Identifying entrepreneurs through risk taking behaviour: illegal downloading

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – This paper is the first in a series which explores whether it is possible to use risk-taking activities as a way of identifying potential entrepreneurs. The research examines the motivations of individuals to engage in deviant consumer behaviour, in this case illegal downloading and the link between this behaviour and possible entrepreneurial characteristics. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology approach was of a quantitative nature using a 32-item questionnaire disseminated to 215 undergraduate students at a UK University. Findings – Although there was strong evidence of entrepreneurial traits existing across the participants, including risk taking propensity, no relationship could be found between risk taking propensity and illegal downloading. Reasons put forward for this findings were that the level of risk involved was too low to be identified as such by the downloaders, even though the nondownloaders were worried about being caught and therefore were not participating in it. Attitudes towards this misbehaviour changes when it is not for their own consumption and very few students participated in that activity. Research limitations/implications – This study is limited to a cohort of undergraduate students at only one University. This study begins to understand the potential link between misbehaviour and entrepreneurial traits. Originality/value – This paper examines the possible link between consumer misbehaviour, in this case illegal downloading and the display of entrepreneurial risk-taking characteristics. The implication of ‘consumer misbehaviour’ through illegal downloading being ‘entrepreneurial’ has, to our knowledge, not been previously tested and could be a useful and inexpensive way of identifying future entrepreneurs and consequently directing relevant support and training to the right people.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Consumer misbehaviour
  • entrepreneurial characteristics
  • illegal downloading
  • risk taking propensity


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