Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Pathways in the Development of Entrepreneurial Intent: Exploring the Roles of Prior Experience, Sex and Family Business

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Pathways in the Development of Entrepreneurial Intent: Exploring the Roles of Prior Experience, Sex and Family Business

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Given the intentional nature of entrepreneurial activity, intentions-based models that emphasize the critical volitional role of the entrepreneur provide a credible framework for unraveling the entrepreneurial process. Moreover, the practical application of intentions-based research is immense, offering the promise of insights into the construction of learning experiences and training programs capable of fostering successful new venture creation. However, the nature of the 'pathways ' to intent remains less than fully developed. The research presented here explores relationships between prior start-up experience, family business background, gender, current perceptions of the environment and oneself, and the development of entrepreneurial intent, from a temporal perspective. Our results suggest that whereas the current perceived entrepreneurial environment appears to marginally increase the intent of starting a business in the immediate future, previous start-up experience predicts both immediate and long-term entrepreneurial intentions.

Keywords:

Entrepreneurial intent, family business background, start-up experience

INTRODUCTION

Owing to its noted potential as an important source of "fuel" for entrepreneurial action, researchers have increasingly focused on the role intentionality plays in the entrepreneurial process (Krueger Jr. & Kickul, 2006). Intentions-based models emphasize the critical volitional role of the entrepreneur and the ensuing entrepreneurial process as one with distinctive cognitive intent and purpose (Carland & Carland, 2000). To wit, in the past decade, a vast array of studies have successfully identified a number of antecedents associated with entrepreneurial intentions, including: age and gender (Stein & Nurul, 2004), self- efficacy (Boyd & Vozikis, 1994; Drnovsek & Glas, 2002), education (Dilts & Fowler, 1999; Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004; Peterman & Kennedy, 2003) and prior entrepreneurial exposure (Krueger Jr., 1993). The practical implications for intentions-based research is immense, creating opportunities for educators to construct learning environments that give rise to new venture creation, guidance for local business communities to nurture "nutrient-rich" resilient economies (Shapero, 1981; Krueger & Brazeal, 1994) and sage advice to executives seeking corporate renewal and innovation. Indeed, understanding entrepreneurship as a learnable, accessible, and intentional activity offers the promise of enhancing individuals' entrepreneurial potential, including bona fide career paths and economy-sustaining job creation for students and business communities.

Although diligent research has enhanced our understanding of contributing factors to entrepreneurial intent, one overriding implicit assumption is that such factors play an equally influential role across all individuals. Another is the idea that intentionality is equally potent across time, i.e. an individual's intention remains constant between the learning opportunities and the opportunity to act (Kuehn, 2008). This is unfortunate because potential entrepreneurs, as students or professionals, may be differentially influenced by a host of precipitating factors, especially with regards to practical concerns such as educational programs, training and curriculum. Even more compelling is the notion that while learning and training experiences prepare the mind for a future entrepreneurial event (Dilts & Fowler, 1999; Krueger, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000), entrepreneurial discovery and exploitation frequently occur after some period of elapsed time (Shane, 2000). This is true because opportunity recognition materializes in response to the assimilation of new data over time and its perceived "fit" with entrepreneurial knowledge, prior experience and training. Studies examining entrepreneurial intentions as a temporal concept are relatively rare (Reitan, 1997). In totum, the current entrepreneurial intentions models fail to sufficiently address the possibility that the 'pathways' in which entrepreneurial intentions develop may reflect important sources of variation (Krueger Jr. …

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