Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Chicken or Egg: Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and Entrepreneurial Intentions Revisited

Academic journal article Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship

Chicken or Egg: Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy and Entrepreneurial Intentions Revisited

Article excerpt


While entrepreneurship education and associated programs have grown exponentially over the past four decades (Katz, 2003; Kuratko, 2005; Solomon, 2007), there seems to be little evidence on its impact on students' actual success (Griffiths, Kickul, Bacq, & Terjesen, 2012; Rideout & Gray, 2013). The problem of gaining a better understanding of student learning is partially rooted in the methodological diversity and scale of academic programs. Entrepreneurship education may be limited to a single course, but it may also transcend every aspect of a student's college experience. In addition, entrepreneurship education reaches beyond the academic structure that scaffolds entrepreneurship curriculum and degree programs by also including (but not limited to) cocurricular offerings, immersive programs, business plan competitions, networking opportunities, or entrepreneurial internships (Kauffman, 2013).

Research on the impact of entrepreneurship education is diverse in nature and often ignores (or lacks) the most desired dependent variable, namely, the actual launch of a business. The reason is based on the fact that most entrepreneurship students do not necessarily start a business during school, college or immediately thereafter (Lang, Marram, Jawahar, Yong, & Bygrave, 2011; Peterman & Kennedy, 2003). For instance, Lang et al. (2011) demonstrated that taking two or more core elective entrepreneurship courses had a significantly positive influence on starting a business after graduation.

The actual event of starting a business is mostly delayed and therefore difficult to capture without longitudinal research frameworks. As a result, intention models (Bird, 1992; Boyd & Vozikis, 1994; Shapero & Sokol, 1982) emerged in order to gain a better understanding of antecedent processes, since intentions are the single best predictors of planned behavior (Bagozzi, Baumgartner, & Yi, 1989), and are important mediating variables that help explain the relationship between the venture creation process by the entrepreneur and external factors that may impact on that process.

One of the early theoretical frameworks employed within this context is Ajzen's (1991, 2002) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) which offers an explanation into behavior that is not always immediate or is difficult to observe (Krueger, Reilly, & Carsrud, 2000). To date, research has established a good understanding of antecedents and the moderating boundaries of contextual influences as mediators on entrepreneurial intentions in a pre-volitional stage (Schlaegel & Koenig, 2014).

The same applies to research on the relationship between entrepreneurship education and associated entrepreneurial intentions. Most recently, Bae, Qian, Miao, and Fiet (2014) meta-analytically found a small, yet significant, relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intentions. The effect, however, was not significant when accounting for preintervention entrepreneurial intentions. Moreover, there is little evidence of the impact of entrepreneurship education in higher education on the theorized link between intention based models and actual entrepreneurial actions (Rideout & Gray, 2013).

More prominently, social cognitive models (Bandura, 1986, 2001) and associated constructs have gained popularity among the research community in order to explain entrepreneurship as a learning process (Cope, 2005). Central to entrepreneurial learning within a social cognitive framework are self-efficacy beliefs, which are a person's perceived ability to perform a particular task at designated levels (Bandura, 1986, 1997). While research has found a mediating relationship of entrepreneurial self-efficacy on entrepreneurial intentions (Boyd & Vozikis, 1994; Zhao, Seibert, & Hills, 2005), research has not considered the innate properties of self-efficacy as a dynamic measure, where self-efficacy beliefs may change based on self-regulatory feedback loops during subsequent performance (Bandura, 2001, 2012; Zimmerman, 2001). …

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