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Harnessing social skills for entrepreneurial success3 min read

November 10, 2023 3 min read


Harnessing social skills for entrepreneurial success3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutesReading Time: 3 minutes

In today’s fast-paced business environment, disruptions are inevitable. Understanding how to navigate these changes is crucial for sustaining growth and success. A Professor of Finance at INSEAD Massimo Massa, and a Chairperson of the Finance Department and Philip J. May Endowed Professor of Finance title at Michigan State University Andrei Simonov have shed light on this topic in their latest publication.

Before we delve into their findings, it’s noteworthy to mention Massimo Massa’s previous collaborative work with Ludo Van der Heyden and Kai Taraporevala, The Power of Distinct Owners as Value Catalysts. This article highlighted the unique advantages that distinct owners bring to a company, demonstrating how their presence can act as a catalyst for value creation. By providing a strategic direction and fostering a long-term vision, these owners contribute significantly to the company’s success, especially in turbulent times.

Main findings of Massimo Massa and Andrei Simonov’s article

In their article, Betting on Your Own Skills: Evidence From a Pseudo-Experiment on Economic Disruption, Massa and Simonov explore the impact of social skills on entrepreneurship, especially during periods of economic disruption. The study is groundbreaking, utilizing a unique dataset that includes direct proxies for social skills, cognitive abilities, and various environmental conditioning factors.

The authors find that individuals with higher social skills are more likely to become entrepreneurs and navigate through disruptions successfully. Moreover, they uncover a multiplier effect, where environmental factors such as family background, wealth, and local economic conditions further amplify the advantages of having strong social skills. Interestingly, while these factors make it more likely for an individual to remain an entrepreneur, they don’t significantly impact the probability of someone becoming an entrepreneur if they weren’t one already.

Application to your business

These findings have profound implications for the business world. Below are several examples of how they can be applied.

Emphasize social skills in corporate L&D

Successful businesses highly invest in the learning and development of their employees. Thus, dedicating resources to training programs that focus on enhancing social skills, including workshops on effective communication, empathy, and relationship-building, may protect your company in times of economic disruption, making your employees adaptive to new challenges.

We at Coursalytics specialize in helping businesses fulfill their learning needs and help them go through challenges. If you want to launch a training program to elevate your team, don’t hesitate to fill out the form or just contact us by email and tell us about your unique learning goals.

Leverage external conditions in family businesses

Family businesses have a unique advantage when it comes to environmental conditioning. Leveraging the family network and instilling entrepreneurial values from a young age can create a conducive environment for nurturing social skills.

Strategic Recruitment

When hiring, companies should place a higher emphasis on evaluating social skills. This is especially important for roles that require a high degree of interpersonal interaction and networking.

Building resilience in corporate culture

The findings suggest that social skills play a crucial role in building resilience during economic disruptions. Companies should encourage a culture that values and develops these skills, helping them navigate through challenging times more effectively.


The insights provided by Massimo Massa and Andrei Simonov offer valuable guidance for businesses aiming to thrive amidst disruptions. By placing a stronger emphasis on developing and valuing social skills, companies can not only navigate through challenges more effectively but also set the stage for sustained success and resilience. As we continue to face an ever-changing business landscape, these lessons become all the more pertinent, providing a roadmap for businesses, particularly family businesses, to flourish.

If you’re looking to build a strong and lasting corporate culture in your business, it’s crucial to train your top management in social skills and increase your team’s flexibility. We at Coursalytics are here to help. With a database of more than 65,000 faculty profiles, connections to over 500 business schools, and a network spanning 40 countries, we have the resources you need to lead your company to success through education.