Behaviours and entrepreneurial intention: Empirical findings about secondary students

  • Arminda M. Finisterra do PaçoEmail author
  • João Matos Ferreira
  • Mário Raposo
  • Ricardo Gouveia Rodrigues
  • Anabela Dinis


This paper aims to identify some factors that may be explaining differences among secondary students in start-up intentions. For that, the study develops an entrepreneurial intention model sustained by the use of Azjen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour (TBP). Using a sample of students aged between 14 and 15 years old, a questionnaire based on the Liñán and Chen’s Entrepreneurial Intention Questionnaire was administrated. The purpose is to test a model of entrepreneurial intention using structural equations. The findings point that TPB is an appropriate tool to model the development of entrepreneurial intention through pedagogical processes and learning contexts. The education and training should centre itself much more in changing personal attitudes than in knowledge. Moreover, it is desirable that an entrepreneurship educational programme could contribute to the development of competences related to entrepreneurship, social and civic skills, and cultural awareness.


Entrepreneurial intention Entrepreneurship education Secondary students 


  1. Ajzen I (1985) From intentions to actions: a theory of planned behaviour. In: Kuhl J, Beckmann J (eds) Action control: from cognition to behaviour. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 11–39Google Scholar
  2. Ajzen I (1991) The theory of planned behavior. Organ Behav Hum Decis Process 50(2):179–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Ajzen I (2001) Nature and operation of attitudes. Annu Rev Psychol 52:27–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ajzen I, Fishbein M (1980) Understanding attitudes and predicting social behavior. Englewoof Cliffs, Prentice-HallGoogle Scholar
  5. Barkovic D, Kruzic D (2010) Students’ perceptions and intentions towards entrepreneurship: the empirical findings from croatia. Bus Rev 14(2):209–215Google Scholar
  6. Bird BJ (1989) Entrepreneurial behavior. Scott Foresman and Co, GlenviewGoogle Scholar
  7. Brice J (2004) The role of personality dimensions on the formation of entrepreneurial intentions, USASBE Small Business Advancement National Center. University of Central Arkansas, USAGoogle Scholar
  8. Chin W (1998) The partial least squares approach to structural equation modelling. In: Marcoulides GA (ed) Modern methods for business research. Laurence Erlbaum Associates, New Jersey, pp 295–336Google Scholar
  9. Crant JM (1996) The proactive personality scale as a predictor of entrepreneurial intentions. J Small Bus Manage 34(3):42–49Google Scholar
  10. Davidsson P (1995) Culture, structure and regional levels of entrepreneurship. Entrep Reg Dev 7(1):41–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dominguinhos, P., Carvalho, L. and Costa, T. (2008), Entrepreneurship in higher education: an empirical study applied in Europe, RENT XXII—Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Covilhã, Portugal, November 20–21.Google Scholar
  12. European Commission (2006) Entrepreneurship education in Europe: Fostering entrepreneurial mindsets through education and learning, Final Proceedings of the Conference on Entrepreneurship Education in Oslo.Google Scholar
  13. Fayolle A, Gally B, Lassas-Clerc N (2006) Assessing the impact of entrepreneurship education programmes: a new methodology. J Eur Ind Train 30(9):701–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Florin J, Karri R, Rossiter N (2007) Fostering entrepreneurial drive in business education: an attitudinal approach. J Manag Educ 31(1):17–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Frese M (ed) (2000) Success and failure of microbusiness owners in Africa: a psychological analysis. Greenwood Publications, WestportGoogle Scholar
  16. Gasse Y, Tremblay M (2006) Entrepreneurship education among students at a Canadian university: an extensive empirical study of students’ entrepreneurial preferences and intentions. In: Fayolle A, Klandt H (eds) International entrepreneurship education, issues and newness. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, pp 241–262Google Scholar
  17. Gibb A, Ritchie J (1982) Understanding the process of starting small business. Eur Small Bus J 1(1):26–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guerrero M, Rialp J, Urbano D (2008) The impact of desirability and feasibility on entrepreneurial intentions: a structural equation model. Int Entrep Manage J 4(1):35–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hancock M, Fitzsimons P (2004) Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2004, National and Regional Summaries, Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Kansas CityGoogle Scholar
  20. Hmieleski K, Corbett C (2006) Proclivity for improvisation as a predictor of entrepreneurial intentions. J Small Bus Manage 44(1):45–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hoyler RH, Smith GT (1994) Formulating clinical research hypotheses as structural equation models: a conceptual overview. J Consult Clin Psychol 62:429–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Johansen, V. (2007), Entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial activity, Proceedings of IntEnt 2007 – 17 th Global Conference, Internationalizing Entrepreneurship Education and Training, Gdansk, PolandGoogle Scholar
  23. Katz JA (2007) Education and training in entrepreneurship. In: Baum JR, Frese M, Baron RA (eds) The psychology of entrepreneurship. Erlbaum, MahwayGoogle Scholar
  24. Kirby D (2006) Creating entrepreneurial universities in the UK: applying entrepreneurship theory to practice. J Technol Transf 31:599–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kolvereid L, Isaksen E (2006) New business start-up and subsequent entry into self-employment. J Bus Venturing 21(6):866–885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kourilsky ML, Walstad WB (1998) Entrepreneurship and female youth: knowledge, attitudes, gender differences and educational practices. J Bus Venturing 13(1):7–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Krueger NF, Carsrud AL (1993) Entrepreneurial intentions: applying the theory of planned behavior. Entrep Reg Dev 5(4):315–330CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Krueger NF, Brazeal D (1994) Entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs. Entrep Theory Pract 18(3):91–104Google Scholar
  29. Krueger NF, Reilly MD, Carsrud A (2000) Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions. J Bus Venturing 15(5–6):411–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kyrö P (2006) The continental and Anglo-American approaches to entrepreneurship education—differences and bridges. In: Fayolle A, Klandt H (eds) International entrepreneurship education, issues and newness. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, pp 93–111Google Scholar
  31. Lee S, Lim S, Pathank R (2006) Influences on students attitudes toward entrepreneurship: a multi-country study. Int Entrep Manage J 2:351–366CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Liñán F, Chen Y (2009) Development and cross-cultural application of a specific instrument to measure entrepreneurial intentions. Entrep Theor Prac 33(3):593–617CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Markman GD (2007) Entrepreneurs’ competencies. In: Baum JR, Frese M, Baron RA (eds) The psychology of entrepreneurship. Erlbaum, MahwayGoogle Scholar
  34. Messick S (1988) Validity. In: Linn R (ed) Educational measurement, 3rd edn. Macmillan, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  35. Miller B, Bell J, Palmer M, Gonzalez A, Petroleum P (2009) Predictors of entrepreneurial intentions: a quasi-experiment comparing students enrolled in introductory management and entrepreneurship classes. J Bus Entrep 21(2):39–62Google Scholar
  36. North DC (1990) Institutions, institutional change and economics performance. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  37. Nunnally JC (1978) Psychometric theory. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Oosterbeek, H., van Praag M. and IJsselstein, A. (2007), The Impact of Entrepreneurship Education on Entrepreneurship Competencies and Intentions: An Evaluation of the Junior Achievement Student Mini-Company Program, Jena Economic Research Papers, 2008-027, November.Google Scholar
  39. Postigo S, Iacobucci D, Tamborini MF (2006) Undergraduate students as a source of potential entrepreneurs: a comparative study between Italy and Argentina. In: Fayolle A, Klandt H (eds) International entrepreneurship education, issues and newness. Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, Cheltenham, pp 218–240Google Scholar
  40. Raposo M, Ferreira J, Paço A, Rodrigues R (2008a) Propensity to firm creation: empirical research using structural equations. Int Entrep Manage J 4(4):485–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Raposo M, Paço A, Ferreira J (2008b) Entrepreneur’s profile: a taxonomy of atributes and motivations of university students. J Small Busi Ent Dev 15(2):405–418CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Reynolds PD, Camp M, Autio E (2000) Global entrepreneurship monitor, 2000 executive report. Babson College, WellesleyGoogle Scholar
  43. Robinson PB, Stimpson D, Huefner JC, Hunt HK (1991) An attitude approach to the prediction of entrepreneurship. Entrep Theory Pract 15(4):13–31Google Scholar
  44. Rushing F (1990) Entrepreneurship and education. In: Kent C (ed) Entrepreneurship education—current developments, future directions. Quoru Books, New York, pp 29–39Google Scholar
  45. Sanchez, J. and Yurrebaso, A. (2008), Are young Mexicans more entrepreneurial than Spanish and Portuguese? The role of the self-reinforcing property of entrepreneurship, RENT XXII—Research in Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Covilhã, Portugal, November 20–21.Google Scholar
  46. Schwarz E, Almer-Jarz D, Wdowiak M (2006) A structural model of entrepreneurial intent among students: findings from Austria, Inter-RENT Workshop, European Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 3rd edn. Inter-RENT Online Publication, FinlandGoogle Scholar
  47. Schwarz E, Wdowiak M, Breitenecker R (2009) The effects of attitudes and perceived environment conditions on students’ entrepreneurial intent: an Austrian perspective. Ed Train 51(4):272–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Segal G, Borgia D, Schoenfeld J (2005) The motivation to become an entrepreneur. Int J Entrep Behav Res 11(1):42–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Shapero A (1982) Social dimensions of entrepreneurship. In: Kent CA et al (eds) The encyclopedia of entrepreneurship. Englewood Cliffs, Prentice-Hall, pp 72–89Google Scholar
  50. Shaw D, Shiu E (2003) Ethics in consumer choice: a multivariate modelling approach. Eur J Mark 37(10):1485–1518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Solomon GT, Duffy S, Tarabishy A (2002) The state of entrepreneurship education in the United States: a nationwide survey and analysis. Int J Entrep Ed 1(1):65–87Google Scholar
  52. Tang J, Tang Z, Lohrke F (2007) Developing an entrepreneurial typology: the roles of entrepreneurial alertness and attributional style. Int Ent Manage J 4(3):273–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Turker D, Selcuk S (2008) Which factors affect entrepreneurial intention of university students? J Eur Ind Train 33(2):142–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Veciana J, Aponte M, Urbano D (2005) University student’s attitudes towards entrepreneurship: a two countries comparison. Int Ent Manage J 1:165–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Verduyn K, Kleijn E, Wakkee I (2007) Filming entrepreneurship, Proceedings of IntEnt 2007—17th Global Conference. Int Entrep Ed Train, PolandGoogle Scholar
  56. Vesper, K. H. and Gartner, W.B. (1999), University Entrepreneurship Programmes 1999, Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Southern CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  57. Wang CK, Wong PK (2004) Entrepreneurial interest of university students in Singapore. Technovation 24(2):163–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arminda M. Finisterra do Paço
    • 1
    Email author
  • João Matos Ferreira
    • 1
  • Mário Raposo
    • 1
  • Ricardo Gouveia Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Anabela Dinis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Business and Economics, Research Unit NECEUniversity of Beira InteriorCovilhãPortugal

Personalised recommendations