From Entrepreneurial Intentions to Entrepreneurial Behavior: The Role of Institutional Factors

From Entrepreneurial Intentions to Entrepreneurial Behavior: The Role of Institutional Factors

Sebastian Aparicio (Durham University, UK), Andreu Turro (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain), Maria Noguera (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain) and David Urbano (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5036-6.ch007
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Although there is abundant literature on entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial behavior, there is still a lacuna on those factors enabling the pass from intention to action. Motivated by this gap, this study assesses the extent to which the determinants of entrepreneurial intention also have an effect on subsequent entrepreneurial behavior, using an institutional approach as a theoretical framework. With a sample of 2,491 university students from Catalonia (Spanish) through the simultaneous equations, the main findings show that institutions such as opportunity identification, business skills, and entrepreneurs' status encourage students to think of entrepreneurship as a good career choice, which subsequently explains entrepreneurial actions. Theoretical, policy, and practical implications are discussed based on these findings.
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Entrepreneurship is considered to play a key role in economic growth, innovation, and employment (Urbano & Aparicio, 2016; Wennekers, van Stel, Thurik, & Reynolds, 2005). Such a role is conditioned by different external or environmental factors that encompass policies, regulations, and culture (Bjørnskov & Foss, 2016; Urbano, Aparicio, & Audretsch, 2019). Therefore, in the last three decades, some researchers have focused on studying the factors that might have an influence on the development of entrepreneurial activity (Ireland, Hitt, & Simon, 2003). This implies that entrepreneurship is seen as a process and not as an event (Shane, 2012). From this viewpoint, a significant amount of research has addressed the concept of entrepreneurial intentions (Kautonen, van Gelderen, & Fink, 2015), which are seen as a necessary precursor to performing entrepreneurial behaviors (Liñán & Chen, 2009).

Previous research has shown that situational and personality factors do not predict entrepreneurial activity consistently (Krueger, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000); hence, the entrepreneurial intention approach has been used. In this regard, since the early 1990s, the number of studies that have applied intention models to explain the decision to start a new business has increased significantly (Liñán & Fayolle, 2015). The underlying idea in these studies is that it is better to predict any planned behavior by observing intentions towards that behavior than to focus on attitudes, beliefs, or demographic measures (Krueger et al., 2000). Overall, intentions have been considered extensively to be the single best predictor of behavior (Ajzen, 1991, 2001; Fishbein, & Ajzen, 1975).

Despite this extensive literature, there are some relevant research gaps. First, very few articles have analyzed the complete “antecedents–entrepreneurial intentions–entrepreneurial action” process empirically. Most researchers have studied this sequence partially (for an exception, see Kautonen et al., 2015). On the one hand, previous studies have examined the role of a wide variety of determinants in entrepreneurial intentions (Verheul et al., 2015). These studies have used different theoretical frameworks and models to explain entrepreneurial intentions, but no specific work has combined different models into a single one (Fayolle & Liñán, 2014). In this regard, Schlaegel and Koenig (2014, pp. 291) pointed out “there has been growing concern about the sometimes inconclusive empirical findings of the relationship between entrepreneurial intention and its determinants.”

Second, the study of the intention–behavior link has emerged recently (Gielnik et al., 2014; Goethner, Obschonka, Silbereisen, & Cantner, 2012). The findings have agreed that intentions are a predictor of subsequent action; however, the extent to which intentions can explain a variation in behavior is not clear (Kibler, Kautonen, & Fink, 2014; Van Gelderen, Kautonen, & Fink, 2015). For instance, while Ajzen et al. (2009) found an intention–behavior correlation of 0.90 to 0.96, other authors have reported a less intense relation: Armitage and Conner (2001) found a correlation of 0.47, and Kautonen et al. (2013, 2015) showed that the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) accounts for only 31–39% of the variation in startup behavior. Overall, the literature reviews focusing on the entrepreneurial intention area have agreed that most challenges lie in this specific intention–behavior stream of research (Fayolle & Liñán, 2014; Liñán & Fayolle, 2015; Shook, Priem, & McGee, 2003).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions Theory: It is a framework defined to understand cultural differences and attitudes on business across countries.

Propensity to Act: It defines how individuals are willing to explore and carry out entrepreneurial opportunities.

Perceived Desirability: It denotes the extent to which individuals consider an option to become entrepreneurs.

Binomial Logit Regression: Econometric technique focused on estimating the probability of an event happening by assuming a logistic distribution of the sample.

Embeddedness: It is the dependence of a phenomenon on its environment.

CMP: Acronym of conditional mixed process, it consists of a statistical technique used jointly with simultaneous equation systems and defined by having two advantages: a recursive multi-stage estimation within a simultaneous equation system and a comprehensive observation of the endogenous variables.

Entrepreneurial Opportunity: This situation occurs when new products, services, and organizational methods can be launched into the market to create value.

Perceived Feasibility: It refers to how individuals consider they have the skills and capacities to become entrepreneurs.

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