A systematic literature review on entrepreneurial intentions: citation, thematic analyses, and research agenda

  • Francisco LiñánEmail author
  • Alain Fayolle


Entrepreneurial intention is a rapidly evolving field of research. A growing number of studies use entrepreneurial intention as a powerful theoretical framework. However, a substantial part of this research lacks systematization and categorization, and there seems to be a tendency to start anew with every study. Therefore, there is a need to take stock of current knowledge in this field. In this sense, this paper carries out a review of the literature on entrepreneurial intentions. A total of 409 papers addressing entrepreneurial intention, published between 2004 and 2013 (inclusive), have been analyzed. The purpose and contribution of this paper is to offer a clearer picture of the sub-fields in entrepreneurial intention research, by concentrating on two aspects. Firstly, it reviews recent research by means of a citation analysis to categorize the main areas of specialization currently attracting the attention of the academic community. Secondly, a thematic analysis is carried out to identify the specific themes being researched within each category. Despite the large number of publications and their diversity, the present study identifies five main research areas, plus an additional sixth category for a number of new research papers that cannot be easily classified into the five areas. Within those categories, up to twenty-five different themes are recognized. A number of research gaps are singled out within each of these areas of specialization, in order to induce new ways and perspectives in the entrepreneurial intention field of research that may be fruitful in filling these gaps.


Entrepreneurial intention Literature review Citation analysis Thematic analysis Research gaps Research agenda New research perspectives 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department Applied EconomicsUniversity of SevilleSevilleSpain
  2. 2.EMLYON Business SchoolEcully CedexFrance

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