Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Effects of Personality Traits on Entrepreneurial Intentions: An Empirical Study in Iran

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

Effects of Personality Traits on Entrepreneurial Intentions: An Empirical Study in Iran

Article excerpt

The relationship between students' personality styles and their intentions to become an entrepreneur after completing a course in entrepreneurship education were examined among a random sample of undergraduate students (n = 280) in Razi University, Iran. A back-translated version of the Entrepreneurial Intention Scale (Linan & Chen, 2008) was used to measure students' intentions to starting their own business venture. The Myers Briggs Type Indicator Form G (Mayers, 1977) was used to measure students' personality style. The instrument was back-translated into the Persian language and minor adjustments were made. Results indicated that the majority of the students were scored as either ENTJ, ISTJ, ESFJ, or ESTP on the Myer Briggs Type Indicator. The students in this study had a moderate intention for a new business start-up. The researchers found that students with Extraversion and Sensing personality types had higher levels of entrepreneurial intentions than students with Introversion and Intuitive styles. The results have implications for higher education in that entrepreneurs hip educators should not adopt a "one style fits all" approach in the classroom.

Introduction

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in entrepreneurship education because of its relationship with regional economic development through new ventures and job creation. Thus, colleges and universities have been challenged to establish Centers for Entrepreneurship. The Centers for Entrepreneurship offers academic training at both undergraduate and graduate level to support students along the continuum of thinking and behaving entrepreneur! ally. The Centers' goals may vary, but they hold a premise that entrepreneurship education is not just about teaching someone to run a business. It is also about encouraging creative thinking, enhancing levels of innovation, and promoting a strong sense of self -worth and accountability (Heinonen, Kovalainen, & Pukkinen, 2006).

According to Alvarez and Busenitz (2004), if universities do not promote entrepreneurship education, it should then be expected that students would be less likely to pursue efforts towards starting a new venture. Therefore, universities aware of the importance of developing entrepreneurial potential (Vyakarnam, 2005) and competencies (Kirby, 2005; Gibb, 2006), are focusing on how to equip students with entrepreneurial skills and creating an awareness that there is an alternative way of employment (Galloway, Anderson, Brown, & Wilson, 2005), which may not be for everyone, but may use the skills as an employee (Vrj, 2004) through the provision of transferability of skills (Vyakarnam, 2005; Galloway et al., 2005; Gibb, 2006).

It is commonly assumed that the personal characteristics (Alvarez & Busenitz, 2004) and skills of the entrepreneur can be developed through education (Galloway et al., 2005). Indeed, some studies have suggested that entrepreneurial behavior can be stimulated through formal education programs. Research (Galloway et al., 2005; Rasheed, 2003) has also shown that education can stimulate the development of entrepreneurial behavior m different ways.

Moreover, Vij (2004) claimed that formal education about self-employment careers at universities facilitated the process of business creation, because it helped to raise students' awareness of the viability of self-employment as a professional option. In fact, studies (Kourilsky & Walstad, 1 998) have shown how such education increases positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship as an alternative professional career. In a similar line, Gibb (2006) argued that education for self-employment puts students in contact with role models (such as successful entrepreneurs) that make entrepreneurship more attractive as a professional career.

Of course, definitions of what the terms "entrepreneurship" and "entrepreneurial" mean also vary among scholars and practitioners. Nevertheless, in the Centers for Entrepreneurialship, entrepreneurship is generally seen as an attractive career choice that also affords the opportunity to contribute to society through the introduction of innovative new products, services, and technological processes. …

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