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Entrepreneurial careers among business graduates: match-making using Theory of Planned Behavior.

ABSTRACT

Research on entrepreneurial area has increased since its influence on the economic and the social development has been acknowledged. Most of the researchers were interested in identifying successful entrepreneurs, specifically on the traits and behaviors. With the governments across various countries create policy and measures in creating entrepreneurs, this further adds to the importance of research in the entrepreneurial area. This research attempts to identify potential entrepreneurs among business undergraduates in Malaysia. Using the Theory of Planned Behavior and the personal values associated with an entrepreneur, the research conducted an identity matching. Thus, the influencing factors are determined. The findings of the research revealed that components of Theory of Planned Behavior, which consists of subjective norm, attitude towards behavior and perceived behavioral control, are factors that influence entrepreneurial career. Demographics characteristics such as gender and parents occupational background have influence too. The findings inform to ensure quality entrepreneurs are produced, and concentration should target at these influencing factors.

INTRODUCTION

Entrepreneurs play an integral part in today's economy. According to Association of University Technology Managers (2001), entrepreneurship accounts for 70% of all new jobs and is a crucial topic for the 21st century. Countries such as Brazil, Korea and United States lead the world in entrepreneurial activities. Similarly, countries such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan largely owed their substantial growth to entrepreneurial activities. Over the past 35 years, they have transformed themselves from being technologically backward and poor into modern prosperous economies.

In Malaysia, entrepreneurship has undergone a period of rapid growth in the last 10 to 15 years. It is acknowledged to be a critical area that provides the support on the process of economic development in achieving a developed nation status. The Ministry of Entrepreneurial Development has set the objective to generate and develop entrepreneurs who are resilient, successful and competitive in all the potential growth sectors of the economy. Another agency, the Small and Medium Industries Corporation (SMIDEC) was established in 1996 to produce capable Small and Medium Industries (SMIs) that can compete in the liberalized market. The establishment of SMIDEC was in recognition of the need for a specialized agency to further promote the development of SMIs. Among the areas of assistance are through advisory service, fiscal and financial assistance, infrastructure facilities and other support programs.

One of the sources identified by the Malaysian government in promoting and creating entrepreneurs are university graduates. Graduates are considered valuables resources that will affect the quality of the future society. Furthermore, they play critical roles in assuring the continued development of the economy of a country. Among the steps the government has introduced is training scheme for graduates who are interested in venturing into entrepreneurship.

At present, most Malaysian universities offer courses in business, which also includes entrepreneurship. Surveys indicated that popular courses among the undergraduate business students in Malaysia are accounting, finance, marketing, human resources and entrepreneurial development (Fairco Online, 2000). Other than entrepreneurship programs, most Malaysian universities own entrepreneurial development courses and entrepreneurship-related clubs and societies. Incubator centers to encourage the development of entrepreneurship among graduates are available in some universities and colleges. Consultancy services on entrepreneurial development are also available to assist students in developing their entrepreneurial skills.

While the literature on entrepreneurship in Malaysia is still growing, studies on reasons why entrepreneurial careers are pursued instead of being employed in organizations are limited. Furthermore, existing studies are confined to the western countries. Thus, there is a gap in relation to this area of study in the eastern environment. Furthermore, if the findings are found to be similar, then it can be assumed that cross-cultural factors are not the discriminating factors, rather the theory is applicable worldwide. Further, to meet the aim of creating quality entrepreneurs, it is important that the potential entrepreneurs are recognized at the early stages and given the proper knowledge and skills accordingly. The research intends to answer who and what motivates towards an entrepreneurial career, applying the match making technique, using the Theory of Planned Behavior.

ENTREPRENEURIAL INTENTION AS PREDICTOR

In the psychological literature, intentions have been suggested to be the best predictor of planned behavior, particularly when that behavior is rare, hard to observe, or involves unpredictable time lags. Several researchers have highlighted the importance and role of entrepreneurs' intention (Bird, 1988; 1989; 1992; Bird & Jelinek, 1988). According to Bird, entrepreneurs' ideas and intentions form the initial strategic template of new organizations and are important underpinnings of new venture development. Entrepreneurial intentions are aimed at either creating a new venture or creating new values in existing ventures. The model suggests that intention is based on a dimension of both rational thinking (goal directed behavior) and intuitive or holistic thinking. As noted by Krueger (1993), intentions models offer a coherent parsimonious and robust framework for pursuing a better understanding of entrepreneurial processes. Following the intention literature, Shapero (1982) defines entrepreneurial intentions as the commitment to starting a new business. In addition to that, Boyd and Vozikis (1994) also argue that the stronger the entrepreneurial intentions, the higher the probability of entrepreneurial actions. Entrepreneurship is exactly the type of planned behaviour (Bird, 1992; Katz, 1992) for which intention models are ideally suited and be viewed as the first step in an evolving, long-term process. This research uses the term intention to identify the entrepreneurial career aspirations of undergraduates. Self-employed is referred solely to entrepreneurial choice intentions.

MODELS ON ENTREPRENEURIAL INTENTIONS

According to Krueger and Carsrud (1993) and Krueger and Brazeal (1994), the model that focuses on entrepreneurial intentions has been the subject of considerable interest. Further, Krueger and Brazeal (1994) argue that there are two dominant and overlapping models of behavioral intentions consisting of Shapero's model of entrepreneurial event (SEE) (Shapero, 1975; Shapero & Sokol, 1982); and Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) (Ajzen, 1988, 1991). Shapero argues that entrepreneurial intentions should derive from feasibility and desirability perceptions plus a propensity to act on opportunities. However, Ajzen argues that intentions in general depend on perceptions of personal attractiveness, social norms, and feasibility. According to the TPB (Ajzen, 1991), there are three conceptually independent antecedents of intention, which are the attitude towards behavior, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control.

COMPONENTS OF THEORY OF PLANNED BEHAVIOR

Attitude towards behavior refers to the degree in which a person has a favorable or unfavorable evaluation or appraisal of the behavior in question. Rosenberg and Hovland (1960) and Shaver (1987) note that attitude is defined as predisposition to respond in a generally favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to the object of the attitude under social psychological context. Ajzen (1988, 1991) in reference to the expectancy value model, mentions attitude towards behavior is determined by the individual's belief about the consequences of performing the behavior weighted by the evaluation of the consequences. Further, attitude theory has a substantial history of research and offers both theoretical and practical benefits to the study of entrepreneurship (Robinson, et. al, 1991). Subjective norm refers to perceived social pressure to engage or not in a particular behavior (Ajzen 1988; 1991). This means that individuals will develop intentions because they believe others will like them to do it (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980). Supporting this, Wood and Bandura (1989) state that if people receive positive encouragement, they will be more likely to exert greater effort. Perceived behavioral control, according to Ajzen (1988, 1991), refers to people's perceptions of their ability to perform a given behavior. In other words, perceived behavioral control indicates that a person's motivation is influenced by how difficult the behaviors are perceived, as well as the perception of how successfully the individual can or cannot in performing the activity (Mackezie & Jurs, 1993). Boyd and Vozikis (1994) support this notion, mentioning that people with strong beliefs about their capabilities will be more persistent in their efforts and exert greater effort to master challenges.

In recent years, Ajzen's (1988,1991) theory of planned behavior has become one of the most widely used psychological theories to explain and predict human behaviors. The theory has been used with good success in practical applications as well as in basic research (Krueger & Carsrud, 1993). The theory of planned behavior is an extension of the theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1980; Fishbein & Ajzen, 1975), which assumed that most human social behavior is under volitional control and, hence, can be predicted from intentions alone. Besides that, Kolvereid (1996b) has used this theory to predict employment status choice intentions among undergraduates' business students whereas Autio, Keeley, Klofsten and Ulfstedt (1997) have used this theory to test on students of science and technology faculties regarding their intention of becoming entrepreneurs. This theory has also been used to predict employment status choice intentions among Russian students and successfully proven its strength (Tkachev & Kolvereid, 1999). As such, the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) is considered appropriate for this research.

OTHER FACTORS

In addition, personal values or personal traits are also considered in this research. This is due to the fact that personal values provide a potentially powerful explanation of human behavior and serves as standards or criteria of conduct (Williams, 1965), tend to be limited in number (Rokeach, 1973), and remarkably stable over time (Ingleheart, 1985; Rokeach, 1973). Rokeach (1973) shows that personal values influence all behavior. Holland (1985a, 1985b), Holland and Gottfredshon, (1992) and Holland and Rayman (1996) have proven that personality traits are essential factors. This finding is reinforced by Kamakura and Mason (1991) who note that the concepts of personal values and value systems have been used to predict various kinds of behavior. Personal values involve self-awareness and consciously influence choice and behavior. Personal values are standards against which evaluations and judgments are made (Williams, 1965). In short, individuals who value entrepreneurial characteristics would deliberately influence his or her intentions of becoming an entrepreneur. Such relationship is assumed to be valid because personal value has been used to predict various kinds of behaviors (Kamakura & Mason, 1991) while intentions are assumed to be the immediate antecedent of behaviors (Ajzen, 1988; 1991). Similarly, Sonnenfield and Kotter's (1982) study relating to decision to enter self-employment, used static personality differences to refer to how people make career choices that match their personality. Traits that are commonly associated with the entrepreneurs include innovation, risk-taking (Hull, Bosley & Udell, 1980; Sexton & Bowman, 1983, 1984; 1986), independence (Bird, 1989; Boyd & Gumpert, 1983; Woo, Cooper and Dunkelberg, 1991), hard working (Lankard, 1991; Eden 1973), self-confidence (Phillipson, 1995) and locus of control (Levenson, 1981; Rotter, 1990).

Empirically, situational variables such as employment status or informational cues and individual variables such as demographic characteristics or personality traits are poor predictors. That is, predicting entrepreneurial activities by modeling only situational or personal factors usually resulted in disappointingly small explanatory power and even smaller predictive validity. Furthermore, demographic characteristics are not included in Shapero's model of entrepreneurial event or in Ajzen's theory of planned behavior. Robinson, Stimpson, Huefner and Hunt (1991) argue that there is no direct link between demographic variables and entrepreneurial behavior. Gartner (1989) also posits that individuals seldom behave consistently in different times and situations, and that personality traits are not good predictors of future action. However, advocates of demographic and tracking models have suggested and found empirical support for the hypothesis that family background, gender, and past entrepreneurial experience are related to entrepreneurial intentions (Matthews & Moser, 1995). Therefore, intention models would be more appropriate if it offers significant opportunity to increase the ability to understand and predict entrepreneurial activity.

METHOD

The model used in this research incorporates components of Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), personal background and desired personal values. These represent the independent variables while student entrepreneurial choice intention (ECI) represents the dependent variable.

Eight hypotheses were developed. The first three hypotheses examine the differences in the respondents' background (parent's entrepreneurial occupation, gender, and past entrepreneurial experience) as predictors of entrepreneurial choice intention (ECI). ECI is measured on a 4-point scale ranging from employed by someone to self-employed.

[H.sub.1]: Individuals whose parents are entrepreneurs have higher ECI than those who do not.

[H.sub.2]: Males have higher ECI than females.

[H.sub.3]: Individuals with entrepreneurial experiences have higher ECI than those without.

The next three hypotheses test on the relationships of each factor under the Theory of Planned Behavior (attitude towards behavior, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control) against ECI. Again, a 4-scale response is used for attitude towards behavior ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree. For subjective norm a 4-scale response is also used ranging from should not to should. Similarly, a 4-scale response is used for perceived behavioral control, however the response used differs. Table 2 indicates the specific responses used according to the statements.

[H.sub.4]: There is a significant relationship between attitude towards behavior and entrepreneurial choice intentions.

[H.sub.5]: There is a significant relationship between subjective norm and entrepreneurial choice intentions.

[H.sub.6]: There is a significant relationship between perceived behavioral control and entrepreneurial choice intentions

The next hypothesis tested the relationship between the desired personal values and ECI. Desired personal values are measured on a 4-point scale from very unimportant to very important.

[H.sub.7]: There is a significant relationship between desired personal values and entrepreneurial choice intentions.

The final hypothesis tested the relationship between all the components of TPB and ECI.

[H.sub.8]: At least one independent variable will influence entrepreneurial choice intentions.

A questionnaire was developed and pre-tested through a pilot survey. About twenty undergraduate business students from a Malaysian private university were chosen to participate in this pilot test. Feedback from participants was evaluated and modifications were made based on their responses and comments before the actual survey was carried out. Participants were assured that their responses would be treated, as confidential and only aggregate responses would be reported. All questions were close-ended and required ticking the appropriate response in the answer squares, hence minimizing the completion time. The questionnaires were administered personally to each respondent.

The respondents for this study consist of undergraduate business students from both public as well as private universities in Malaysia. About 800 questionnaires were distributed and from than 762 were found to be usable.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Analyses on the demographic profile of the respondents revealed that the age of these undergraduate students range from 18 to 26 years old. It is notable that majority (76.3%) of the respondents age lies within 20 to 22 years old and are single (98.6%). As for gender, about 72.9% of the respondents are females. Although this shows a bias in terms of gender, however, this is true in Malaysian higher educational institutions where female do exceeds male. The analysis on race found that more than half of the respondents are Malaysian Chinese (55%), followed by Malays (34.3%) and Indians (8.5%).

With regards to the occupations of fathers, majority of the respondents indicated that their fathers have mostly been employed (62.8%). There are also respondents whose fathers are self-employed or entrepreneurs (36%). Respondents, whose mothers have mostly been employed constituted the highest percentage (41.3%), followed by unemployed (38.1%) and self-employed (20.5%).

Most of the respondents (80.1%) have no past entrepreneurial experience. Only 19.9% of the students claimed that they had previously earned income by creating new business ventures alone or together with someone else. In terms of specialization of the students, the highest group was from respondents majoring in accounting (46.0%), followed by banking and finance (13.8%). Other majors constituted less than 10% each.

Table 1 presents the results on mean score for the independent and dependent variables. The result shows that most of the respondents have high ECI, as the mean score of 2.91 out of 4 was considered to be rather high. The respondents show that they have the tendency to become entrepreneurs in the future.

Six variables were used to test self-employment, economic opportunity, self-realization, authority, autonomy, participating in the whole process, and job challenge. The mean score for self-employment attitude are mostly above 3.20, indicating a strong entrepreneurial attitude. Economic opportunity is found to have the highest mean (mean = 3.52). This revealed that the respondents place high emphasis in generating financial return. In fact, profit is important because individuals who earn high profits would assure a better living than those who do not. According to Kolvereid (1996b), individuals who emphasize on economic opportunity would involve in self-employment activity rather than organizational employment. This is consistent with Bryant's (1999) study confirming that those with economic opportunity objectives are more inclined towards entrepreneurial activities. Similarly, self-realization, authority and autonomy are attractive factors for self-employment attitude.

In addition, another three variables that are associated with organizational employment attitude were tested. The mean score for job security is 3.50, which scored the second highest mean. This is logical as job security is important in one's career as it ensures that a person would receive regular income to support their cost of living. Furthermore, as an individual who is starting his or her career, job security is the most important criteria to some of them. According to Kolvereid (1996b), individuals who wish for job security would prefer being organizationally employed rather than becoming self-employed. This is because self-employment has a higher propensity of risk compared to other employment (Hull, Bosley & Udell, 1980; Sexton & Bowman, 1983, 1984; 1986).

Two items are found to score below 2.50; namely workload (mean = 2.45) and responsibility avoidance (mean = 2.16). This suggests that these two are the undesirable factors for organizational employment. This demonstrated that the respondents were more to disagree that these factors are important to consider when choosing their future career path. In reality, individuals who opt for less workload or less responsibility would hardly become entrepreneurs, as an entrepreneur needs to hold high responsibility and involve in heavy work load in order to ensure that their business runs smoothly.

For subjective norm of the respondents towards self-employment primarily, all three items' responses were inclined towards the intention of being self-employed. The result revealed that the perception from closest family that the respondents should pursue a career as self-employed has the highest mean score. This is supported by Ajzen's (1998) study where such perception would reinforce the respondents' likelihood of becoming self-employed. Several other studies also observed that family plays a significant role in influencing the students' career decision, particularly on the decision to pursue entrepreneurship (Bohmer & Sitton, 1993; Carroll & Mosakowski, 1987; Deivasenapathy, 1986; Fraboni & Saltstone, 1990; Hisrich & Peter, 1995; Korin, 1989; Scherer, Brodzinski & Wiebe, 1991). The two remaining items, perception from closest friend and people, are also important in influencing entrepreneurial choice intentions. These results were supported by Nelson (1989) and Shapero and Sokol's (1982) who found that family, friends and other important people are considered as the key influencing individuals in influencing whether or not a person decides to start a new business venture.

As shown in Table 1, the average mean score for perceived behavior control was 2.41. According to Ajzen (1991), a high level of perceived control would strengthen a person's intention to perform the behavior. The respondents perceived that if they become self-employed the chances of success to be high (mean = 2.91), while they perceived that the chances of failure would be less (mean = 2.48). This shows a positive perceived behavior towards self-employment.

The respondents perceived that the number of event outside their control which could prevent them to be self-employed to be moderately low (mean = 2.22) since they have not experienced such events before. The respondents also perceived that self-employment would be difficult, which resulted to the lowest mean score of 1.93. These perceptions might affect the respondents' preference on becoming entrepreneurs. The reason behind this could due to the fact that entrepreneurship involves high risk, and the respondents were unprepared to take risk, as they have not been trained to make much risky decisions in their schooling life. This is supported by Mill (1848) when he stated that the willingness to take risks is noted in one of the earliest works concerned with the entrepreneur. The final result in Table 1 is on the seven desired personal values for entrepreneurs. The average mean was 3.42. Three desired personal values were found to score above the average mean, self-confidence (mean = 3.62), hard working (mean = 3.53) and need for achievement (mean = 3.48). Alternatively, the remaining four desired personal values such as independence, innovative, locus of control, and risk taking had considerably high mean values even though they were below the average mean score. Evidently, risk taking was found to score the lowest mean of 3.17. This may be due to the reason that most of the respondents do not have much exposure to risk-taking events throughout their schooling years as compared to those already working with extensive experiences.

HYPOTHESES TESTS

The mean analyses performed earlier provided us with a good descriptive state on the variables of interest. The next set of statistical operations attempts to examine meaningful relationships among the variables studied. The results are shown in Table 2 and discussed below.

The first three hypotheses that are related to background is substantiated. The t-test results suggested students with parents who are entrepreneurs have higher ECI and the difference is significant. This result is consistent with past findings that individuals with entrepreneurial parents are more likely to express entrepreneurial intentions (Hisrich & Peters, 1995; Krueger 1993a; Scott & Twomey, 1988). Males have higher ECI compared to females and the difference is signficant. The finding is in line with past studies where male students tend to have a stronger entrepreneurship aspiration than females (Crant, 1996; De Wit & Van Winden, 1989; Kourilsky & Walstad, 1998; Matthews & Moser, 1996). Even though there appears to be a trend toward increasing numbers of females owning small businesses, prior literature suggests that males, in general, are more likely to be interested in owning a small business than females (Hagan, Rivchun, & Sexton, 1989; Scherer, Adam, Carinski, & Wiebe, 1990). Entrepreneurial experience is also found to have significant influence toward ECI. The t-test result shows respondents with past entrepreneurial experiences tend to have higher intentions of becoming entrepreneurs. This is consistent with past studies by Kent, Sexton and Vesper (1982) whereby work experience during the influential years has a positive impact upon the decision to become an entrepreneur. Furthermore, this finding is consistent with Ronstadt's (1988) study whereby prior entrepreneurial experience is positively related to entrepreneurial behavior.

The next group of hypotheses test on the relationships between the components of Theory of Planned Behavior against ECI. Pearson Correlation was used to test the relationship.

For attitude towards behavior five out of eleven items turned out to be significantly and positively correlated with entrepreneurial choice intentions. These include economic opportunity, autonomy, authority, self-realization, and participate in whole process. The results suggest these factors influence the intention to become entrepreneur. This is consistent with Bryant's (1999) study confirming that those with economic opportunity objectives are more inclined towards entrepreneurial activities. Collins, Moore and Unwalla (1964) and Hornaday and Bunker (1970) who found autonomy to be the characteristic of entrepreneurs support this result. Coherent to Kolvereid's (1996b) study, authority means having the power to make decisions, having full control over the job and able to take responsibility. Accordingly, it was found that higher preference for authority in one's career path eventually creates a higher intention for self-employment. Marjorie's (1998) study discovers that high need to attain self-realization leads individuals towards being more entrepreneurial in nature, thus having a higher entrepreneurial intentions. Finally, the findings of high preference for the question 'participate in whole process' is parallel with findings by Kolvereid (1996b) whereby preference for participating in the whole process would lead a person towards self-employment.

In terms of subjective norm the hypothesis is substantiated. All three items tested showed significant positive relationship with the entrepreneurial choice intentions, namely perception from closest family, perception from closest friends, and perception from people that are important. This shows that the more the respondents' families believe that the respondent should pursue a career as self-employed, the higher will the respondents' entrepreneurial choice intentions. The findings is supported by previous research by Nelson (1989) and Shapero and Sokol (1982), demonstrating that family refers to one of the key role people in influencing a person's decision to start a new business venture. Friends can also be considered as key inspiration (Nelson, 1989; Shapero and Sokol, 1982). In general, perceptions from people that are important do also influence ECI. This is in line with past studies whereby an individual would perform certain behaviors in consideration of what those people important to them think (Ajzen, 1998).

Four out of five items in perceived behavioral control showed significant positive correlation with the entrepreneurial choice intentions. Those items were:
 "If I become self-employed the chances of success would be ..."
 "If I wanted to, I could easily pursue a career as self-employed"
 "If I become self-employed, the chances of failure would be ..." and
 "For me self-employment would be ...",


The results suggest that the factors such as the ability to succeed, the easiness to be an entrepreneur, the abilities to confront challenges and the overall view of entrepreneurship influence ECI. All the findings above corroborate with Ajzen's (1988, 1991) theory that perceived behavioral control is likely to affect intentions. When all else equal, a high level of perceived behavioral control should strengthen a person's intentions to perform the entrepreneurial choice intentions behavior, and increase effort and perseverance.

For personal values, the results of hypothesis testing using Pearson Correlation test show only two out of seven desired personal values that turned out to be significantly positively correlated with the entrepreneurial choice intentions. These include innovative and risk-taking. This is consistent with studies by Bird (1989) and Tibbits (1979), confirming that the ability to be innovative is an important characteristic to an entrepreneur. Higher desire for innovative will unconsciously lead individuals towards entrepreneurship. For risk taking, it is proven to be an important characteristics of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs tend to have a higher inclination for risk-taking than other groups (Hull, Bosley & Udell, 1980; Sexton & Bowman, 1983, 1984, 1986).

The final hypothesis attempts to identify the predictors of ECI. Stepwise multiple regression was performed and Table 3 showed that five out of eight independent variables were significant to explain the changes with respect to the entrepreneurial choice intentions. The results revealed that contributors to the model include subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, attitude toward behavior, gender and parents' occupational background. This result is in line with findings of Kolvereid (1996b) that attitude and subjective norm contribute significantly to the explanation of the variance in intentions.

CONCLUSION

The study has revealed and reinforced several important findings. First, the TPB is universal and usage of this method does produce similar findings regardless of culture. Personal background has been found as an important predictor towards the entrepreneurial choice intentions among Malaysian business undergraduates.

Students who have entrepreneurial parents show higher entrepreneurial intentions. Besides that, being a male and entrepreneurial experience are also found to be indicators for higher entrepreneurial intentions. This means that women need further encouragement to consider entrepreneurial career. The absence of entrepreneurial experience among women should not be a demotivating factor towards entrepreneurship. All the components of TPB showed that they are influencing factors toward entrepreneurial choice intentions. Specifically, the students are interested in their entrepreneurial career choice due to the benefits such as economic opportunity, autonomy, authority, self-realization and able to participate in the whole process. Their positive perception on the entrepreneurial field influences their decision. Similarly, people closes to them affect their career choice. It is found to be the most significant positive predictor of entrepreneurial choice intentions.

The relevant governmental agencies could harness the findings of the "theory of planned behavior" to pinpoint specific areas where entrepreneurial intentions are prevalent. Programs and campaigns can be targeted to parents. Thus, these parents will play their role to educate and encourage their children to be entrepreneurs. As for the peer or friend factor in motivating the entrepreneurial intention, majority of the students must be well informed on the advantage of being entrepreneurs. It is like a chain reaction whereby students will follow their friends who are keen to be entrepreneurs. One of the ways is to set up activities relating to entrepreneurship in order to make known the advantages of becoming an entrepreneur. Through these clubs, members could actively establish small ventures as groups to start simple businesses.

Next is the influence of people who are important to the students on the entrepreneurial intentions. Important people include loved ones, relatives, role models, mentors, and successful entrepreneurs who are deemed important to the students. In fact, the information furnished through this study enables educationalist to enhance the design and development of curricular to better cater the needs of students and to provide guidance for improved entrepreneurial career counseling. Various media in Malaysia should also carry out their role in broadcasting more success stories of entrepreneurs to serve as an example and role model to the younger generations of Malaysia. These important people should play their role in encouraging students to be self-employed.

Traits such as innovative and risk taking are found to be necessary in their pursuits of entrepreneur choice intention. This implies that it is important that the students need to understand the importance of the choice of area of study. Students who have clearly indicate entrepreneurial to be their career choice must be mould with multiple skills. Educational institutions play an important role in providing and serving the students with the appropriate skills. Thus, a combination of theoretical as well as practical skills is very critical in achieving this aim.

There are several limitations faced in this study. To begin with, this research was conducted on a fairly small sample of business undergraduates in Malaysia. Furthermore, the concentration is on business students. The present survey opens several possibilities for future research. Future study is recommended to use larger sample size to represent the actual total population. Another suggestion is to include undergraduate students from different majors and other educational institutions or colleges. In addition, it would be helpful if future studies would include more comprehensive sets of independent variables that influence the entrepreneurial choice intentions. Nevertheless, another area of study would be on the longitudinal research nature.

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Chong Siong Choy, Multimedia University

Jayanty Kuppusamy, Multimedia University

Mazuki Jusoh, Multimedia University
Table 1: The Mean Score for Entrepreneur Choice Intentions, Attitude
towards Behavior, Subjective Norm, Perceived Behavior Control
and Desired Personal Values

(scale: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = agree, 4 = strongly
agree; unless stated otherwise)

Variables & Items Mean

Entrepreneurial Choice Intention (1=very likely to be employed, 2.91
 2=likely to be employed, 3=likely to be self-employed, 4=very
 likely to be self employed)
Attitude towards Behavior: Organizational Employment 2.94
Job security 3.50
Career opportunity 3.37
Social environment 3.23
Less Workload 2.45
Responsibility avoidance 2.16
Attitude Towards Behavior: Self Employment 3.36
Economic opportunity 3.52
Self-realization 3.47
Authority 3.37
Autonomy 3.28
Participate in the whole process 3.27
Job Challenge 3.21
Subjective Norm 2.85
Perception from closest family towards my self-employment 2.86
Perception from closest friends towards my self-employment 2.84
Perception from people that are important to me towards my 2.84
 self-employment
Perceived Behavior Control 2.41
If I become self-employed the chances of success would be ... 2.91
 (very low to very high)
If I wanted to, I could easily pursue a career as self- 2.52
 employed. ...(strongly disagree to strongly agree)
If I become self-employed the chances of failure would be ... 2.48
 (very high to very low)
The number of event outside my control which could prevent me 2.22
 from being employed are ... numerous to very few)
For me, self-employment would be ... (very difficult to 1.93
 very easy)
Desired Personal Values 3.42
Self-confidence 3.62
Hard-working 3.53
Need for achievement 3.48
Independence 3.40
Innovative 3.38
Locus of control 3.36
Risk-taking 3.17

Table 2: Hypotheses Test Results

HYPOTHESES

H1: Individuals whose parents are entrepreneurs have
higher ECI than those who do not.

T-test: N Mean t

(1) Entrepreneurs 321 3.02 2.359
(2) Non-entrepreneurs 436 2.83
Total 757

H2: Males have higher ECI than females.

T-test: N Mean t

(1) Males 202 3.11 3.12
(2) Females 554 2.84
Total 756

H3: Individuals with entrepreneurial experiences
have higher ECI than those without.

T-test: N Mean t

(1) Yes 148 3.09 2.424
(2) No 605 2.86
Total 753

H4: There is a significant relationship between
attitude towards behavior and ECI

Pearson Correlation:

ECI--Job security
ECI--Career opportunity
ECI--Social environment
ECI--Less workload
ECI--Responsibility
 avoidance
ECI--Economic opportunity
ECI--Self-realization
ECI--Authority
ECI--Autonomy
ECI--Participate in the
 whole process
ECI--Job challenge

H5: There is a significant relationship between
subjective norm and ECI.

Pearson Correlation

ECI--Perception from
 closest family towards
 my self-employment
ECI--Perception from
 closest friends towards
 my self-employment
ECI--Perception from
 people that are
 important to me towards
 my self-employment

H6: There is a significant relationship between
perceived behavioral control and ECI.

Pearson Correlation

ECI--If I become
 self-employed, the
 chances of success
 would be ... (very low
 to very high)
ECI--If I wanted to, I
 could easily pursue a
 career as self-
 employed. (strongly
 disagree to strongly
 agree)
ECI--If I become self-
 employed, the chances
 of failure would be ...
 (very high to very low)
ECI--The number of event
 outside my control
 which could prevent me
 from being employed
few)

ECI--For me, self-
 employment would be ...
 (very difficult to very
 easy)

H7: There is a significant relationship
between desired personal values and ECI.

Pearson Correlation

ECI--Self-confidence
ECI--Hard-working
ECI--Need for achievement
ECI--Independence
ECI--Innovative
ECI--Locus of control
ECI--Risk-taking

HYPOTHESES Support?

H1: Individuals whose parents are entrepreneurs have Yes
higher ECI than those who do not.

 Mean
T-test: Difference Significance

(1) Entrepreneurs (1)-(2): 0.19 0.019
(2) Non-entrepreneurs
Total

H2: Males have higher ECI than females. Yes

 Mean
T-test: Difference Significance

(1) Males (1)-(2): 0.27 0.002
(2) Females
Total

H3: Individuals with entrepreneurial experiences Yes
have higher ECI than those without.

T-test: Mean Significance
 Difference
(1) Yes (1)-(2): 0.19 0.016
(2) No
Total

H4: There is a significant relationship between
attitude towards behavior and ECI

Pearson Correlation: Partial

 Pearson Significance
 Correlation

ECI--Job security -0.061 0.092
ECI--Career opportunity 0.016 0.662
ECI--Social environment -0.008 0.837
ECI--Less workload -0.009 0.804
ECI--Responsibility 0.013 0.714
 avoidance
ECI--Economic opportunity 0.078 0.032
ECI--Self-realization 0.135 0.000
ECI--Authority 0.143 0.000
ECI--Autonomy 0.149 0.000
ECI--Participate in the 0.083 0.022
 whole process
ECI--Job challenge 0.058 0.110

H5: There is a significant relationship between Yes
subjective norm and ECI.

Pearson Correlation Pearson Significance
 Correlation

ECI--Perception from 0.409 0.000
 closest family towards
 my self-employment
ECI--Perception from 0.324 0.000
 closest friends towards
 my self-employment
ECI--Perception from 0.340 0.000
 people that are
 important to me towards
 my self-employment

H6: There is a significant relationship between Partial
perceived behavioral control and ECI.

Pearson Correlation Pearson Significance
 Correlation

ECI--If I become 0.304 0.000
 self-employed, the
 chances of success
 would be ... (very low
 to very high)
ECI--If I wanted to, I 0.175 0.000
 could easily pursue a
 career as self-
 employed. (strongly
 disagree to strongly
 agree)
ECI--If I become self- 0.164 0.000
 employed, the chances
 of failure would be ...
 (very high to very low)
ECI--The number of event 0.026 0.475
 outside my control
 which could prevent me
 from being employed
few)

ECI--For me, self- 0.096 0.008
 employment would be ...
 (very difficult to very
 easy)

H7: There is a significant relationship Partial
between desired personal values and ECI.

Pearson Correlation Pearson Significance
 Correlation

ECI--Self-confidence 0.055 0.129
ECI--Hard-working 0.057 0.116
ECI--Need for achievement -0.014 0.696
ECI--Independence 0.006 0.86
ECI--Innovative 0.103 0.005
ECI--Locus of control 0.025 0.497
ECI--Risk-taking 0.084 0.021

Table 3: Stepwise Regression Coefficients For Predictors
of Entrepreneurial Choice Intentions

 Unstandardized Standardized
Model Predictors Coefficient Coefficient

 B Std. Beta
 Error

1 (Constant) 1.044 .146
 Subjective norm .656 .050 .434
2 (Constant) .601 .207
 Subjective norm .599 .053 .397
 PBC .251 .083 .105
3 (Constant) .989 .249
 Subjective norm .592 .053 .392
 PBC .253 .083 .106
 Gender -.214 .077 -.091
4 (Constant) .317 .358
 Subjective norm .576 .053 .381
 PBC .246 .083 .103
 Gender -.201 .077 -.085
 ATB .212 .081 .085
5 (Constant) .529 .370
 Subjective norm .573 .053 .379
 PBC .239 .083 .100
 Gender -.197 .077 -.084
 ATB .224 .081 .090
 Parent occupation -.149 .069 -.071

Model Predictors t Sig. [R.sup.2]

1 (Constant) 7.172 .000 .188
 Subjective norm 13.191 .000
2 (Constant) 2.906 .004 .198
 Subjective norm 11.332 .000
 PBC 3.007 .003
3 (Constant) 3.977 .000 .206
 Subjective norm 11.225 .000
 PBC 3.044 .002
 Gender -2.782 .006
4 (Constant) 0.884 .377 .213
 Subjective norm 10.888 .000
 PBC 2.980 .003
 Gender -2.618 .009
 ATB 2.601 .009
5 (Constant) 1.428 .154 .218
 Subjective norm 10.863 .000
 PBC 2.893 .004
 Gender -2.572 .010
 ATB 2.754 .006
 Parent occupation -2.173 .030

a. Dependent Variable: Entrepreneurial Choice Intentions
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Author:Siong Choy, Chong; Kuppusamy, Jayanty; Jusoh, Mazuki
Publication:International Journal of Entrepreneurship
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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