research. This paper contributes to entrepreneurship research by linking the research streams of eustress and reflective practice. As a tool for analysing and developing thoughts and actions, reflective practice plays an important role in the interpretative work essential to positive stress experiences. Following an overview of approaches to stress at work, eustress and reflective practice, the paper explores how entrepreneurs experience the role of positive stress and reflective practice in their work and describes the reflective tools utilized by entrepreneurs in promoting eustress. The research process was designed to support reflective dialogue among the 21 Finnish entrepreneurs from different fields who participated in the study, with results based mainly on qualitative interviews. Nine of the interviewed entrepreneurs also kept a positive stress diary, including a three-day physiological measurement analysing their heartbeat variability. The findings suggest that positive stress and reflective practice are intertwined in the experiences of entrepreneurs and illustrate the role of reflective practice as a crucial toolset for promoting positive stress, comprising six reflective tools: studying oneself, changing one's point of view, putting things into perspective, harnessing a feeling of trust, regulating resources and engaging in dialogue. Individual reflective capabilities vary, and a theory-driven division of reflective practice into individual, social and contextual dimensions is considered useful in understanding those differences. The research offers a starting point for exploring how eustress and reflective practice affect the well-being of entrepreneurs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)35-55
    JournalJournal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation (JEMI)
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fingerprint

    entrepreneur
    entrepreneurship
    dialogue
    experience
    research process
    qualitative interview
    well-being
    resources

    Keywords

    • positive stress
    • eustress
    • reflective practice
    • entrpreneurs

    Cite this

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    Positive stress and reflective practice among entrepreneurs. / Tikkamäki, Kati; Heikkilä, Päivi; Ainasoja, Mari.

    In: Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation (JEMI), Vol. 12, No. 1, 2016, p. 35-55.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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