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Journal of Business and Psychology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 773–794 | Cite as

Entrepreneurial Self-Identity: Predictors and Effects Within the Theory of Planned Behavior Framework

  • Martin Obschonka
  • Rainer K. Silbereisen
  • Uwe Cantner
  • Maximilian Goethner
Article

Purpose

To combine the identity and the theory of planned behavior (TPB) approaches to entrepreneurship, we investigated unique main effects as well as moderating effects of an entrepreneurial self-identity in the TPB-entrepreneurship framework. We also investigated predictors of an entrepreneurial self-identity.

Design/methodology/approach

Considering a process model of entrepreneurship, we analyzed two cross-sectional T1 samples of German scientists with regard to two central tasks along the entrepreneurial process (business idea development and business founding) via path model analyses as well as data from follow-up surveys collected at T2 and T3 via regression analyses.

Findings

Self-identity predicted founding intentions, above and beyond the effect of the TPB variables. Moreover, self-identity showed a characteristic moderating effect with TPB-intention predictors. Their effect was weaker or even zero at low levels of self-identity. In addition, self-identity forecasted behavior, but had no unique main or moderating effect on behavior in the TPB framework. Self-identity was predictable by past behavior, personality structure, recalled adolescent competencies, and early parental role models. Moreover, an engagement in entrepreneurial activity led to an increase in self-identity over time.

Implications

The results suggest that self-identity operates as a motivational factor in entrepreneurial transitions that interacts with TPB variables in a characteristic way. An entrepreneurial self-identity develops from an early developmental stage on, but also during the working life.

Originality/value

This study is unique because it integrates the occupational self-concept/self-identity construct into the TPB–entrepreneurship approach, and also delivers new implications concerning how to foster entrepreneurial motivations more effectively by taking the developing occupational self-concept into account.

Keywords

Entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial motivation Identity Intentions Personality Academic entrepreneurship 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Obschonka
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rainer K. Silbereisen
    • 2
  • Uwe Cantner
    • 3
    • 4
  • Maximilian Goethner
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany
  2. 2.Center for Applied Developmental ScienceFriedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany
  3. 3.Department of Economics and Business Administration and Graduate College “The Economics of Innovative Change” (DFG-GK-1411)Friedrich Schiller UniversityJenaGermany
  4. 4.I2M Group, Department of Marketing and ManagementUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense MDenmark

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