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Entrepreneurial intention and career choices: The role of volition


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Developing entrepreneurship among students and helping them to build their career plans and improving their employability is the core of public policy in many countries in Europe (Branchet et al. in J Small Bus Enterp Dev 18(2):384–402, 2011). Following some empirical researches (Boissin et al. in J Small Bus Entrep 22(2):101–122, 2009), we know some predictive factors for the emergence of an entrepreneurial project. But another question remains largely unexplored: What are the psychological mechanisms that may interplay in entrepreneurial intention and career choices? Our research aims to demonstrate that entrepreneurship is an objective which relies entirely on willingness, and, therefore, is much more dependent on interpersonal features than on economic and environmental constraints. In particular, we wish to highlight the personal dynamics in shaping, maturing, and implementing a choice of entrepreneurial career in order to extract volitional characteristics of this career choice. The hypotheses are tested using data from interviews conducted with French students in business schools, engineering schools, and universities. Our dynamic approach to study the psychosocial processes involved in the definition of an entrepreneurial career helps to understand the interest of young people in the entrepreneurial process. This research has demonstrated that volition has a key role in binding an individual commitment to an ambitious career objective.
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Entrepreneurial intention and career choices:
the role of volition
S. Nyock Ilouga A. C. Nyock Mouloungni
J. M. Sahut
Accepted: 5 May 2013 / Published online: 29 October 2013
Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013
Abstract Developing entrepreneurship among stu-
dents and helping them to build their career plans and
improving their employability is the core of public
policy in many countries in Europe (Branchet et al. in J
Small Bus Enterp Dev 18(2):384–402, 2011). Follow-
ing some empirical researches (Boissin et al. in J Small
Bus Entrep 22(2):101–122, 2009), we know some
predictive factors for the emergence of an entrepre-
neurial project. But another question remains largely
unexplored: What are the psychological mechanisms
that may interplay in entrepreneurial intention and
career choices? Our research aims to demonstrate that
entrepreneurship is an objective which relies entirely
on willingness, and, therefore, is much more depen-
dent on interpersonal features than on economic and
environmental constraints. In particular, we wish to
highlight the personal dynamics in shaping, maturing,
and implementing a choice of entrepreneurial career in
order to extract volitional characteristics of this career
choice. The hypotheses are tested using data from
interviews conducted with French students in business
schools, engineering schools, and universities. Our
dynamic approach to study the psychosocial processes
involved in the definition of an entrepreneurial career
helps to understand the interest of young people in the
entrepreneurial process. This research has demon-
strated that volition has a key role in binding an
individual commitment to an ambitious career
Keywords Entrepreneurship Career
Volition Entrepreneurial intention
Entrepreneurial project Theory of planned
JEL Classifications L26 M53 J24 H52
1 Introduction
France is among the countries where entrepreneurship
is not frequently considered as a career option. This
has been confirmed for several years by international
studies from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor,
which reveals an established fact: an entrepreneur is
someone whose job is an unusual career in France.
This is particularly true for young graduates of higher
education. Among all the start-ups recorded in 2011,
S. Nyock Ilouga
France Business School and UPO - Universite
´Libre de
Bruxelles (ULB), FBS, 18, Place Saint Michel,
80038 Amiens Cedex 1, France
A. C. Nyock Mouloungni
CREP - University of Libreville & University of Lille 3,
´de Lille 3, Domaine Universitaire du Pont de
Bois, BP 60149, 59653 Villeneuve d’Ascq cedex, France
J. M. Sahut (&)
IPAG Business School Paris and CEREGE EA1722,
University of Poitiers IPAG, 184 Bd Saint-Germain,
75006 Paris, France
Small Bus Econ (2014) 42:717–728
DOI 10.1007/s11187-013-9524-6
only 12 % were actually from young graduates of
higher education (INSEE Premie
`re 2012 http://www.
Today, France and Europe have many obligations
and challenges to develop the entrepreneurial spirit
among students. Over the past decade, research and
training opportunities in entrepreneurship increased
strongly in service education. Encouraging universi-
ties, high schools, incubators, and entrepreneurial
networks to coordinate and develop common tools to
reach the students is the core of public policy in
developing entrepreneurship within this particular
population, as well as helping them to build their
career plans and improving their employability (Bran-
chet et al. 2011). A choice of career becomes
especially crucial because of the current economic
difficulties. The latter do not facilitate vocations
because uncertainty about the future and the prospect
of unemployment reinforce the indecision on the
career choices for many young people. Under these
conditions, entrepreneurship could appear as an
attractive alternative to circumvent unemployment
and offer young people the opportunity to imprint an
original brand into reality while taking into account
the social limitations.
Relying on the knowledge from the field of
educational and vocational orientation, it appears that
the decision is to choose an option among a range of
possibilities, being confronted to the environment,
equipped with our skills, and haunted by our aspira-
tions. The decision appears to be one of the necessary
steps to consider in the construction of one’s career
(Fraccaroli and Vitali 2001). This construction is not
linear given the progression of skills and grades, but
rather a sequence of future career paths. Among the
options, there may be a hierarchy of priorities for
the goals to pursue. Therefore, if the difficulties for
the individual, namely internal and external ones,
hinder the achievement of the higher purpose, the
next goal may become a priority because of its
Theoretical reflections and empirical research from
school psychologists and career advisors revealed that
the choice of an occupation and/or educational
training is a socialization process, in which many
factors and various agents of influence, like family,
friends, and institutions, are involved. They also
identified the elements to build and monitor an
individual’s career: attitude (Battistelli 2001),
interests (Holland 1973), inclination (Cromie 2000),
and intention (Ajzen and Fishbein 1975). Overall, the
research on entrepreneurial career focuses on the
distinction between entrepreneurs and non-entrepre-
neurs to determine the psychological characteristics of
entrepreneurs and explain the interest of certain
persons for an entrepreneurial career. More specifi-
cally, researchers have focused on factors that may
explain this choice, relying in particular on opinions,
perceptions of risks and rewards, self-efficiency,
parental support, motivation, values, the environment,
and attitudes towards self-employment and entrepre-
neurship (Fraccaroli and Vitali 2001; Battistelli 2006;
Odoardi 2008; Gasse 2008; Boissin et al. 2009).
Meanwhile, management researchers were more
interested in understanding the process of entrepre-
neurship (Krueger 1993), mainly from models of
intent, such as the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen
Following these results, we know some predictive
factors for the emergence of an entrepreneurial
project. But another question remains largely unex-
plored: What are the psychological mechanisms that
may interplay in entrepreneurial intention and career
Indeed, it is common to see highly motivated people
with a strong intention to perform an action being
unable to perform the necessary actions to realize this
intention. For some, this incapacity is the result of the
instability of their intentions regarding time (Moreau
and Raveleau 2006). For others, the inherent difficul-
ties in achieving such a goal, despite a challenging
environment and a high level of motivation, evoke a
lack of individual characteristics, which has long been
considered as a virtue by philosophers and as a
‘faculty’’: willingness or volition by psychologists
(Broonen 2007).
Obviously, the problem with studying willingness
is its scientific legitimacy. Indeed, all scientific
literature in psychology has been dominated by a
complete ignorance of volition in the study of human
behavior, but this has recently changed. However, this
philosophy is not widely shared by German psychol-
ogists, including Gollwitzer and his peers (Gollwitzer
and Heckhausen 1987; Gollwitzer 1993; Oettingen
et al. 2000). More recently, it has been emphasized by
Belgian psychologists Broonen (2007,2010), for
whom volition is the process that determines the
transition from intention to action.
718 S. Nyock Ilouga et al.
As a matter of fact, we want to propose a model that
reconciles some theories that are largely validated by
the scientific community, which is the theory of
planned behavior and the theory of reasoned action,
and another less-used theory, i.e. the theory of
volition, in order to examine the relationship between
environmental factors and individual features associ-
ated with volition in the genesis and implementation of
an entrepreneurial intention.
Our approach aims to demonstrate that entrepre-
neurship is an objective which relies entirely on
willingness, and, therefore, it is much more dependent
on interpersonal features than on economic and
environmental constraints. In particular, we wish to
highlight the personal dynamics in shaping, maturing,
and implementing a choice of entrepreneurial career in
order to extract volitional characteristics of this career
The hypotheses are tested using data from inter-
views conducted with French students in business
schools, engineering schools, and universities. The
rest of the paper is structured as follows. We first
present the corpus of literature to which this study
contributes. We then present our hypotheses and
methodology, followed by our empirical analysis.
Finally, we discuss our findings and the implications
for different stakeholders.
2 Literature review
The career plan is defined as a gradual construction
that is rooted in the past, embracing the present and
going beyond it to provide a meaning for the future,
and allowing for the development of the young
person’s identity (Charpentier et al. 1993), is accord-
ing to Forner (1999), an aid to academic success. This
definition is not consensual. Systematic observations
showed that the probability of academic success is
much better for students who have a project as
opposed to those whose decision is subject to other
factors such as parental injunction (Broonen 2007)or
the criteria established by supporting institutions.
However, other studies find no difference between
students who are decided or undecided about their
future (Ashby et al. 1966). Others have even revealed
differences benefiting the undecided (Forner and
Autret 2000).
We know that indecision in the choice of a training
or work is an indicator of a lack of purpose (Forner
1999). Crites (1969) has linked indecision to the
inability to make a choice in questioning people’s
future intentions. These intentions, that is to say
orientation or insertion, are constructed on the basis of
information on persons or professions. When infor-
mation is insufficient, it can lead to a state of
indecision (Campbell and Cellini 1981). Generally,
including Ajzen and Fishbein (1980), Gollwitzer
(1993) and Kuhl (1985), the probability that an
individual moves into entrepreneurship depends on a
number of factors including personality, environmen-
tal opportunities, social skills, and aspirations. In this
respect, vocational decision-making is rather the result
of the capacity assessment to carry out the project and
to master the environment. However, the realization of
one’s project will depend not only on the professional
objectives and personal success but also and especially
on one’s perceived and real skills, volitional abilities,
and orientation towards action. In the theory of
planned behavior (TCP; Ajzen and Madden 1986),
the intention is predicted by attitudes towards the
behavior, perceived behavioral control, and the
subjective norm. The individual will only adopt a
certain behavior over which he has some level of
control, which he believes he is able to complete
successfully, and that gives him real pleasure.
This ability to control the behavior recalls the
notion of action control issued by Kuhl (1985). The
action control is the self-regulatory mechanism that
mediates between intention and action. Kuhl (1982)
hypothesized that individuals differ in their willing-
ness to control their actions, i.e. oriented state versus
orientation towards action, but also on the proportion
of intentions turned into behavior. In this way, the
orientation towards action refers to a person who
generally tends to approach things proactively while
those ‘‘state-oriented’’ persons reflect the inertia
action. Investigations conducted in the control action
theory and its ability to predict the action in various
fields has been relatively successful. A study by
Bagozzi et al. (1992) on the intention to use the
coupons and use them effectively in a supermarket
showed that orientation towards action increases the
relative importance of attitudes, but lessens the impact
of subjective norms on intention. Thus, attitudes
towards behavior are more important in the formation
Entrepreneurial intention and career choices 719
of intentions in action-oriented people than for ‘‘ori-
ented state’’ people and vice versa. Although these
researchers have used the theory of reasoned action
and not the TCP (Hale et al. 2003), it appears
necessary to integrate volitional skills of self-regula-
tion in the TCP, as the behavioral control structure is a
main part in volitional models.
For a long time, volition has been neglected in
psychology. However, with the advent of behavior-
ism, it has become an important feature in the field of
training and orientation. Indeed, the motivational
processes account for the decision to act, but they do
not explain how the individual protects his intention
from potential detractors and implements necessary
actions. It is at this level that the concept of volition is
so important, especially for activities where the
difference between the formulation of the objective
and its implementation requires a long-term work,
such as entrepreneurship. Defined as the sum of mental
events or activities through which an agent con-
sciously and actively exercises its potential agent to
voluntarily direct his or her thoughts and action (Zhu
2004), volition is only possible because of the
construction of an object’s representation, knowledge,
and inference. The implementation of this volition
results in a succession of phases that characterize the
action phase’s model of Gollwitzer (1996):
Pre-decisional phase: in the process of choosing a
type of action, deciding on a behavior is a
momentary ‘‘mental action’’ that is resolved in
the formation of an intention to have the behavior
(Mele 2000), depending on the importance of its
desirability and feasibility, and then transforms it
into a target—‘‘goal intention’’—leading the indi-
vidual to be committed to the implementation of
specific actions to achieve the pursued objective.
The pre-action phase has a specificity regarding the
activation of volitional control processes, deter-
mining the implementation of the objective. These
processes are designed to protect the goal intention
of ‘‘distractors’’ through self-defensive mecha-
nisms and activate the cognitive means to achieve
it. To translate this transition from a state of
deliberation to a sense of commitment, Gollwitzer
and Heckhausen (1987) used the metaphor of
crossing the Rubicon. It clarifies the transition from
a motivational—pre-decision phase to a volitional
phase—pre-action. As previously suggested the
decision puts an end to the debate and confines the
individual to a mental state of execution—imple-
mental mindsets—for the goal intention.
The third phase is the so-called action phase in
which the individual realizes his goal concretely
and consciously. The skills for actions develop-
ment, namely orientation towards action, concen-
tration, and proactivity intervene in this phase. The
level of volitional strength depends on the per-
ceived feasibility and the desirability of the
objective, before choosing one. However, this
strength may vary depending on the experience of
the individual. If the person ignores or is not
sensitive to situations favorable to the execution of
the behavior, volitional strength may decrease over
time. On the other hand, it may increase either
unexpectedly or when the person encounters
obstacles. Once the actions are taken, the person
goes to the fourth phase called post-action.
Finally, the post-action phase consists in evaluat-
ing the degree of achievement and interest to
continue its action. At this point, two possibilities
may arise: to make adjustments or to abandon the
goal. The person can improve his or her chances
for success by adding new intentions or neglecting
the consequences of the goal. If no measures are
taken, or if all efforts fail, the goal intention may
remain at a cognitive stage transforming the
individual into a procrastinator (Emmons and
Ferrari 1995).
In addition, it is important to note that the
distinction between motivation and volition is still
very dimly shaped because the literature on motivation
includes volition and vice versa (Forstmeier and
¨ddel 2008). A close examination of the Rubicon
model of Gollwitzer (1996) reveals a distinction
between volition and motivation, which can be
expressed in terms of degree. First motivation
emerges, which helps people to choose and set a goal
to pursue. Second, volition is triggered, which pushes
the individual to progress towards his or her goal.
Therefore, the intention can be found in the interaction
between motivation and volition. For Corno (2004),
volition controls intentions and impulses so that the
intended action is achieved regardless of the difficul-
ties and obstacles. Volitional processes protect the
intention from actions in competition with other
potential distractions. Thus, our point of view is
720 S. Nyock Ilouga et al.
identical to the one of Kuhl (1985) and Corno (2004),
that is to say, motivation may lead individuals to
initiate actions, while volition leads them to continue
the action track they seek to achieve while protecting it
from distractors.
In the present work, we refer to volition as the
expression of volitional capacity. We postulate that,
when the student or budding entrepreneur is in a
volitional state of mind, he or she begins by focusing
on how to proceed to achieve the desired goal. In line
with the work of Corno and Kanfer (1993), Kuhl
(1985), and Gollwitzer (1993), we conceptualize
motivation and volition as distinct concepts, but they
are interactive.
3 Hypotheses and methodology
3.1 Research hypotheses
Our research is based on the theoretical models of
planned behavior and reasoned action, which explains
entrepreneurial behavior through an intention to
perform the behavior. Among these models, those
who integrate, even partially, volitional and motiva-
tional factors seem most likely to account for the
determinants of intention depending on the imple-
mentation (Hale et al. 2003). Indeed, one cannot
simply consider the background of intention in terms
of motivation, because an individual, being discom-
forted by the pursuit of his or her purpose or
professional project, or even in setting it, must use
his or her volitional resources to achieve it.
The literature on intention (Ajzen and Fishbein
1980; Ajzen 2002) reveals that the intention is
determined by one’s attitude towards behavior, the
subjective norm, and the behavioral control. In
addition, further research on entrepreneurial intention
has shown that the construction of entrepreneurship
seems to originate from the opinions on entrepreneur-
ship and entrepreneurs, motivation (Battistelli 2001),
self-efficiency (Boyd and Vozikis 1994), and expec-
tations (Battistelli et al. 2003). Even though there is no
evidence of a direct relationship between intentions
and certain career choices, we can assume that the
choice of an occupation depends on the behavioral
intention. This intention can be acquired from both
personal and social characteristics.
Considering that the idea of devising an entrepre-
neurial project is a long process that requires an
individual commitment and a particular persistence in
the pursuit of the goal in spite of some obstacles as
well as mobilization of the volitional skills, we suggest
the following two hypotheses:
(H1) Students wishing to start-up a business express
a higher degree of self-regulation than those who wish
to have a paid job.
(H2) Volitional skills, and in particular self-regula-
tion, broadcast the impacts of views on entrepreneurial
We made used a quantitative approach through a
structured questionnaire involving a large number of
tools based on a comparison of attractions for entre-
preneurial careers in opposition to employee careers.
3.2 Measurement of variables
3.2.1 Future intentions
People were asked about the interest they perceive in a
career in public, private, and independent sectors. We
used the scale developed by Battistelli (2001), trans-
lated into French by Lemoine and Nettersheim (2008),
and which is made up of two dimensions: the level of
definition of the professional project, and the choice of
a professional sector for the future. The level of
definition of the project has eight items, like ‘‘I have no
clear idea about my future.’’ The choice of the
professional sector has ten items: four items for the
interest in careers in the public and/or private, such as
‘I intend to work in the private sector’’ and six items
for the interest in entrepreneurial career like ‘‘My
career goal is to become an entrepreneur’’ (Lin
´n and
Chen’s 2009 scale). In the same way as professional
aspirations, we asked participants to comment on their
intended project training, such as ‘‘I intend after my
Bachelor’s Degree, to go on specialized courses, to
undertake an optional internship, a Doctorate, or a
Master’s Degree’’. It appears that the higher the score
on this scale, the more accurate is the project.
3.2.2 Opinions
The scale used is the short version (Battistelli and
Nyock 2008) of the original scale developed by
Entrepreneurial intention and career choices 721
Battistelli (2001). This new version includes 18 items
distributed in five dimensions. The Benefactor dimen-
sion contains five items, e.g. ‘‘the entrepreneur
provides economic welfare to society.’’ The Commit-
ment and capacity dimension has four items e.g. ‘‘an
entrepreneur must have many abilities to succeed.’’
There are three items that measure the Exploitative
dimension. For instance, ‘‘to achieve the greatest
benefits, the entrepreneur is willing to do anything.’’
The Positive opportunism dimension has three items,
for example, ‘‘A successful entrepreneur must find
good opportunities.’’ Finally, three items measure the
Sacrifice dimension such as ‘‘the entrepreneur takes
risks for the development of the community.’’
3.2.3 Volitional skills
Following the work of Kuhl (2000), we focus our
study on the volitional skills of self-regulation. This
skills assess the capacity of the individual to use his
psychological functions including motivation, deter-
mination, and strength in the pursuit of the goal, and
also personal initiative. Then, self-regulation is
decomposed in self-determination, self-motivation,
and resistance to uncertainty about the future. ‘‘Self-
determination’’ refers to one’s ability to confidently
present his or her goals and ambitions as well as how to
implement them successfully. ‘‘Self-motivation’’
translates the ability to maintain a high level of
motivation regardless of the context. ‘‘Resistance to
uncertainty’’ refers to the ability to regulate one’s
internal level of tension to calm down when he or she
feels plagued by negative emotions.
There are several such measures of these dimen-
sions in the literature, but there is a consensus over the
questionnaire developed by Fuhrmann and Kuhl
(1998): ‘‘the Volitional Questionnaire Component’’
(VCQ-3). We thus translated the scale into French.
The scale is constructed on the basis of the action
control theory (Beckhmann and Kuhl 1985).
Three items were used to measure the ‘‘self-
determination’’ dimension: e.g. ‘‘Most of the time, I
realize the goals I set for myself.’’ Two items assess
‘self-motivation’’, like ‘‘I know exactly how to
motivate myself when my enthusiasm diminishes,’’
and two others items evaluate ‘‘resistance to uncer-
tainty/’’ In addition, the ‘‘personal initiative’’ scale
used is the one developed by Battistelli (2001). It has
eight items with five possible answers, such as ‘‘I use
every opportunity to achieve my goals/’’ It evaluates
the behavior of the individual using an active and
spontaneous approach in relationship with the goals
and the action. All these dimensions are measured
using a Likert scale with four points.
3.3 Sample and data collection
This study focuses on French students in business
schools, schools of engineering, and universities. Our
choice concerns institutions having approximately the
same characteristics: public or affiliated, admitted or
selected student on the basis of an entrance exam or
after obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree, an available
career guidance service, and realizing the existence of
entrepreneurship in the curriculum. These criteria, as
well as the accessibility of schools, led us to work with
two business schools; the Amiens School of Manage-
ment (ESC Amiens), and the Institute of Business
Administration of Grenoble (IAE Grenoble), the
Schools of Electrical and Electronics Engineers of
Paris and Amiens (ESIEE), the University of Lille 3,
and the University of Montpellier 3. All these
institutions are located in urban areas. All the data
have been collected between September 2010 and
May 2011, using a structured questionnaire consisting
of the scales explained in the previous paragraph. The
mode of gathering information was self-administra-
tion assisted by a teacher or by ourselves, which we
felt was the most appropriate informative mode for
students to answer, especially in terms of rates and
4 Results
The persons involved in this study are students from
French schools of management, engineering schools,
and universities. The sample consisted of 1,630
subjects of whom 58.9 % are female and 41.1 % are
male. We observe that girls have especially benefited
from the democratization of higher education that
France experienced, starting from the mid-twentieth
century. Since the 1970s, girls have exceeded boys in
terms of academic success and headcount. This trend
is thriving and it is definitely expected to lead to a
higher rate of girls compared to that of boys. The
respondents were 17–29 years old with an average age
of 20.02. They show some level of knowledge about
722 S. Nyock Ilouga et al.
entrepreneurship. Indeed, 22.69 % of them know at
least one entrepreneur among the members of their
families and 18.40 % know one among friends. Of our
1,630 respondents, 1,010 were willing to give us
information about the entrepreneurial activity of their
parents. In fact, 4.29 % have a parent who has a trade
company and 3.68 % have a parent who works in
agriculture. And 75 % of the respondents have already
had a work experience in catering, sales, or entertain-
ment, especially as a seasonal employee in summer.
These account for 40 %.
4.1 Constructing future intentions among students
Career choices refer to the career intentions of
students: those intentions can be either for an entre-
preneurship or a paid occupation. Our results show
that 26.99 % of the surveyed students have a struc-
tured and a final career scheme, among them 240 girls
and 200 boys. However, 16.56 % are yet undecided;
they do not have clear ideas about their future, and,
therefore, they are yet unable to envisage a career plan.
Finally, 56.44 % have no specific project at all.
Given the uneven distribution in numbers between
girls and boys in our sample, we wanted to test the null
hypothesis of proportional formulation of professional
projects based on gender. This assumption is founded
on the idea that the courses and educational experi-
ences are often gendered. In addition, the orientation
of boys and girls does commonly reflect stereotypes
and prejudices that limit their course. The results of
Pearson’s Chi-squared show that the two variables are
independent. In other words, the formulation of
professional projects does not follow the distribution
of the workforce by gender (Table 1).
The formulated projects consist of the following:
11.04 % want to become an entrepreneur, 11.04 %
expressed their desire to have a job in the private
sector, 5.52 % would like to work in the public sector,
and 46.62 % intende to continue their studies until
Master’s Degree or Doctorate. We also found that
25.76 % were still undecided. The majority of girl
students whose career plan is structured (240) want to
continue their studies beyond Master’s, while male
students whose professional project appears structured
(200) are oriented towards both long studies and
entrepreneurship. Thus, despite the initial imbalance,
the number of boys (40) who consider working as an
entrepreneur are equivalent to that of girls (50). It
appears in general that, when the professional project
is not structured, students both girls and boys will
indicate that they are either undecided or attracted to
accomplish further studies. Finally, we note that the
Pearson’s Chi-squared (v
=31.42, df =17)
revealed that these three variables, i.e. gender, matu-
ration of the project, and career choice, are related (at
the 5 % significance level).
From the identification of the projects, we define
four sub-groups of students in our analysis: students
considering an entrepreneurial career (EN), students
who wish to pursue further studies in higher education
(ET), students who prefer a paid professional career
(S), and finally undecided students (IN).
4.2 The role of volitional self-regulation skills
Referring to hypothesis H1, the comparison between
the levels of volitional self-regulation skills of the
students based on the four types of project output
reveals a lack of statistically significant differences.
However, as shown in Chart 1, some variations appear
when performing a more detailed comparison by using
the planned comparisons of statistical post hoc. Thus,
there are significant differences between students who
long for having a job (S) and those considering an
entrepreneurial career (EN), or between students who
wish to continue their studies until the Master’s
Degree and PhD (ET) and those who want to embrace
the entrepreneurial career (EN). The following chart
summarizes these observations (Fig. 1).
The level of self-determination for students who
wish to become entrepreneurs (mean =3.4) is higher
Table 1 Distribution of the sample by gender
Frequency distribution by gender
Numbers [10 highlighted
Gender SC-PROF R
(PS) structured
(PP) none
Total per
Female 240 580 140 960
54.54 % 63.04 % 51.85 % 58.90 %
Male 200 340 130 670
45.46 % 36.96 % 48.15 % 41.10 %
All 440 920 270 1,630
26.99 % 56.44 % 16.56 %
SC-PROF R denotes the maturity of the professional project among students.
This variable divides students into three categories: PS students with a
structured project; PP students who do not have professional project and PC
students whose career plan is being developed
Entrepreneurial intention and career choices 723
than for students who want regular occupation
(mean =2.8). In other words, the students who wish
to become entrepreneurs do it because entrepreneur-
ship is more adapted to their personal aspirations than
paid profession. He or she has a strategy to achieve his
or her objective and it focuses on his or her entire
attention and emotions (Fig. 2).
Regarding the proficiency in volitional self-moti-
vation, our results show a slight difference distinguish-
ing students who are considering an entrepreneurial
career. In fact, students who wish to pursue an
entrepreneurial activity (mean =3.05) have a high
level of self-motivation compared to students who are
undecided (mean =2.59) or those who are consider-
ing a longer academic path (mean =2.92). In other
words, students who have an entrepreneurial project in
the short term know how to maintain, without external
interference, a motivation level that is high enough to
act according to their objectives, as opposed to those
who envisage looking for a job.
The difference in the level of resistance to the
uncertainty about the future (Fig. 3) shows a statistically
Projects - Courant Effect: F(3, 1590)=2,0950, p=,10303
Fig. 1 Difference in the
level of self-determination
in accordance with the
project type.
EN entrepreneur, ST further
studies, IN undecided,
Spaid employment
PROJECTS - Courant Effect : F(3, 1590)=1,5105, p=,21388
Fig. 2 Difference in level
of self-motivation based on
the project type.
EN entrepreneur, ST further
studies, IN undecided,
Spaid employment
724 S. Nyock Ilouga et al.
significant difference between students who want to
shift to an entrepreneurial career and those who wish to
continue their studies (respectively, Avg =6.49 and
Avg =5.66; F=2.3, p=.048). There is also a slight
difference between the students who are considering an
entrepreneurial career and those seeking work (respec-
tively, Avg =6.49 and Avg =6.20). That is to say,
students who wish to become entrepreneurs consider
their future with greater confidence than others.
4.3 Interaction between opinions and volitional
Opinions on entrepreneurs and their professions are
not crucial predictors per se of the entrepreneurial
intention. However, when opinions concerning (1) the
opportunistic behavior and (2) the commitment and
skills of the entrepreneur are interacting, respectively,
with (1) initiative and (2) determination, it seems
championing the development of entrepreneurial
intentions among students.
Indeed, the perception of the entrepreneur as
‘opportunistic’’ hinders the development of entrepre-
neurial intention and seems to act as an inhibitor
(b=-2.52, p=.002), until it is associated with a
proactive personality. Entrepreneurship then becomes
perceived as a concrete professional alternative
(b=.49, p=.0083).
The opinion on entrepreneurs’ commitment and
skills is not likely to be decisive for an entrepreneurial
career choice unless people are able to act with self-
determination (b=.52, p=.0073). Moreover, the
concept of the entrepreneur further ‘‘sacrificing’’
himself reinforces the desire to pursue studies rather
than going to work, especially among students who
seem attracted by entrepreneurship. They are basically
different in their efforts to realize their entrepreneurial
project, except in cases of students having a strong
resistance to the idea of uncertainty about the future,
namely through control of stress levels, inner tension,
and anxiety, or if studying is not likely to be a desired
alternative (b=.24, p=.02). These observations are
consistent with the hypothesis H2.
5 Discussion
This research aims to bring about the psychosocial
characteristics that contribute to a better understand-
ing of the process of an entrepreneurial career choice.
We focused our attention on the role of volitional skills
in vocational orientation. The intention has been
considered as a preceding feature of a career choice
and a factor of influence and determination during the
moments of transition from the shaping of choices to
the implementation of concrete activities.
The fact that a significant proportion of students
who are enrolled at the university have no professional
project and show indecision about the future is once
again verified here (Rossi-Neves and Rousset 2010).
PROJECTS - Effet courant : F(3, 1590)=1,9821, p=,11883
Resistance to the uncertainty
Fig. 3 Difference in level
of resistance to the
uncertainty about the future
according to the project
type. EN entrepreneur,
ST further studies,
IN undecided, Spaid
Entrepreneurial intention and career choices 725
The economic crisis which has affected all countries
since the summer of 2007 accounts for the increase in
this phenomenon. Multiple relocations and several
immediate measures, like offshoring, reforms, job
losses, etc., do not predict a better future for students.
Students are particularly concerned about their pro-
fessional future because they focus on dependent work
as opposed to those who see their future career in the
field of entrepreneurship. Unlike the dependent work,
there is no incentive bonus to entrepreneurial work.
Therefore, commitment to entrepreneurial activity is
self-determined. The individual makes his or her
choice to become an entrepreneur in spite of some
inevitable obstacles and possible economic and envi-
ronmental constraints. This commitment indicates
personal dispositions such as self-motivation and the
necessary skills to persevere in the entrepreneurial
process, particularly because it presents pitfalls that
are likely to affect the level of one’s commitment to
entrepreneurial activity.
Specifically, we sought to highlight the role of
volitional skills in the conception of an intention to
become an entrepreneur (H2). Unlike what has been
demonstrated previously by some authors including
Battistelli (2001), the viewpoints that people have on
the entrepreneur and entrepreneurship, mainly posi-
tive opportunism, high skill, risk, and sacrifice, do not
exclusively contribute to the development of entre-
preneurial intention. This is still the case even when
the entrepreneur is considered a ‘‘benefactor’’ or
‘exploiter’’. However, opinions commonly shared on
the entrepreneur as an ‘‘opportunistic’’, ‘‘competent’’,
‘committed’’, and ‘‘sacrificing’’ do influence the
development of entrepreneurial intention when they
are matched to skills such as having initiative, self-
determination, and resistance to the uncertainty about
the future. Such opinions as ‘‘opportunistic’’ and
‘sacrificing’’ are loaded with negative connotations
that may justify the reluctance of people to privilege
these businesses. The introduction of volitional com-
petencies in this context is accounted for by the fact
that they seem to determine the level of one’s
commitment to achieve a difficult goal.
More over, this is particularly true, because the
individuals who are reluctant vis-a
`-vis the entrepre-
neur profession must demonstrate some resistance
against the uncertainty about the future through their
self-motivation, self-determination, and initiative so
as to overcome their fears and worries. Considering
the theoretical propositions of Gollwitzer (1993) that
the mechanisms of volition occur when the individual
undertakes the achievement of his or her objective, our
results instead argue that certain significant skills like
self-determination, initiative, and resistance to the
uncertainty about the future are required in defining
the objective to be pursued, according to its level of
difficulty. These results show that the commitment to
the profession of entrepreneur is considered as long,
complicated, loaded with obstacles, difficult to
achieve, and requires the volitional individual skills
(H1) that will enable the person to protect his or her
goal from distractors, to persevere, and to optimize the
plausibility of achieving it.
6 Conclusion
Psychological research in entrepreneurship intends to
clarify the psychological characteristics in an entre-
preneurial career through volitional competence and
this is just beginning. In this respect, the results
presented here must therefore be considered with
caution. The originality of this work is to have
introduced these skills in explaining the entrepreneur-
ial intention. If the entrepreneurial choice is, actually,
an objective that is pursued by a person’s will, it
should pertain to the personal factors rather than
economic and environmental constraints.
The dynamic approach adopted in this work to
study the psychosocial processes involved in the
definition of an entrepreneurial career helps to under-
stand the interest of young people in the entrepreneur-
ial process. This research has demonstrated that
volition has a key role in binding an individual
commitment to an ambitious career objective.
This is a first step in this direction that may lay the
foundations for a variety of future research perspec-
tives. The first perspective could relate to the rela-
tionship between the process of defining a career and
the skills of an individual. It is not only a matter of
essential know-how, expertise, or simple knowledge
as a sufficient condition for a career choice but also the
interaction between these structures and volitional
competencies. The actors of vocational orientation
have to take into account the psychological processes
involved in making career decisions and to prepare
their beneficiaries to the strategies leading them to the
goal. The second perspective relates to checking these
726 S. Nyock Ilouga et al.
results on a larger sample of students including those
who are already decided to set up on a business
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... Other scholars [27] confirmed that a strong predictor of entrepreneurial intentions is social norms. On the other hand, a study conducted by [28] concluded that personal factors such as volition play a crucial role in an individual"s career intention rather than economic and environmental constraints [28]. Entrepreneurial Intent Model [29] were created the Entrepreneurial Intent Model ( Figure 2) which was tested empirically with 512 engineering students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). ...
... Other scholars [27] confirmed that a strong predictor of entrepreneurial intentions is social norms. On the other hand, a study conducted by [28] concluded that personal factors such as volition play a crucial role in an individual"s career intention rather than economic and environmental constraints [28]. Entrepreneurial Intent Model [29] were created the Entrepreneurial Intent Model ( Figure 2) which was tested empirically with 512 engineering students at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). ...
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... Dans ce cadre, des etudes sur le comportement des entrepreneurs ont mis en evidence que leur attitude et d ecision de cr eer face au risque entrepreneurial d ecoulent de la repr esentation qu'ils s'en font, c'est-a-dire la mani ere dont ils appr ehendent l'information et les stimuli qui leur parviennent (Nyock Ilouga et al. 2014). Cette repr esentation d epend alors non seulement de leurs caract eristiques personnelles (dont leur profil et capacit e a assumer le risque), mais egalement de l'analyse de l'environnement (Hentic-Giliberto 2016). ...
ABSTRACT This paper aims to analyse the effect of gender on perceptions of risk related to the decision to set up a business, as part of individual and team entrepreneurship in Cameroon. Methodologically, the assessment of the assumptions made is underpinned by the implementation of linear regression and comparison tests on the data collected by questionnaire from 481 project leaders (413 individuals and 68 groups). The results show that the risk associated with the decision to start a business is perceived differently by gender and the gendered composition of groups, when it comes to group entrepreneurship. More specifically, they reveal that women perceive starting a business as riskier than men do. As for groups, mixed teams are less averse to the risk of creation than the women’s group, and more than the men’s group.
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Youth unemployment rates present an issue both in developing and developed countries. The importance of analyzing entrepreneurial activities comes from their significant role in economic development and economic growth. In this study, a 10-year research was conducted. The dataset included 5670 participants—students from Serbia. The main goal of the study is to attempt to predict entrepreneurial intentions among the Serbian youth by analyzing demographics characteristics, close social environment, attitudes, awareness of incentive means, and environment assessment as potential influencing factors. The data analysis included Chi-square, Welch’s t-test, z-test, linear regression, binary logistic regression, ARIMA (Autoregressive Integrated Moving Average) regression, and a QUEST (Quick, Unbiased, Efficient, Statistical Tree) classification tree algorithm. The results are interesting and indicate that entrepreneurial intentions can be partially predicted using the dataset in this current study. Further, most likely due to the robust dataset, the results are not complementary with similar studies in this domain; therefore, these findings expand the current literature and invite future research.
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The theory of reasoned action In his exploration of the parameters of Persuasion, Miller (1980; see Chapter 1 in this volume) wrote that Persuasion was an indirectly coercive process. His position was based on two arguments. First, he suggested that any coercion that accompanied Persuasive attempts was a natural part of the social process. For example, by voting for Candidate X in an election, the voter is potentially deprived of any of the benefits of being represented by Candidate Y or Candidate Z. Miller also argued that when Persuasion involved more direct coercion, it occurred only after a Period of reasoned message exchange. In essence, Miller's position was that Persuasion is a process of influencing behaviors that are voluntary and necessarily involve conscious decision making—in other words, volitional behaviors. Over the years, considerable attention has been paid in both academic research and applied communication campaigns to modifying volitional behaviors. Born ...
"It is not thought as such that can move anything, but thought which is for the sake of something and is practical." This discerning insight, which dates back more than 2000years to Aristotle, seems to have been ignored by most psycholo­ gists. For more than 40years theories of human action have assumed that cogni­ tion and action are merely two sides of the same coin. Approaches as different as S-O-R behaviorism,social learning theory, consistency theories,and expectancy­ value theories of motivation and decision making have one thing in common: they all assume that "thought (or any other type of cognition) can move any­ thing," that there is a direct path from cognition to behavior. In recent years, we have become more and more aware of the complexities in­ volved in the relationship between cognition and behavior. People do not always do what they intend to do. Aside from several nonpsychological factors capable of reducing cognition-behavior consistency, there seems to be a set of complex psychological mechanisms which intervene between action-related cognitions, such as beliefs, expectancies, values, and intentions,and the enactment of the be­ havior suggested by those cognitions. In our recent research we have focused on volitional mechanismus which presumably enhance cognition-behavior consistency by supporting the main­ tenance of activated intentions and prevent them from being pushed aside by competing action tendencies.
This research paper analyzes the differences in sensibility regarding the creation of enterprises among French and American students. The research measures not only students’ intentions to start up an enterprise but also their attitudes toward the creation of an enterprise, their perceptions of social norms and their feelings of being able to manage the entrepreneurial process. The research compares their beliefs in order to identify differences and similarities. The paper analyzes the professional values of students (i.e. the professional characteristics which they value), their vision of entrepreneurship (the needs they think will be satisfied by entrepreneurship), and their degree of confidence in their capabilities to properly manage tasks deemed critical to starting a new business via the entrepreneurial process. Descriptive and data analyses are run on the results of a questionnaire administrated to 272 American students enrolled in marketing and management classes at the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University (GA) and 340 French students, studying economics and management at the Université Pierre Mendès France (Grenoble 2). The results show that the intention to start up a company is stronger in the US than in France, and show important differences in beliefs. Taking into consideration the whole sample, first we have control beliefs, and then, behavioral beliefs, which explain students’ entrepreneurship intentions. We thus characterize three clusters of students with homogeneous entrepreneurship behaviors. Because nationality clearly comes to light, we pursue the analyses separately for each country and we describe, in this way, three typical behaviors for each.