Original Research

Identification of personality traits affecting entrepreneurial performance in the hospitality subsector: A five-factor personality model

Oswald Mhlanga
Acta Commercii | Vol 19, No 2 | a651 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v19i2.651 | © 2019 Oswald Mhlanga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2018 | Published: 15 April 2019

About the author(s)

Oswald Mhlanga, Department of Hospitality, University of Mpumalanga, Mbombela, South Africa


Orientation: Although tourism growth is higher relative to other industries in South Africa, the failure rate for entrepreneurs in the hospitality subsector is higher relative than other industries.

Research purpose: The aim of this research was to identify personality traits affecting entrepreneurial performance in the hospitality subsector.

Motivation for the study: By identifying the personality traits affecting entrepreneurial performance, steps can be made to identify individuals who are likely to be successful entrepreneurs.

Research design, approach and method: A random sampling method was used to select respondents. However, only entrepreneurs that employ fewer than 50 full-time employees and who had been in operation for at least 2 years were targeted. A mixed methods research design was then followed. A meeting was held with ten entrepreneurs (qualitative) to discuss the purpose of the study. Consequently, a total of 437 entrepreneurs successfully completed questionnaires (quantitative). Exploratory factor analysis was used to analyse the data.

Main findings: The findings clearly indicate that extraversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience significantly (p < 0.05) and positively affected the performance of entrepreneurs whilst neuroticism significantly (p < 0.05) and negatively affected the performances of entrepreneurs.

Practical/managerial implications: Existing entrepreneurs would do well to develop these traits or employ people with traits that complement their own to assist them in managing their enterprises. Future entrepreneurs may consider these results and decide whether, based on their personality, they are really suited to business ownership.

Contribution/value-add: The research confirms that entrepreneurial attributes differ from industry to industry and are industry specific.


South Africa; hospitality entrepreneurs; personality traits; entrepreneurial performance; tourism


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