Being the boss and working for a boss: Upsides and downsides

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Craig, J., Schaper, M. & Dibrell, C. (2007). Being the boss and working for a boss: Upsides and downsides. Paper presented at the 21st ANZAM (2007) conference: Managing our intellectual and social capital, Sydney, Australia.

2007 HERDC submission.

© Copyright Justin Craig, Michael Schaper & Clay Dibrell, 2007


Comparatively, very little of the Household Income and Labour Dynamics (HILDA) data set has been used to analyse the activities of Australian small business owner-operators, even though there are currently some 1.8 million small firms in existence. Using multiple waves of the HILDA survey, in this paper we investigate two important research questions related to life in a small business in Australia. Question one seeks to uncover differences between small business respondents and employees of private sector firms, by examining issues related to (i) life satisfaction, (ii) job satisfaction, (iii) individual priorities, (iv) perceived prosperity, (v) risk preferences, and (vi) individual health (general health, vitality, social functioning, emotional well-being, mental health). The second question then examines whether the factors that contribute to life satisfaction are different for the self-employed and the employee groups. Our principal findings are that the level of satisfaction between the self-employed and the employee groups does differ significantly, and that the self-employed are more satisfied with their lives and their jobs than their employee counterparts.

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This document has been peer reviewed.