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Dr. Chi Liao on left and Dr. Nathan Greidanus on right

Dr. Chi Liao and Dr. Nathan Greidanus

ADHD and Entrepreneurship

Paper addressing the relationship between attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and entrepreneurship published in Journal of Business Venturing

April 15, 2021 — 

Entrepreneurship is an action-oriented, fast-paced, varied, and uncertain endeavor and according to Asper Professors, Dr. Nathan Greidanus and Dr. Chi Liao, there is a growing stream of research that suggests these characteristics lend themselves to individuals who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Greidanus an Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship and Liao an Assistant Professor in Behavioral Finance, take a multidisciplinary approach to entrepreneurship in their paper entitled, Toward a coping-dueling-fit theory of the ADHD-entrepreneurship relationship: Treatment’s influence on business venturing, performance, and persistence.  The paper was published in early 2021 in the Journal of Business Venturing a peer-reviewed multidisciplinary academic journal publishing research on all aspects of entrepreneurship while also spanning the disciplines of economics, psychology, and sociology.

In their study, the co-authors examine entrepreneurship through a behavioral and psychological lens. As part of their research, they developed what they call the Coping-Dueling-Fit (CDF) theory to explain the ADHD entrepreneurship relationship. Suggesting that ADHD symptoms such as impulsivity and hyperactivity, can act as both an asset and liability in entrepreneurship but that the ability to cope, often developed through treatment for ADHD, serves to moderate these relationships to the benefit of the individual with ADHD.

“This research, like much of my work, focuses on the value creating power of entrepreneurship, be that in the areas of sustainability, Indigenous peoples, economic inequality or in this case those with ADHD,” said Greidanus. 

“Our theory and empirical findings recognize the value potential of entrepreneurship as a career choice for those that might find it difficult to fit in many standard work environments.  Based on our research, I’d say yes, Entrepreneurship is a great career choice for those with ADHD, but it is also really important to develop ADHD coping skills in order to increase your chances of entrepreneurial success.”  -Dr. Nathan Greidanus

The research received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), a federal agency that promotes post-secondary-based research in the humanities and social sciences. 

“This grant has given me the opportunity to explore the effect of individual differences on financial decision-making and in this case, the choice to become an entrepreneur,” noted Liao.

“As ADHD becomes increasingly common among children, it is important to examine its role, as well as those of available treatments, in shaping economic outcomes in adulthood to ensure that those with ADHD are not disadvantaged.” – Dr. Chi Liao

Visit Dr. Nathan Greidanus’ and Dr. Chi Liao’s Google Scholar pages to read their additional research in entrepreneurship, sustainable development, governance, household finance and behavioral finance.

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