Factors affecting entrepreneurial...
Factors affecting entrepreneurial intention levels: a role for education Francisco Li����n & Juan Carlos Rodr��guez-Cohard & Jos�� M. Rueda-Cantuche Published online: 30 March 2010 # Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010 Abstract A considerable agreement exists about the importance of promoting entrepreneurship to stimulate economic development and employment generation. In particular, entrepreneurship education has been considered one of the key instru- ments to increase the entrepreneurial attitudes of both potential and nascent entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, the factors that determine the individual���s decision to start a venture are still not completely clear. Cognitive approaches have attracted considerable interest recently. But the explaining capacity of personality traits or demographic characteristics is still considered. Therefore, there is a need to clarify which elements play the most influential role in shaping the personal decision to start a firm. This paper tries to contribute to filling this gap by providing empirically- based suggestions for the design of improved entrepreneurship education initiatives. The empirical analysis is based on two essential elements: firstly, an already validated instrument (EIQ) secondly, a statistical method (factor-regression procedure) which is not dependent on any theoretical approach. It uses all the information collected through the questionnaire items, selecting them solely based on their capacity to explain the dependent variable. Results will allow the design of more effective education initiatives. They suggest that personal attitude and perceived behavioural control are the most relevant factors explaining entrepreneur- Int Entrep Manag J (2011) 7:195���218 DOI 10.1007/s11365-010-0154-z F. Li����n (*) Department of Applied Economics, University of Seville, Av. Ramon y Cajal, 1, 41018 Sevilla, Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org J. C. Rodr��guez-Cohard Department of Economics, University of Ja��n, Ja��n, Spain e-mail: email@example.com J. M. Rueda-Cantuche European Commission - Joint Research Centre, IPTS - Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Seville, Spain e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org J. M. Rueda-Cantuche Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain
ial intentions. Thus, based on these results, a number of considerations about the most effective role of education in promoting and developing attitudes and intentions towards entrepreneurship are considered. Besides, the EIQ could be used as an evaluation instrument for entrepreneurial education programmes. Keywords Entrepreneurship . Entrepreneurial intention . Entrepreneurial intention questionnaire . Entrepreneurial education Introduction A relevant role is generally assigned nowadays to entrepreneurship in promoting economic activity (European Commission 2003). Territories with higher increases on entrepreneurial initiative indexes tend to show a greater fall in unemployment levels (Audretsch 2002). However, the entrepreneurial resource is scarce. In 2001, less than 10% of the OECD adult population was starting a new venture (Nolan 2003). Therefore, a considerable agreement exists about the importance of promoting entrepreneurship to stimulate economic development and employment generation (Mitra 2008). In particular, the role of entrepreneurship education has been called for as one of the key instruments to increase the entrepreneurial attitudes of people (Potter 2008). Thus, educational initiatives have been considered as highly promising to increase the supply of potential entrepreneurs (that is to say, making more people aware and interested on this career option) and of nascent entrepreneurs (making more people try to start a new venture). However, there is a lack of agreement on the variables that determine the individual���s decision to start a venture. Cognitive approaches have attracted considerable interest recently (Baron 2004 Krueger 2003). Among them, much attention has been paid to the entrepreneurial intention (Autio et al. 2001 Kolvereid 1996). But the explaining capacity of personality traits or demographic character- istics is still considered (Mazzarol et al. 1999 Rauch and Frese 2007 Wagner and Sternberg 2004). Therefore, there is a need to clarify which elements play the most influential role in shaping the personal decision to start a firm. This would allow the design of more effective education initiatives. In this sense, the present research tries to contribute to filling this gap by providing empirically-based suggestions for the design of improved entrepreneur- ship education initiatives. Thus, the empirical analysis is based on two essential elements: ��� Firstly, a questionnaire has been built that integrates together a wide set of variables considered by different research threads as explaining entrepreneurial intention and behaviour. ��� Secondly, the statistical method used (factor-regression procedure) has the advantage of not being dependent on any theoretical approach. That is, it uses all the information collected through the questionnaire items, grouping them in homogeneous factors and finally, selecting them solely based on their capacity to explain the dependent variable. 196 Int Entrep Manag J (2011) 7:195���218
Thus, the main and novel contribution of this paper is helping determine, through an empirical data-based analysis, which variables are preponderant in determining the entrepreneurial intention and, starting from that, proposing the contents and pedagogies that may enhance these elements more effectively. We use entrepreneurial intention as the dependent variable, since intention is considered the single best predictor of behaviour (Ajzen 1991). The question- naire used has been developed and validated previously by Li����n and Chen (2009). In this paper, we test it on a representative sample of final-year university students. Results suggest that personal attitude and perceived behavioural control are the two most relevant factors explaining the entrepreneurial intention. Thus, based on these results, a number of considerations about the most effective role of education in promoting and developing attitudes and intentions towards entrepreneurship are considered. This paper has been structured in seven parts. After this introduction, the second section presents the relevant theory considered in the study. The third section describes the empirical analysis carried out. The fourth part presents the results obtained. After that, section five considers the role of entrepreneurial education and the implications derived from the analysis. Finally, the paper ends with a discussion and a conclusion sections. Entrepreneurial intention model In this section, we focus on the decision to become an entrepreneur. In this respect, methodologies used have been changing over the years (Gartner 1985, 1989 Rauch and Frese 2007). Initially, authors looked for the existence of certain personality traits that could be associated with the entrepreneurial activity, such as need for achievement (McClelland 1961). Later on, other works have analysed the importance of different characteristics such as age, gender, origin, religion, level of studies, labour experience, etc. (Reynolds et al. 1994 Storey 1994), which are usually called ���demographic��� variables (Robinson et al. 1991). Both lines of analysis have allowed the identification of significant relationships among certain traits or demographic characteristics of the individual, and the fulfilment of entrepreneurial behaviours. However, the predictive capacity has been very limited (Reynolds 1997). On the theoretical side, many authors have criticized those approaches (Ajzen 1991 Gartner 1989 Santos and Li����n 2007 Shapero and Sokol 1982 Veciana et al. 2005), so much for their methodological and conceptual limitations as for their low explanatory capacity. Gartner (1985) argued that entrepreneurs constitute a highly heterogeneous group of people that defies a common definition and, therefore, common predictors in other words, an ���average entrepreneur��� does not exist and, therefore, an average personality profile of entrepreneurs cannot be determined. However, Rauch and Frese (2007) suggest that some specific traits may be linked to certain entrepreneurial tasks. From a third perspective, since the decision to become an entrepreneur may be plausibly considered as voluntary and conscious (Krueger et al. 2000), it seems Int Entrep Manag J (2011) 7:195���218 197 197