Explaining Entrepreneurial Intention among Agricultural Students: Effects of Entrepreneurial Self-efficacy and College Entrepreneurial Orientation
Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Hashemi,
Seyed Mahmood Hosseini
The importance of entrepreneurship to economic and social development is widely debated and acknowledged. Corporate employment has been faced by growing unemployment and disenchantment in the most developing countries such as Iran country, therefore more policy makers and scholars are turning to entrepreneurship and self employment as a solution to student unemployment. Entrepreneurial orientation of higher education institutions has the potential to change motivations, attitudes and focus not only in a students capabilities but also in career orientation. Colleges therefore provide a window of opportunity for students to perceive entrepreneurial activities more feasible and desirable. This study aimed at explaining the entrepreneurial intention among agricultural students with the antecedents of entrepreneurial self efficacy and college entrepreneurial orientation. Statistical sample (n = 144) included agricultural students of Ahvaz University from Iran country which were selected with using random sampling method. Results of zero order Pearson correlation analysis showed positive and significance relationships between Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) (r = 0.53, p<0.01) and College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) (r = 0.25, p<0.01) antecedents with entrepreneurial intention among agricultural students. Also, results of structural equation modeling indicated that, Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) had more contribution on explaining Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) than College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) among agricultural students (β = 0.40, p<0.001). Finally, it is recommended that the inextricable link between innovative learning environment and upgrading self efficacy beliefs in the six main components, should be strengthened through regular educational and administrative policy makings to foster entrepreneurial self efficacy and spirit among university graduates.
to cite this article:
Seyyed Mohammad Kazem Hashemi, Seyed Mahmood Hosseini and Ahmad Rezvanfar, 2012. Explaining Entrepreneurial Intention among Agricultural Students: Effects of Entrepreneurial Self-efficacy and College Entrepreneurial Orientation. Research Journal of Business Management, 6: 94-102.
November 05, 2011; Accepted: December 19, 2011;
Published: February 11, 2012
Today, entrepreneurial concepts and behaviors converted to the global agenda
for facilitating economic growth and increasing National Gross Product in (NGP)
the most countries. According to Timmons (1999), the contribution
of entrepreneurship to economic development of countries, will be assessed by
creating employment activities, innovation and creativity. Generally, the importance
of entrepreneurship to economic and social development is widely debated and
acknowledged. Research has long shown that upgrading entrepreneurial activities
results in economic prosperity in the most developing countries. During the
last century, most developing countries, including Iran country have been faced
by unbalanced growth of population, lack of economic improvement, government
polices aimed at downsizing the structure, increasing graduates and the inability
of private sector to create targeted job market for different graduates. All
these conditions leads to turning toward entrepreneurship especially entrepreneurship
education in higher education institutions. Through proper training methods,
universities can train students for developing business units and increasing
self employment opportunities. In this regard, colleges and universities can
work as facilitator factors (Ibicioglu et al., 2008).
Higher education institutions can support their graduates to cope with these
changes, through introduction of entrepreneurship research and educational programs
(Wallace and Nilsson, 1997). However, effective measures
for supporting entrepreneurship education have been taken in the Iran country
but it seems that with the importance of the issue, the measures taken are not
sufficient and leads to different problems and challenges at least for the next
decade. Also, the graduates of universities are seeking employment opportunities
in the government positions rather than participating in the entrepreneurial
activities. In other words, there is the gap between the expectations of government
about student's performance with the actual level of student's involvement in
entrepreneurial activities. Behavior and decision making of students for participating
in the entrepreneurial activities can be addressed by their entrepreneurial
intentions. The importance of entrepreneurial intentions as predictors of planned
behavior (such as establishing business ventures) have been emphasized in the
recent years (Krueger et al., 2000). Bagozzi
et al. (1989) emphasized on the role of entrepreneurial intentions
as the best predictors of planned behavior patterns. Also, intention provide
the main conduit to better understand of behavior (Ajzen,
1991). In other words, intention as the dependent variable of motivational
factors such as desirability and feasibility factors, influence the entrepreneurial
behavior. In a meta analysis by Kim and Hunter (1993),
results showed that attitudes successfully predict intentions and intentions
successfully predict behavior. With reviewing entrepreneurial literature, one
can observe that the prediction of the entrepreneurial intention and behavior
through single modeling of personality or demography characteristics resulted
in low explanatory power on analyzing the outcomes of entrepreneurial intention
models. For example, Krueger et al. (2000) stressed
that intentions predict the entrepreneurial process better than personality
and situational factors and strong intention to start an entrepreneurial business
lead to the ultimate attempt, even if the present conditions delay or interrupting
the process. Based on the review of related literature about factors affecting
the entrepreneurial process, creating and maintaining an entrepreneurial activity
is the function of the combined effects of individual factors, such as competence
and motivation of the entrepreneur and situational factors, such as entrepreneurial
environment. Although, situational and contextual factors have a significant
effect on entrepreneurial activity but the entrepreneurship event is made up
of individuals. Therefore, individual differences are considered indispensable
elements on explaining entrepreneurial intention and behavior in the entrepreneurship
studies. For example, individual difference factors, include past work experience,
need to achievement, locus of control, and high social skills (Luthans
and Ibrayeva, 2006). However, studies examined the characteristics of entrepreneurs
have not developed a coherent and objective results. Therefore, factors such
as decision making based on intention, work activities and evaluate the situation
logically, should be further investigated. One of the most important constructs
in connection with decision making based on intention is entrepreneurial self
efficacy (ESE) (Chen et al., 1998). Self efficacy
is the focal point of social learning theory that lead to explain individual
behavior through mutual relationships among the personal characteristics and
environmental and behavioral factors (Chen et al.,
1998). Self efficacy belief construct suggested the first time by Bandura
(1977), to explain human behavior and defined as the individual belief about
her/his ability to organize and implement the operational units to achieve specific
objectives. Self efficacy factor include both the an individual belief about
own competency and believe that the successful measures result in specific outcomes
(Bandura, 1977; Tsang, 2001).
Among the personal and environmental factors, self efficacy factor is an important
antecedent of entrepreneurial intentions, because it is effective on career
selection and development (Chen et al., 1998).
However, few studies have examined the relationship between self efficacy factor
and entrepreneurial intention. According to study of Krueger
et al. (2000) perceived self efficacy has a significant effect on
entrepreneurial feasibility and lead to entrepreneurial intention. Because perceived
feasibility increase self efficacy, individual self efficacy beliefs concerning
the implementation of the necessary activities toward entrepreneurship, positively
affect the entrepreneurial intention. Based on the previous research, entrepreneurial
self efficacy belief lead to increased intention of establishing new business.
For example, results of Chen et al. (1998), among
140 graduate students showed a positive and significant relationship between
entrepreneurial self efficacy perception included entrepreneurial skills of
marketing, innovation, management, financial control and risk propensity with
entrepreneurial intention. Similarly, another study showed that self-evaluation
(self efficacy) ability has direct effects on creating entrepreneurial business
(Chandler and Hanks, 1994). De Noble
et al. (1999), among 272 students found that the positive and significance
relationship between entrepreneurial self efficacy perceptions included risk
management, innovation and product improvement, interpersonal and network management,
opportunity recognition, developing and maintaining the innovative business
environment with entrepreneurial intention. The influence of academic environments
such as college entrepreneurial orientation on career choice has generally ignored
(Kaufman and Feldman, 2004). Participation level of
students and opportunity to involvement in entrepreneurial activities is determined
by characteristics of their educational institution (Lent
et al., 2000). Moreover, educational institution orientation is effective
on career interests, intentions, choices and action (Porter,
2006). Entrepreneurial orientation of one institution such as academic institution
made up three factors of innovativeness, proactiveness and risk taking. Risk
taking factor of one educational institution associated with the desire to applying
new activities and probably unfamiliar areas (about educational goals, methods
and so forth), (Covin and Slevin, 1991). Innovativeness
factor of educational institution is related to creating ideas, services and
new methods of teaching and learning. Proactiveness aspect of one institution
emphasis on prediction and taking preventive and innovative measures for future
educational activities (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996). In
fact, supportive environment of one educational institution increase students
self efficacy perceptions and their participation in entrepreneurial activities.
Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to explore the effects of entrepreneurial
self efficacy and college entrepreneurial orientation on forming entrepreneurial
intention among agricultural students. Conceptual framework of this study, presented
in the Fig. 1.
|| Conceptual framework of study
MATERIALS AND METHODS
In this study, a cross-sectional survey design used with applying questionnaire
as the main research instrument. Analysis unit of this study consisted of students
of agriculture and natural resources university of Ahvaz in the first semester
of 2010-2011. Statistical sample based on the Morgan table, included 144 agricultural
students in the field of agricultural extension and education from the statistical
population of 240 which were selected by applying random sampling method. Agricultural
extension and education students, because of conceptual and practical proximity
to the principles of entrepreneurial activities were selected. In this study
the structured questionnaire used to gather required data. Based on the descriptive
results, from one hundred and forty four (144) students, 40 (27/7%) were male
students and 104 (72/3%) were female students. For analyzing data, zero-order
Pearson correlation analysis and a two-step Structural Equation Modeling (SEM)
procedure was employed to establish construct validity and test the relationships
of Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) and College Entrepreneurial Orientation
(CEO) with Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) among agricultural students. SEM is
an a priori technique, meaning that the researcher must specify a model in order
to conduct the analysis (Kline, 2005). In SEM parameters
are estimated by minimizing the difference between the observed covariances
and those implied by the model. In the present study, LISREL software was used
to test the relationships of Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) and College
Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) with Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) among
agricultural students. The estimation method employed was Maximum Likelihood
(ML). A total of 130 questionnaire were answered. Therefore, 130 questionnaires
were considered for statistical analysis (Response rate: 93/7%). Generally,
self efficacy perception is defined as the belief about the ability of implementing
entrepreneurial activities in connection with the evaluation of managerial,
functional and technical capabilities. To assessing the ESE, two different scales
in the preceding entrepreneurship studies have been developed. First scale developed
by Chen et al. (1998), measure the marketing,
innovation, management, risk taking and financial control skills. The second
scale, after discussion with the entrepreneurs, developed by De
Noble et al. (1999) and included 35 items. This scale measure the
six main components of ESE construct. These dimensions are as follow: ESE1-Skills
related to opportunity recognition, ESE2- Building an innovative
environment, ESE3- Mission and vision creation, ESE4-
Skills to cope with risky situations, ESE5- Skills to employ and
develop human resources and ESE6-Skills related with obtaining funds.
This scale because of positive results of confirmatory factor analysis and its
frequent use in the previous research used in this study to measure ESE construct.
For example, in the study of De Noble et al. (1999),
the all components of this construct confirmed by factor analysis. Items were
measured on the Five-point Likert type scale (From 1, strongly disagree to 5,
strongly agree). Entrepreneurial intentions of students were measured by using
three statements as follow: EI1- Immediately after graduation, I
will create a business, EI2- Sometimes I think, I have a business
in the future and EI3- I will create business if I fail to obtain
the governmental job (corporate employment). These three items obtained after
reviewing the entrepreneurial intention literature on students, to measure agricultural
students' intention in the short term (after graduation) and long term (in the
future) and also assessing their desire to move about corporate employment.
For measuring College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO), with taking into account
the components of innovativeness, proactiveness and risk taking, four items
were used. These items were: CEO1-My college keeps it's competition
with other higher education institutions, CEO2-In my college, many
changes have been taken over the syllabuses and structured activities in the
past years, CEO3-In my college, new training methods and new curricula
topics are encouraged and CEO4-My college provides entrepreneurship
education programs. For determining the reliability of constructs, Cronbachs
alpha used. The results of reliability test showed in the Table
To analyzing the relationships between Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE), College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) and Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) among agricultural students, the zero-order Pearson correlation analysis was used. Results of correlation analysis for inter-correlations among all variables of study showed in the Table 2. According to results of Table 1, there is positive and significant relationship between variables of corporate employment and seeking entrepreneurial careers in the future among agricultural students (r = 0.810, p<0.01). As showed in the Table 1, variables of corporate employment and seeking entrepreneurial careers in the future have not significant relationships with seeking entrepreneurial careers after graduation among agricultural students.
According to results of Table 2, entrepreneurial intention has positive and significant relationships with entrepreneurial self efficacy (r = 0.53, p<0.01) and college entrepreneurial orientation (r = 0.25, p<0.01) among agricultural students. However, the correlation between entrepreneurial intention and entrepreneurial self efficacy was more than college entrepreneurial orientation among agricultural students. Also, it should be noted that college entrepreneurial orientation have positive and significant relationship with entrepreneurial self efficacy (r = 0.23, p<0.01) among agricultural students. In order to test whether Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE), College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) and Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) constructs differed by gender among agricultural students, we conducted independent t-test with gender as the independent variable and constructs of EI, ESE and CEO as the dependent variables. Results revealed not significant difference between genders on three constructs. However, males reported higher scores on EI (mean = 11.21) than females (mean = 10.55). Also, males had higher scores on CEO (mean = 8.40) than females (mean = 8.11) and reported higher scores on ESE (mean = 14.92) than females (mean = 14.70).
|| Mean, standard deviation and inter-correlation of variables
of EI construct
|**: Significant at p<0.01
|| Mean, standard deviation and inter-correlation of constructs
of EI, CEO and ESE
|**: Significant at p<0.01
|| Results of CFA for measurement model
The two-step procedure of structural equation modeling proposed by Anderson
and Gerbing (1988), was used to test model and hypothesis. For testing construct
validity and the dimensionality of the independent and dependent variables,
Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used. Table 3 describes
the result of confirmatory factor analysis conducted on all constructs. As shown,
the Cronbachs alpha value derived for all constructs were all above the
recommended value (0.7). The CFA results for overall model Fit were: χ2
= 189.31, p = 0.00, χ2/df = 2.49; CFI = 0.990; NFI = 0.938,
IFI = 0.990; RMSEA = 0.030. These indices were acceptable (Bollen,
1989). Substantial and significant factor loadings provide evidence of convergent
validity (Steenkamp and van Trijp, 1991), with the threshold
value of >.30. As shown in Table 3, all of the items loadings
were significant and well above the acceptable cut-off-point, signifying the
convergent validity of the study variables.
After confirmatory factor analysis, the model was tested using the Structural
Equation Modeling (SEM) procedure. The central point in analyzing structural
models is the extent to which the hypothesized model fits or adequately describes
the sample data (Byrne, 2001). The results for the structural
model were χ2 = 219.7, p = 0.386, χ2/df = 2.89,
NFI = 0.919, CFI = 0.980, IFI = 0.981, RMSEA= 0.037. The overall model Fit was
good. An analysis of the data using the structural equation modeling procedure,
showed significant effects of Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) (β =
0.40, p<0.001) and college entrepreneurial orientation (CEO) (β = 0.25,
p<0.001) on entrepreneurial intention (EI) among agricultural students. The
two independent variables account for 34% of the entrepreneurial intention variance
among agricultural students.
Results of this study, indicated that most agricultural students were agreed
to the statements of I will create business if I fail to obtain the governmental
job (corporate employment) and Sometimes I think, I have a business in
the future. Therefore, it can be implied that, there are psychological
and practical barriers for agricultural students to start one business immediately
after graduation as the results of correlation analysis indicated that the variables
of corporate employment and seeking entrepreneurial careers in the future have
not significantly correlated with the seeking entrepreneurial careers after
graduation among agricultural students (Table 1). Also, entrepreneurial
intention correlated significantly with entrepreneurial self efficacy more than
college entrepreneurial orientation among agricultural students (r = 0.53, p<0.01).
However, few studies investigated the relationship between entrepreneurial self
efficacy and entrepreneurial intention among students but positive and significance
relationship of entrepreneurial self efficacy with entrepreneurial intention
among agricultural students in this study is consistent with the results of
Chandler and Hanks (1994), Chen
et al. (1998), De Noble et al. (1999)
and Krueger et al. (2000). According to Porter
(2006), educational institution orientation affects the career interests,
intentions, choices and actions among students. Also, based on the three components
of academic entrepreneurial orientation (innovativeness, proactiveness and risk
taking), one educational institution associated with the desire to applying
new activities and probably unfamiliar areas , new methods of teaching and learning
and taking preventive and innovative measures for future educational activities.
In fact, college entrepreneurial orientation has positive and direct effects
on students entrepreneurial self efficacy and their attitudes towards
entrepreneurship. Results of Table 2, indicated that college
entrepreneurial orientation has positive and significant relationship with entrepreneurial
self efficacy among agricultural students (r = 0.23, p<0.01). Interestingly,
results of independent t-test, revealed not significant difference between gender
on the three constructs of Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE), College Entrepreneurial
Orientation (CEO) and Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) among agricultural students.
This result can be translated in to the declining difference of genders on the
entrepreneurial intentions and increase in the their perceived ability levels
on six dimension of entrepreneurial self efficacy. Results of the structural
equation modeling procedure, showed significant effects of Entrepreneurial Self
Efficacy (ESE) and College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) on Entrepreneurial
Intention (EI) among agricultural students. However, entrepreneurial self efficacy
(ESE) had more contribution on explaining entrepreneurial intention (EI) than
college entrepreneurial orientation (CEO) among agricultural students (β
= .40, p<0.001). Entrepreneurial orientation of one higher education institution
has the potential to change motivations, attitudes and focus not only in a students
capabilities but also in career orientation. Therefore, Colleges should provide
a window of opportunity for students to perceive entrepreneurial activities
more feasible and desirable.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
In this study, the effects of Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy (ESE) and College
Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) antecedents on explaining Entrepreneurial
Intention (EI) among agricultural students were investigated. Results indicated
that, there are psychological and practical barriers to start one business immediately
after graduation among agricultural students. Results of correlation analysis
and structural equation modeling procedure showed entrepreneurial intention
has more correlation with entrepreneurial self efficacy than college entrepreneurial
orientation among agricultural students and college entrepreneurial orientation
has positive and significant relationship with entrepreneurial self efficacy
among agricultural students (r = 0.23, p<0.01). Also, results of confirmatory
factor analysis (CFA, Table 3), showed that statement" CEO1-My
college keeps it's competition with other higher education institutions, as
the proactiveness and innovativeness component of academic entrepreneurial orientation,
gained lowest standardized factor loading among four variables of measuring
College Entrepreneurial Orientation (CEO) among agricultural students. Therefore,
it is recommended that because college entrepreneurial orientation has positive
and direct effect on students entrepreneurial self efficacy and their attitudes
towards entrepreneurship, colleges should provide a window of opportunity for
students to perceive entrepreneurial activities more feasible and desirable
through establishing targeted educational structures toward institutionalizing
entrepreneurial education programs in the educational methods and goals. According
to the results of Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), variables of ESE1-Skills
related to opportunity recognition and ESE2- Building an innovative
environment gained most standardized factor loading among six dimension of measuring
entrepreneurial self efficacy students. But variable of ESE6-Skills
related with obtaining funds gained standardized lowest factor loading among
six dimension of entrepreneurial self efficacy among agricultural students.
Therefore, it can be concluded that the skills of establishing investment relationships
needs to strengthen by academic institution among agricultural students. Finally,
it is recommended that the inextricable link between supportive learning environment
and upgrading self efficacy beliefs in the six main components, through regular
educational and administrative policy makings should be buttressed to foster
entrepreneurial self efficacy and spirit among university graduates.
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