Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2010

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Information Systems

First Advisor

Michael Gallivan

Second Advisor

Michel Kalika

Third Advisor

Alice De Koning

Fourth Advisor

Fred Niederman

Fifth Advisor

Daniel Robey

Sixth Advisor

Pierre Romelaer


Retaining IT employees help them finding a path to entrepreneurship or even investing in spin-offs created by their employees (i.e. future entrepreneurs) is essential for the vitality of the economy. The objective of this thesis is to answer the following research question: “why and how do IT professionals3 decide to quit their salaried employment to start a business?” We do so by proposing a theory related to the under researched area of IT entrepreneurial turnover. The first chapter clarifies the unfolding model (Lee et al., 1999), so that it could be used with confidence (e.g. shock and image violation). The second chapter proposes one new core category, i.e. the Readiness to Quit (RTQ) which is divided into two types, the current RTQ and the Necessary Configuration to Quit (NCQ). We integrate them in a conceptual framework including the context, a chronology and the compatibility test between the current RTQ and the NCQs indicating that the IT professional is ready to quit. The last chapter proposes a second core category, IT Entrepreneurial Epiphany, which connect the shock and the image violations with the current RTQ. The IT Entrepreneurial Epiphany is composed of five lower-level concepts: Business, playing the game; Risk reduction; Timing; Context and opportunity; and finally long-term reason for becoming an entrepreneur. Finally, we discuss the enrichment of the conceptual framework resulting from these new core categories. In sum, we contribute to the research by proposing two core categories embedded in a rich conceptual framework.