Liability of Newness: Assessing Couple Social Support When Starting A New Business Venture


  • Sharon M. Danes, PhD, is a professor, Shonda M. Craft, PhD, is an assistant Professor, Juyoung Jang, MA, is a doctoral candidate, Jinhee Lee, MA, is a doctoral candidate, Family Social Science Department, University of Minnesota.

  • Supported, in part, through the Family Owned Business Institute Research Scholar Award, Seidman School of Business, Grand Valley State University and the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station Hatch Project No. 4709. Minnesota and Iowa Small Business Development Centers provided support through sampling and data collection.

Address correspondence to Sharon M. Danes, Family Social Science Department, University of Minnesota, 1985 Buford Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota 55108; E-mail:


Study purpose was to investigate adapted social support instruments of nurturance and affiliation with male and female entrepreneurs and spouses starting a new business. Family Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Orientation theory was the theoretical grounding. Business structure differed by entrepreneur gender in both direct and indirect spousal involvement. Both couple types were highly connected with their firms having high nurturance and affiliation scores. When couple discrepancies were compared, more male entrepreneur couples had shared meaning on business-oriented nurturance questions compared with female entrepreneur couples. The opposite was true for shared meaning on relationship-oriented nurturance. For all affiliation questions, more male entrepreneur couples had shared meaning than did female entrepreneur couples. Clinical applications of resulting instruments are discussed.