Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Primary Advisor

Dr. Beth Leslie


The purpose of this thesis is to apply trait theory through psychoanalysis in an attempt to determine why three noted entrepreneurs: Andrew Carnegie, Walt Disney, and Oprah Winfrey, were highly successful in their respective ventures as well as discuss the extent to which indicative traits of entrepreneurial success were present in the subjects studied. Research shows that components of entrepreneurs’ traits and motivation have a direct relationship to the start-up and continued success of new venture firms (Baum, Locke, 2004) which means more accurate definitions of traits responsible for entrepreneurial success are beneficial to investors, entrepreneurs, and the entire economic landscape. This study concludes that the three entrepreneurs analyzed all displayed high levels of openness to experience manifested in different habits, shared MBTI behavioral types, and philanthropic attitudes toward the purpose of wealth later in life.