+31 (0) 6 29 21 54 35


Klokgebouw 210-3
5617 AC Eindhoven, The Netherlands






Josette Dijkhuizen is affiliated as
Honorary Professor in Entrepreneurship
Development with Maastricht School
of Management

Personal Profile

  • Honorary Professor Entrepreneurship Development at Maastricht School of Management
  • PhD Psychology of Entrepreneurship
  • School for Coaching
  • Master Management and Organization Sciences
  • Master Marketing


  • AMBA Highly Commended Award
  • Top Woman FRITS Magazine
  • Silver Tulip
  • Friendship Medal of the City of Eindhoven
  • Joke Smit Award

The strength of a business is within the entrepreneur

Psychology of Entrepreneurship

Josette Dijkhuizen, Professor Entrepreneurship Development

Since decades entrepreneurship is a highly discussed topic around the world. Most of the research, reviews and talks on the issue are focused on the macro economic aspects, such as job creation and economic growth. We tend to forget that entrepreneurship is about people who create new value. Men and women who have a vision, see opportunities, and try to get the best out of themselves and their business, while operating under uncertain conditions.

A psychological rather than an economical approach recognizes the importance of the personal qualities, ambitions, and individual circumstances. If we focus more on the personal development of entrepreneurs, the business will grow to a sustainable maturity accordingly. This does not mean all enterprises will potentially be ‘gazelles’, growth companies. A person fits a certain business, whether that is being self-employed or running a micro or small business. The diversity of entrepreneurs is important for innovation and variety in products and services. This also means that it not the ideal career path for many people and we must accept or even cherish business failure.

This view lead to the main topic of activities: psychology of entrepreneurship. On this theme you will find academic research and the translation to possible practical interventions. The main focus areas are development of competencies and skills, capacity building, enhancing personal resources, reducing work-related stress and increasing subjective well-being. Knowledge gained through research is linked to practical interventions, like group intervision and personal coaching. By doing so, entrepreneurs, institutions and organizations can make use of the valuable data from research while at the same time knowing how to assist entrepreneurs in their country or network, to become more successful.

Scientific data give entrepreneurs and organizations important input to improve the personal and business performance. They however struggle with translating these data to the daily practice of starting up or running a successful business. Ways of valorizing academic outputs include for example developing specific entrepreneurship programmes, train-the-trainer programmes, and workshops. ‘Krachtbedrijf’ is an example of such a specialized and innovative blended learning entrepreneurship programme aimed at a specific target group: survivors of violence.

Services arising from the topic of psychology of entrepreneurship and the valorization of scientific know-how into practical tools, include:

  • Scientific research
  • Train-the-trainer entrepreneurship programmes
  • Consultancy & soundboard sessions
  • Masterclasses
  • Presentations
  • De Zakencoach; professional business coaching

My publications on psychology of entrepreneurship centers around the following topics: business success and failure, entrepreneurial competencies, entrepreneurial job demands and job resources, stress and subjective well-being. In different academic papers and more practice oriented books, these issues are explored and translated to the daily business of entrepreneurs.

To be able to develop entrepreneurship, all the partners in the ecosystem are of great importance. The international network of Josette consists of entrepreneurs, educational institutions, network organizations, policy makers and (international) non-governmental and civil organizations all over the world. The affiliation with Maastricht School of Management means connecting to an additional international network of experts, universities and policy makers.


Scientific Research

As the linking pin between organizations and universities, any required research in the field of entrepreneurship can be executed. Current topics include coping strategies for women entrepreneurs in Africa, increasing self-esteem for start-ups, and growth obstacles for regional entrepreneurship. The affiliation with Maastricht School of Management, and its vast international network of partners, makes it possible to execute research in almost every country around the globe. We start with a stakeholder meeting to dig into the topic and find the right research questions. From there normally the project proposal can be made with a time schedule and the connecting partners. The close cooperation starts from there.

Train-the-trainer entrepreneurship programmes

These programmes are developed for trainers and mentors of universities, NGOs and others, interested in assisting start-ups or more experienced entrepreneurs. This program is always custom-made and specially designed for the specific organization, participants, and country. Overall, there is a focus on personal development of participants. The programme can be executed in 5, 10 or 15 days on any possible location in the world.

Consultancy & Soundboard sessions

In a more formal or informal setting, issues are discussed where knowledge, experience and network are brought together to get clarity on the issue and to come up with bright new ideas. These sessions can be separate conversations or part of a more project based approach. Off course these meetings are always custom-made.

Examples of cases are:

  • How to develop future insurance products for the ‘millennial entrepreneurs’?
  • What can be done for disabled youth in Iraq using the tool of entrepreneurship?


Working with groups of entrepreneurs strengthens the learning experience. In these closed 2.5 hour sessions business owners are challenged to come up with issues and learn from the knowledge, and experience of the mentors and other participants. You leave the session with clear reflections on your topic, practical tips, and business cards of fellow-thinkers. The mentors in these sessions are Berjan van den Hurk and Josette Dijkhuizen.

Examples of cases are:

  • The business is growing, but am I the right person to lead in the new format?
  • The world is changing so fast, how can I cope with this pressure?

Lectures & presentations

Lectures, presentations, webinars and workshops can be given on the topic of psychology of entrepreneurship.

Examples of current presentations:

  • Model of successful entrepreneurship: the crucial elements for every business owner to achieve his or her ambitions.
  • The entrepreneurial gene: do I have the competencies to become a successful entrepreneur?

De Zakencoach

‘De Zakencoach’ is a network of professional business coaches in The Netherlands. They are all specialized in improving the personal and therewith business performance of entrepreneurs.

Examples of cases are:

  • How do I become more efficient in my work?
  • I experience a lot of stress, how can I handle this?



Starting a PhD as an entrepreneur is quite a challenge, both from a scientific as from a practical point of view. However, the lack of attention for the topic of psychology of entrepreneurship made me realize I could continue giving presentations on this subject and write articles, but it would have more impact if I would do solid research. That’s where the process started. After an intensive literature study it became clear that the topics of work-related strain, well-being, and subjective success were understudied and at the same time important issues for current entrepreneurship. The choice was made to use the well-known Job Demands-Resources Model for investigation among entrepreneurs. By using this model the job demands influencing work-related strain could be identified, just as the job resources connected to happiness and its bilateral relationships, including the link to business performance. New in the study is the use of subjective success as a measure, so next to indicators as profit growth, turnover and increase in employment, items on a personal level were taken into account. Examples are balancing work and private life, social recognition, and personal development. The papers included below deal with these topics and are all published in scientific journals.


Development and Validation of the Entrepreneurial Job Demands Scale

The purpose of this study was to develop and validate a scale for measuring specific entrepreneurial job demands, over and above regular job demands for employed workers. Findings demonstrate that the scale captured three dimensions of entrepreneurial job demands: ‘time demands’, ‘uncertainty & risk’, and ‘responsibility’. The Entrepreneurial Job Demands Scale (EJDS) showed criterion validity in explaining work-related strain (positive relationship), and well-being (negative relationship) over and above regular measures of job demands, e.g. emotional load, quantitative workload and task complexity. The conclusion is that including specific demands does seem to add to the explanation of work-related strain and well-being in entrepreneurs. The EJDS can be used as a tool for entrepreneurs, job coaches, and government institutions that want to monitor potential risk factors for strain, well- being and business success in entrepreneurs.

Read the full paper…

Feeling successful as an entrepreneur: a job demands-resources approach

This cross-sectional study among 277 Dutch entrepreneurs investigates how entrepreneurs’ job demands relate to their work-related strain and work engagement, as well as their feelings of subjective success. As such it contributes firstly by focusing on psychological rather than business outcomes of entrepreneurship, and secondly by contextualizing demands and resources for entrepreneurs, e.g. capturing the general but also the specific factors that are demands and resources in entrepreneurial work. Results of the study show that work-related strain is related to both less personal and less financial subjective business success. Work engagement is related to higher personal, but not financial subjective business success. The practical implication of these findings is that entrepreneurs can achieve an important competitive advantage over other entrepreneurs if they can learn to deal effectively with job demands and work-related strain. The challenge for policy makers is to get more information about how to assist business owners in eliminating and preventing work-related strain in order to achieve higher subjective financial and personal success.

Read the full paper…

Four types of well-being among entrepreneurs and their relationships with business performance

Four types of affective well-being were investigated in a sample of 135 Dutch entrepreneurs: work engagement, job satisfaction, exhaustion and workaholism. Compared to employees, entrepreneurs score extremely high on work engagement. Scores on job satisfaction, exhaustion and working compulsively (CW) are also higher. Scores on working excessively (EW) are lower. An issue studied in this paper concerned the relation between well-being and performance. Entrepreneurs scoring high on EW reported the highest turnover, profits and number of employees. Satisfied entrepreneurs also reported relatively high profits and number of employees.

Read the full paper…

Well-being, personal success and business performance among entrepreneurs: a two-wave study

This two-wave longitudinal study among 121 entrepreneurs in The Netherlands investigated bi-directional relationships between entrepreneurs’ well-being and performance. Analysis showed positive well-being at Time 1 (work engagement; life satisfaction; and job satisfaction) predicted subjective entrepreneurial success 2 years later, both as indicated by entrepreneurs’ reports of achieved financial success (including personal income security and wealth, business turn-over, sales and profit growth), as well as perceptions of achieved personal success (personal fulfilment, community impact and employee relations). No relations were found with objective indicators of business performance (profit; turnover; and number of employees) over time. The expected recursive relationship between performance and well-being was only found in the short term; a better objective financial situation immediately preceding the second measurement moment, predicted better well-being at T2. The practical implication is that entrepreneurs should maintain and improve their own well-being to achieve positive long term business outcomes.

Read the full paper…

Het Ondernemersgen
The Entrepreneurial Gene

The Entrepreneurial Gene is based on scientific research on competencies, crucial for entrepreneurial success. The data gathered are valorized in interviews with famous Dutch entrepreneurs who give insight into their personal development. From this the book gives personal tips for the entrepreneur so he or she is able to realize his or her ambitions.


Vallen, opstaan en weer doorgaan
To fall, to rise & to continue

Business failure is a big taboo in the Netherlands and this book aims at making people aware of the background on this phenomenon, the experiences of entrepreneurs and the suggestions they give to the readers.



Maastricht School of Management

Together with Maastricht School of Management a women empowerment programme is under development for health care workers in Africa. The aim of the programme is to offer them the tools in a short executive course, to become strong leaders. The focus therefore is on capacity building so they can work on improving the quality of health care in the different communities.


De Amersfoortse

Stress among entrepreneurs is not the most discussed topic, but we should put in on the agenda and find the appropriate practical interventions. In scientific studies among business people in The Netherlands it was obvious that entrepreneurs experience high levels of work-related strain. If they could cope better with this phenomenon they might even have a competitive advantage because of the negative relationship between stress and business success. In the webinar for De Amersfoortse – Dutch insurance company – we discussed with participants the outcome of the studies, but especially what they can do to reduce strain and increase their resources.


Personal Projects

Entrepreneurship is a tool to move people, generating the energy to take hold of one’s life again. This benefits men and women economically, socially and personally. They become part of the society and community again earning a living, while contributing with innovative products and services.



In 2013 Krachtbedrijf Foundation – international name: ENPower Foundation – started its entrepreneurship program for survivors of violence, such as prostitutes, abused men and women, and refugees. The organization uses entrepreneurship as a tool to make a new beginning in one’s life, both economically and personally. The program is a unique combination of offline and online learning, with digital workspaces, workshops, individual coaching, field visits and consultation.

Read more…

Selling Strength

This photographic project – with Dutch photographer Jeroen Berkhout – is centered around women entrepreneurs in refugee settlements in Lebanon and Jordan. The aim in this personal project is to show the enormous strength of the women who use entrepreneurship as a tool for creating a better life for their families and in fact whole communities.

Read more…

Prof. dr. Josette Dijkhuizen
Klokgebouw 210-3
5617 AC Eindhoven, The Netherlands

+31 (0) 6 29 21 54 35


© 2018, Josette Dijkhuizen. All rights reserved