Small businesses are dominant in most economies and their owners likely experience high levels of distress. However, we have not fully explored how these common businesses meaningfully differ with respect to the stress process. Understanding the meaningful variations or subgroups (i.e., heterogeneity) in the small business population will advance occupational health psychology, both in research and practice (e.g., Schonfeld, 2017; Stephan, 2018). To systematize these efforts, the author identifies five commonly appearing “heterogeneity factors” from the literature as modifiers of stressors or the stress process among small business owners. These five heterogeneity factors include: owner centrality, individual differences, gender differences, business/ownership type, and time. After synthesizing the research corresponding to each of these five factors, the author offers specific suggestions for identifying and incorporating relevant heterogeneity factors in future investigations of small business owners’ stress. The author closes by discussing implications for advancing occupational health theories.
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Brawley Newlin, Alice M. “More Specific than ‘Small’: Identifying Key Factors to Account for the Heterogeneity in Stress Findings among Small Businesses.” In Entrepreneurial and Small Business Stressors, Experienced Stress, and Well Being 18, edited by Pamela L. Perrewé, Peter D. Harms, and Chu-Hsiang Chang, 95–122. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited, 2020.
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