Content uploaded by Evgueni Vinogradov
All content in this area was uploaded by Evgueni Vinogradov on Nov 27, 2014
Content may be subject to copyright.
Article Title Page
PREDICTING ENTERPRENEURIAL INTENTIONS WHEN SATISFACTORY EMPLOYMENT
OPPORTUNITIES ARE SCARCE
Author Details (please list these in the order they should appear in the published article)
Nordland Research Institute
Bodø Graduate School of Business
University of Nordland
Bodø Graduate School of Business
University of Nordland
Corresponding author: Konstantin Timoshenko
Corresponding Author’s Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check this box if you do not wish your email address to be published
Acknowledgments (if applicable):
Biographical Details (if applicable):
Evgueni Vinogradov graduated from the University of Economics and Finance in St. Petersburg (Russia) in
1999 and defended his Ph.D. dissertation at Bodø Graduate School of Business (Norway) in 2008. The title
of the dissertation was “Entrepreneurship among Immigrants in Norway”. Vinogradov has been employed as
a senior researcher by Nordland Research Institute since January 2009. His academic interests include
entrepreneurship, behaviour, decision making and cognitive processes.
Lars Kolvereid is Professor of Entrepreneurship at Bodø Graduate School of Business, University of
Nordland. He received his PhD in management from Henley Management College in 1985. Kolvereid has
published many articles in refereed journals and have supervised 20 doctoral students. His research interests
include entrepreneurial intentions and endeavours and new venture performance.
Konstantin Timoshenko holds a doctoral degree from Bodø Graduate School of Business, University of
Nordland. He is currently employed as an associate professor there, teaching courses in financial and
managerial accounting. His research interests are predominantly in the domain of public
sector reforms in general, and changes in public sector accounting in particular. Timoshenko
has been actively involved in retraining discharged military personnel in Ukraine and Russia
on a programme sponsored by the Norwegian Government.
Type footer information here
Type header information here
Purpose – The present survey seeks to investigate the moderating effect of the availability of employee
positions on the configuration of intention to start a business in the post-Soviet context. The research
question is whether the perceived availability of employment opportunities moderates the relationship
between entrepreneurial intention and its antecedents.
Design/methodology/approach – The sample for this study consists of 276 military officers from the Armed
Forces of Ukraine who transferred into the reserve and undertook a retraining programme designed by a
Norwegian business school.
Findings – The results indicate that the availability of satisfactory employment moderates the relationship
between subjective norm and entrepreneurial intentions, so that the subjective norm is even more important
when employment opportunities are scarce. In contrast with this result, the availability of satisfactory
employment opportunities was found not to have a moderating effect on the relationship between attitudes
and intentions or the relationship between perceived behavioural control and intentions.
Research limitations/implications – When jobs are scarce, the intention to start a business is more strongly
influenced by the extent of support from relatives, friends and significant others. In such conditions, it is
important that individuals are surrounded by people who are willing to support them if they engage in an
entrepreneurial endeavour. Business training programmes aimed at improved attitudes and perceived
behavioural control are also expected to be effective in crises and in transitional economies. The limitations
of this study are related to the possibility of generalizing results from a study in a specific context, and the
use of an imperfect measure of perceived availability of employment opportunities.
Originality/value – The availability of employee positions, as an alternative to an entrepreneurial career
path, plays an important part in the configuration of the intention to start a venture. The attractiveness of
alternative career options should be included in future studies of entrepreneurial intentions and endeavours.
theory of planned behavior, entrepreneurship, necessity, employment opportunities, Ukraine,
Article Classification: Research paper
For internal production use only
Predicting entrepreneurial intentions when satisfactory employment
opportunities are scarce
The theory of planned behaviour (Ajzen, 1991) has been widely used as a tool for
explaining entrepreneurial intentions. One of its underlying assumptions is that an individual
can select at will from a number of alternatives that are available. In conditions where the job
market is failing and the social security system is collapsing, the range of options may be
severely constrained. Such conditions can be found in many less developed economies as well
as those in transition. The present study investigates how the theory of planned behaviour may
be applied in Ukraine, a country which has an economy that is in transition, and which has
been severely affected by the economic meltdown. The research question is whether the
availability of perceived employment opportunities moderates the relationship between
entrepreneurial intention and its antecedents. In contrast with previous research, which has,
for the most part, focused exclusively on students, the sample for this study consists of 276
military officers from the Armed Forces of Ukraine who transferred into the reserve and
undertook a retraining programme designed by a Norwegian business school.
The structure of this manuscript is as follows. First, the research setting is described.
After the introduction of the theoretical framework, previous research is reviewed and
hypotheses are derived. Thereafter, the methodology used is described in detail, before the
results and statistical analyses are presented. Finally, public policy implications and
limitations of the survey are discussed.
When the Communist era closed at the end of the 1980s, many Central and Eastern European
countries embarked on a transformation from centrally-planned to market-based economies.
What was considered an appropriate way of “doing business” during Soviet times was no
longer congruent with new realities. The privatization of previously state-run businesses and
the creation of completely new private entrepreneurial firms were intended to contribute to the
transition toward a democratic, market-based society. While some Central and Eastern
European countries have thrived in coping with these new realities, others have fallen short of
expectations for various reasons (Aidis et al., 2007; Danis and Shipilov, 2002). Hence, it is
not appropriate to think of all transitional nations as though they constitute one
undifferentiated or homogenous group. Some of these countries are still centrally-planned
economies under authoritarian regimes while others have become functioning market
economies under democratically elected governments.
Ukraine became independent when the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991. With an
area of 603,628 km², Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe, after Russia. Based on
the World Bank classification
, it is a lower middle-income economy, with GDP per capita
(adjusted for the Purchasing Power Parity) estimated at $6,700 in 2010. The population
dwindled catastrophically during the 1980-2000 period, but since then the birth rate has been
comparable with the European average. As of January 1
2012, the country had a population
of about 45.6 million people, 77.8 per cent of whom were ethnic Ukrainians, with sizable
minority of Russians making up another 17 per cent (State Statistics Committee of Ukraine,
2012). The independence of Ukraine sparked off a period of transition to a market economy,
starting with an eight-year recession, followed by a period of rapid increase in GDP. The 2008
worldwide economic downturn hit Ukraine hard, and GDP plummeted 20 per cent between
the spring of 2008 and the spring of 2009. After that the economy has recovered, and the
country remains a significant player in the world economy. Ukraine’s economic successes
include the fact that it is the world’s third largest exporter of grain in 2011 (UkrAgroConsult,
According to the methodology of the International Labour Organization
unemployment rate in Ukraine increased from a record low of 6.5 per cent in September 2008
to an all time high of 10.3 per cent in March 2009. It was most recently reported as being 9.1
per cent in the first quarter of 2012 (Trading Economics, 2012). While many Ukrainian firms
encounter a lack of skilled personnel, a great number of university graduates cannot find
employment, or end up in jobs that do not use their skills due to a skills mismatch (World
Ukraine lags far behind many of the former Soviet-bloc nations in terms of general
economic growth and entrepreneurial development. Ukraine has often been criticized for slow
and indecisive reforms, and most procedures are still more suited to the Soviet “command and
control” style than to a modern market environment. For example, the 2012 World Bank
Doing Business Report ranked the country 152
out of 183 nations in the world in terms of
ease of doing business (World Bank, 2012b). Ukraine has also been notorious for its
unprecedented political struggle, for the size of its shadow economy, for changing legislation
and for heavy dependence on external donors such as the IMF to keep the economy afloat. All
these issues have had a dramatic effect on the Ukrainian people in general and military
personnel in particular.
After the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine inherited a military force on its
territory that employed 780,000 people. Although the military has undergone a sharp
reduction in numbers since then, the Ukraine’s military remains the second largest in Europe,
after that of Russia. The Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) were reduced by about 115,000
servicemen from 2000 to 2004, and they constituted about 221,000 employees in 2006
(Gladkyy, 2007). Plans exist to downsize the country’s military even further. With the
expected discharge of thousands of actively serving military personnel in years to come, the
demand for employment will rise dramatically. Thus, military personnel leaving service in
Ukraine are under severe pressure to adjust to civilian life and find alternative sources of
income. Most officers resign from the military with no rights to a pension or housing. They
are, however, eligible to participate in retraining programmes designed to promote social
Moreover, the current welfare system in Ukraine cannot guarantee former military
personnel a satisfactory income. With the current levels of unemployment and not enough job
vacancies in the country, finding a satisfactory job can be highly problematic. Many military
veterans turn to the pursuit of entrepreneurial endeavours as the only way of surviving. In
such harsh conditions, a large segment of discharged military personnel may also experience
displacement or triggering events which may eventually lead them to decide to establish a
business (Bergmann and Sternberg, 2007).
To facilitate a smooth transition from military service to the civilian workforce, a
number of specific training projects and programmes have been launched throughout the
country, tailored to provide retraining and employment assistance. While some projects have
been implemented under the aegis of international organizations such as NATO and the
, others have been fully sponsored by individual foreign governments. An example of
the latter is considered in this manuscript, a brief description of which is presented below.
The Norwegian “Ukraine-Norway” project was launched in October 2003. It was
announced to help Ukraine mitigate the social and economic consequences of the ongoing
defence reform and the associated downsizing of the armed forces. The project has been
implemented in close cooperation between a business school in Norway and a centre for
social adaptation in Ukraine, with assistance from a constellation of partnering educational
institutions in Ukraine. Among other elements, the project delivers lectures and conducts
seminars on a wide array of business-related subjects, such as accounting and
entrepreneurship, just to name a few. However, it does not present any type of business
training per se, but rather aims at providing discharged military personnel with multiple
opportunities to find a job in either the private or public sector, as well as to become self-
employed. As of today, more than 2,400 servicemen who have transferred to the reserve have
been retrained through this project.
Intentionality is central to the process of entrepreneurship, since creating a new venture is
always intentional (Bird, 1988; Krueger and Carsrud, 1993). Entrepreneurial intentions are
among the best predictors of new business start-ups (Krueger, 1993). Several theories
explaining intentions to start one’s own business have been advanced. Rational explanations,
such as the NPV model (Campbell, 1992) and utility model (Eisenhauer, 1995), suggest that
the expected utility from the alternative actions influence entrepreneurial intentions. As
Douglas and Shepherd (2002) indicated, income and attitudes to risk and independence were
significant in individual’s assessment of career utility, while income had no impact on the
intention to become an entrepreneur as opposed to an employee.
Ajzen’s (1991) theory of planned behaviour (hereafter, TPB) is widely used to explain
and predict entrepreneurial intentions (Autio et al., 2001; Carr and Sequeira, 2007; Choy et
al., 2005; Kolvereid, 1996; Kolvereid and Isaksen, 2006; Krueger et al., 2000; Liñán and
Chen, 2009; Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; van Gelderen et al., 2008; Wu and Wu, 2008).
According to the TPB (Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen, 2005), intentions are determined by attitude
toward the act, subjective norm and perceived behavioural control. The TPB has passed
severe tests of its adequacy in a variety of settings, such as consumer behaviour, attending
classes, participating and voting in elections, the behaviour of alcoholics, cheating and lying
(Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen and Fishbein, 1980; Ajzen and Driver, 1992), just to name a few. A
meta-analysis performed by Armitage and Conner (2001) provides support for the efficacy of
the TPB as a predictor of intentions and behaviour.
According to the TPB (Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen, 2005), intentions are determined by three
conceptually independent constituents: (1) attitude toward the act, which refers to the degree
to which a person has a favourable or unfavourable appraisal of the behaviour in question; (2)
subjective norm (hereafter, SN), which refers to the perceived social pressure to perform or
not to perform the behaviour; and (3) perceived behavioural control (hereafter, PBC), which
refers to the perceived ease or difficulty of performing the behaviour.
Since the expected utility of employment depends, at least partly, on the availability of
alternative employment opportunities, this study may be seen as an endeavour to bring
together the utility maximization explanation of entrepreneurial choice (Campbell, 1992;
Eisenhauer, 1995; Douglas and Shepherd, 2002) and the TPB (Ajzen, 1991; Ajzen, 2005).
While the former refers to alternative choices and mostly neglects the role of SN and PBC, the
TPB lacks reference to the availability of alternative employment opportunities.
The TPB assumes that the behaviour in question is under volitional control, that is, the
person can decide at will to perform or not perform the behaviour. When individuals are
forced to start a business because there are no other options available, this assumption may be
jeopardized. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
distinguishes between necessity driven
entrepreneurs and opportunity driven entrepreneurs. Necessity entrepreneurs are those who
have entered self-employment because they had no better options for work. In other words,
they start businesses in order to generate income for themselves and their families.
Opportunity entrepreneurs, on the other hand, have chosen to establish businesses because
they represent an opportunity, even if they had other employment possibilities. Among those
countries participating in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the percentage of necessity-
driven entrepreneurs is lowest in rich Northern European countries such as Denmark, Iceland,
Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands, where less than 10 per cent of the entrepreneurs are
necessity-driven, and highest in relatively poor counties such as Macedonia and Bosnia and
Herzegovina, where more than 50 per cent of the entrepreneurs are necessity-driven. The
proportion of necessity-driven entrepreneurs is highest in factor-driven economies and lowest
in innovation-driven economies.
While opportunity and necessity are often presented as clearly distinguishable motives,
we argue that both opportunity and necessity entrepreneurs can choose whether to start a
business or not. Rosa et al. (1998) investigated the motives for starting a business among
entrepreneurs from Uganda and Sri Lanka. Other motives for starting a business were clearly
more important than “necessity”. The poorer the people were, the less likely they were to start
a better business, and the very poor tended to be “trapped” in a state of routine in which long
hours were needed to earn a subsistence living. Most new business ventures were associated
with entrepreneurs who were opportunity-driven and had command of some resources. Even
though the job opportunities were few and the entrepreneurs were poor, their behaviour was
still under volitional control. While individuals can select between many appealing business
and employment opportunities in some cases, the number of options are constrained in other
cases, and the attractiveness of the options available may not be appealing.
Most previous research on entrepreneurial intentions has used student samples (Autio et
al.. 2001; Choy et al., 2005; Kolvereid, 1996; Krueger et al., 2000; Liñán and Chen, 2009;
Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; van Gelderen et al., 2008; Wu and Wu, 2008). In Schlaegel
and Koenig’s (2012) recent meta-analysis of the determinants of entrepreneurial intention,
only 6 out of the 52 studies included non-student samples. Even though these surveys have
been carried out in different countries, they have in common that they surveyed young people
enrolled at a university or business school. The question of entrepreneurial intentions for full-
time students is rather hypothetical if they have several years before graduation and have no
immediate need to make a choice. Moreover, young people with little or no employment
experience may represent another set of attitudes, values and beliefs than more experienced
individuals. Young people may tend to overestimate the odds of entrepreneurial success and
underestimate the risk associated with new business start-ups which have an impact on PBC.
Finally, the influence of family, friends and significant others (that is, SN) may be different
among students than among more mature and experienced groups of people.
To the best of our knowledge, there is no research that investigates whether military
personnel are more or less creative, innovative or entrepreneurial than other comparable
groups of people. Jackson et al. (2012) found that people who scored lower on scales of
agreeableness, neuroticism and openness to experience during high school were more likely to
enter the military after graduation. This and other studies (Bachman et al., 1987) suggest that
self-selection is the dominant factor explaining psychological differences between military
personnel and civilians, and that actual service may not substantially change pre-existing
differences in attitude. Thus, in the current study, it is not expected that the length of military
service will be an important moderator of entrepreneurial intentions.
Researchers have suggested that several factors may moderate the relationship between
behavioural intention and its antecedents. Schlaegel and Koening (2012) investigated the
mediating role of national culture on the relationship between attitude, SN, PBC and
entrepreneurial intention. They found that the attitude – intention relationship was stronger in
countries with collectivistic culture and in short-term orientation cultures and that the SN –
intention relationship was more positive in collectivistic cultures and in countries with high
power distance. Moreover, indicated by Schlaegel and Koening (2012), the PBC – intention
relationship was more positive in countries with high power distance. The scores for Ukraine
on the power distance, individualism and other cultural dimensions were not presented in the
original works by Hofstede (2001), but there is reason to believe that Ukraine scores relatively
high on power distance and collectivism (based on the data from Poland and Russia). In the
case of Ukrainian servicemen undertaking the retraining programme, all the respondents were
embedded in the same culture and in this way we consider the influence of cultural norms in
society on the entrepreneurial intention to be controlled for.
Schlaegel and Koenig (2012) noted that studies conducted after 2007 had unveiled a
stronger SN – entrepreneurial intention relationship than studies conducted before 2007, and
suggested that the support of family, friends and significant others has become more
important after the financial crisis in 2008. Therefore, we suggest that the financial crisis may
at least partly influence the SN – entrepreneurial intention relationship through the reduction
of available employment opportunities in times of recession.
Goode and Harris (2007) studied the moderating effect of switching costs and switching
inducements on the relationship between intentional antecedents and the behavioural
intentions of customers, and reported that several of the proposed mediating effects were
statistically significant. Switching inducements, which have been defined by Jones et al.
(2000) as “the attractiveness of alternatives”, are particularly relevant in the present
There are a very few previous studies investigating the effect of the presence of
satisfactory employment opportunities on entrepreneurial intentions. With regard to a sample
of 701 matriculating university students in South Africa, Fatoki (2010) found that most
graduates who were interested in becoming entrepreneurs, did so because of the fear of
unemployment. In South Africa, there are too many graduates for relatively few graduate
jobs, and the graduate unemployment is particularly high. Kennedy et al. (2003) collected
data from 1,075 first-year students at a university in New Zealand. They observed that only
SN, and not perceived desirability or feasibility, was significantly related to the expectation of
starting a business because there would not be jobs available. They concluded that people who
experienced difficulty finding a job were under the most intense pressure from family, friends
and significant others to start a business.
The present research suggests that the availability of employment opportunities will
moderate the relationships between the three motivational factors of the TBP and intention. It
may be assumed that, in cases where satisfactory employment opportunities are in place, a
person may have the luxury of behaving in accordance with his or her preference or attitude.
In contrast with this, when jobs are scarce, practical considerations prevail over the person’s
attitude. It is therefore expected that the higher the scarcity of jobs, the less important attitudes
concerning entrepreneurship become in predicting entrepreneurial intentions. This hypothesis
is in line with the within-subject model of predicting behaviour from attitudes (Davidson and
Morrison, 1983). The model asserts that individuals often have a range of competing
behavioural alternatives and corresponding attitudes and individuals will most likely perform
the behaviour toward which they have the most positive attitude.
Hypothesis 1: The availability of satisfactory employment opportunities moderates the
relationship between attitude and entrepreneurial intention. The higher the supply of
satisfactory employment opportunities, the stronger will be the positive relationship between
attitude and entrepreneurial intention.
An individual considers the consequences of his or her social integrity while taking a
career decision. Keeping all other variables constant, a person is expected to act in a manner
that coincides with the opinion of his or her family, friends and significant others. Lack of
satisfactory employment opportunities may force a person to start a business. Having
satisfactory employment opportunities may imply that people are less dependent on their
networks and that they may to a greater extent act on their own will, not conforming with the
opinion of their family, friends and significant others.
Hypothesis 2: The availability of satisfactory employment opportunities moderates the
relationship between SN and entrepreneurial intention. The lower the supply of satisfactory
employment opportunities, the stronger will be the positive relationship between SN and
A dearth of satisfactory employment opportunities may make it easier for persons to
make a choice in favour of starting a business when they are not sure about their own abilities
to succeed as an entrepreneur. When employment opportunities are rather scarce, individuals
may be pushed to accept the risks associated with a venture.
Hypothesis 3: The availability of satisfactory employment opportunities moderates the
relationships between PBC and entrepreneurial intention. The higher the supply of
satisfactory employment opportunities, the stronger the positive relationship between PBC
and entrepreneurial intentions becomes.
The research model with hypotheses is illustrated in Figure 1. Note that the attitude –
intention and the PBC – intention relationships are hypothesized to be stronger when
employee positions are available, while the SN – intention relationship is hypothesized to be
stronger when jobs are scarce.
Insert Figure 1 about here
Military officers of the AFU being transferred in the reserve and retraining within a 500-hour
long Norwegian “Ukraine-Norway” project comprised the sample for this study. All of the
project’s participants were briefed on the purpose of the present research, and then asked to
answer the questionnaire voluntarily. The respondents were anonymous, and they could not
be identified in any way. Questionnaires were administered in classes, with prior permission
from the International Foundation for Social Adaptation of Ukraine. Of the 296 questionnaires
distributed in 2010-2011 in Kiev, as well as in eight other cities and towns of the Southern
Ukraine and Crimean peninsula, 293 were returned. The unusually high response rate was
achieved because the questionnaires were administrated during the classes and under the
supervision of a lecturer. The choice of the cities and towns was dictated by the geographical
coverage of the project. Of the questionnaires answered, 17 questionnaires were removed due
to a high level of errors or missing data. The final sample included 276 officers.
This sample seems to be unique and sufficiently homogenous, and was specifically
chosen. The underlying reason was that officers, who had devoted almost all their lives to the
Soviet and then Ukrainian army, decided to take part in the Norwegian programme. On
graduation from the programme, they were probably going to work for a company, large or
small, to continue their education, to start their own firm, or to join the ranks of the
unemployed. The average age of the respondents was 38 years (range 22 to 60). About 68 per
cent of the respondents were married. Of the participants, 18.1 per cent had previous
experience of being self-employed, and 18.5 per cent reported that at least one of their parents
had been self-employed at some time. The respondents’ average length of military service
was 16 years, ranging from 2 to 36 years.
A slightly modified version of the Entrepreneurial Intention Questionnaire developed by
Liñán and Chen (2009) was used in this study. Whenever possible, the translation from
English into Russian was made in accordance with the translation made by Tkachev and
Intentions are assumed to capture the motivational factors that influence a behaviour;
they are indications of how hard people are willing to try, of how much of an effort they are
planning to exert, in order to perform the behaviour (Ajzen and Driver, 1992). As
Shook et al.
(2003) have pointed out, previous research on entrepreneurial intentions have used two
different types of intention measures: (1) Employment status choice intentions, that is,
intentions to become self-employed, and (2) Intentions to start a business. Measures of
employment status choice intentions do not directly address the question of how hard people
are willing to endeavour, or how much of an effort they are planning to exert. Measures of
behavioural intentions, that is items that focus on how hard people are willing to try to start a
business, were therefore used in the present circumstances. The intention measure was
calculated as the average of 6 items adopted from Liñán and Chen (2009) (Cronbach’s
An aggregate measure of attitude previously applied by Krueger et al. (2000) and Liñán
and Chen (2009) was adopted in the present research as it tends to be a better predictor of
intention than a belief-based measure of attitude (Kolvereid and Isaksen, 2006) (Cronbach’s
In the entrepreneurship literature, SN has been measured in two ways. First, the
multiple-item SN measure relies on the questions of what relatives, peers, colleagues and
significant others think about one’s decision to start a business (Chen et al., 1998; Krueger,
1993). Second, the answers to the above-mentioned questions may be adjusted by “motivation
to comply” (Kolvereid and Isaksen, 2006; Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999). The former method
was applied in the present study because it tends to demonstrate a relatively high predictive
power (Armitage and Conner, 2001), and this simpler measure helps to keep the questionnaire
as parsimonious as possible (Liñán and Chen, 2009). The measure of SN was computed as
the average of 3 items adopted from Liñán and Chen (2009) (Cronbach’s alpha=0.78).
The measure of PBC was based on the aggregate measure consisting of 6 items
developed by Liñán and Chen (2009). However, two items were deleted. One of these two
items, “I am prepared to start a viable firm”, was hard to translate into Russian without
distorting the original meaning. The other item, “I can control the creation process of a new
firm”, represented a controllability statement, which distinguished the measure of PBC from a
general self-efficacy measure. Omitting this question was believed to provide better predictive
power, since self-efficacy is more clearly defined and relatively more strongly correlated to
intention (Armitage and Conner, 2001). PBC was calculated by averaging the responses to the
4 items (Cronbach’s alpha=0.89).
The following question (7-point scale from 1 = totally disagree to 7 = totally agree) was
applied to measure the perceived availability of satisfactory employment opportunities: “I am
confident that if I tried, I would find a job such that I would not need any additional sources
of income”. This measure captures the perceived ability to find a job providing a reasonable
salary. In order to validate this item, mean scores were compared across different
occupational alternatives. Unemployed and unemployable persons scored significantly
(mean 3.45) than those who were employed (mean 3.97). This result fits well with the
expectation that people who are employed believe that it is easier to find a job than those who
are not employed.
All items are presented in Table 1, showing that there is a high degree of consistency
between the original formulation by Liñán and Chen (2009) and the items back-translated
from Russian. The Cronbach’s alphas reported by Liñán and Chen (2009) and those found in
the present study are also very similar.
Insert Table 1 about here
Several control variables commonly used in entrepreneurship studies were applied in
the regression analysis. Education was measured according to the Russian system of
education, ranging from elementary education to tertiary (university-level) education (from 1
to 7). Concerning entrepreneurial experience, the respondents were asked if they had ever
been entrepreneurs. Family status was measured by dividing the respondents into two groups:
1) married/cohabiting and 2) single/divorced/widowed. The respondents’ age was also used as
a control variable. As is consistent with previous studies, the demographic control variables
had little or no direct effect on intentions, fitting well with the predictions of the TPB (Liñán
and Chen, 2009; Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999).
To assess common method bias and discriminant validity, a principal component
analysis was carried out. The results showed that common method bias was not a problem and
that a satisfactory discriminant validity of the applied measures of attitude, SN, PBC,
intentions and the availability of satisfactory employment opportunities was achieved.
An investigation of moderating effects can be carried out in two different ways, namely by
dividing the sample in two and by adding products representing interaction terms to the
regressions. The results obtained from the former approach are easier to interpret, but
unfortunately much information is lost by dichotomizing the moderator. Therefore, in the
present study the hypotheses are tested by adding interaction terms to the regressions. The
sample is then split in two to ease the interpretation of the findings and to show the
moderating effect in diagrammatic form. Correlations between all the variables considered in
this study and descriptive statistics are given in Table 2. The only variable significantly
correlating with perceived availability of satisfactory employment opportunities was level of
educational. Not surprisingly, more educated respondents perceived it easier to find a job.
Entrepreneurial intention was negatively correlated with entrepreneurial experience, probably
indicating that many people in Ukraine were forced into marginal survivalist-type
entrepreneurship during the turbulent 1990s. Age and being married / cohabiting were
negatively correlated with entrepreneurial intention.
Insert Table 2 about here
A hierarchical regression was carried out on the entire sample of 276 respondents. The
control variables were first entered into the regression, followed by the antecedents of
entrepreneurial intentions. Finally, the control variables, the antecedents of intentions and the
interaction terms were included. The results are shown in Table 3.
Insert Table 3 about here
Among the control variables, only family status (married/cohabiting versus
single/divorced/widowed) was significantly related to entrepreneurial intention. Single
respondents were relatively more likely to report entrepreneurial intention, probably because
of the absence of obligations associated with family life. Compared with the base model,
which included only the control variables, the TPB significantly enhanced R
and F statistics.
Attitude and PBC were found to be strong predictors of entrepreneurial intention, while SN
had no significant effect. The availability of employment opportunities had no significant
independent effect on intention.
Before testing the hypotheses, a short recapitalisation of the hypotheses is in order:
H1. The attitude – intention relationship is stronger when jobs are available.
H2. The SN – intention relationship is stronger when jobs are scarce.
H3. The PBC – intention relationship is stronger when jobs are available.
In order to check for the moderating role of the availability of employment
opportunities, interaction terms were added to the equations. This significantly improved both
and F statistics. No significant interaction was detected for attitude and PBC,
while the interaction between the availability of employment opportunities and SN was
significant at p≤0.005.
The sample was split into two groups in order to help the interpretation of the results.
One group (n
=99) included those individuals reporting that satisfactory employment
opportunities were scarce (below 4) and the other group (n
=105) included those who
reported that satisfactory employment opportunities were present (5 and higher on the seven-
point scale). Seventy-two respondents who answered “4” to this question were removed from
the sample, reducing the number of respondents to 204. The respondents with many
satisfactory employment opportunities reported slightly higher entrepreneurial intention than
those with a few satisfactory employment opportunities (5.3 compared to 4.9, the difference is
significant at p≤0.001).
The TPB was able to successfully predict variations in entrepreneurial intentions for
both groups. The main difference between the two regression models is that in the case of few
satisfactory employment opportunities SN is a significant predictor, while in the case of many
satisfactory employment opportunities this variable is not important. This indicates that the
availability of satisfactory employment opportunities has a moderating role in the relationship
between SN and entrepreneurial intentions. The relationship between attitude and intention is
weaker for the respondents with low employment opportunities
, providing some support for
Hypothesis 1. However, the moderating effect was not detected in the previous test using
interaction terms. The relationships between PBC and intention are almost identical for the
respondents with low and high employment opportunities, implying that no support is found
for Hypothesis 3.
Insert Table 4 about here
Figure 2 illustrates the relationships between SN and entrepreneurial intention in the
two groups. Trend lines crossing each other indicate the moderating role of the availability of
satisfactory employment opportunities. Supporting Hypothesis 2, entrepreneurial intention
increases with more favourable SN but at a greater rate for those respondents who have few
satisfactory employment opportunities (see Figure 2).
Insert Figure 2 about here
Discussion and Conclusions
The present research investigates entrepreneurial intentions among a novel sample of 276
officers in the Armed Forces of Ukraine who transferred into the reserve and undertook a
retraining programme designed by a Norwegian business school.
The context of an Eastern
European country, suffering from the global economic crisis, is characterized by the limited
employment opportunities in the labour market. This study has explored how the TPB can be
applied in conditions where employment opportunities are scarce.
As our empirical evidence has shown, the TPB explained a significant part of the
variation in entrepreneurial intention for individuals reporting both high and low availability
of satisfactory employment opportunities. In our sample, attitude and PBC played a similar
role for both groups of respondents. This contradicts the relevant hypotheses (H1 and H3) and
might indicate that the external environment, which dictates the number of available options,
has little or no effect on the internal drivers of entrepreneurial intention. While one’s attitude
towards entrepreneurship and perceived ability to perform entrepreneurial tasks is rooted in an
individual’s self-evaluation, SN is related to other persons. The analysis revealed that SN
played a relatively more significant role in the case of meagre employment opportunities.
When jobs are scarce, individuals have to rely on their relatives and friends to a greater
extent. This is especially true in the context of less developed economies that have been
severely hit by a global meltdown, when networks are thought to be critical for survival of
people who have failed to find a job.
Irrespective of the alternative employment availability, the intentions of respondents in
the sample are influenced by the internal factors to the same degree. Thus, one may expect
that, at least over the short-term period, growing unemployment does not change a person’s
internal world. Those who do not believe in their own ability to succeed as self-employed
(low PBC) and who dislike entrepreneurship (low attitude measures) will not alter their
attitude when the economy falls into stagnation. However, in a severe crisis in the labour
market, people pull together and start listening to the opinions of important significant others.
The moderating role of the availability of satisfactory employment opportunities may
explain why SN is often found to have no significant effect on intention in developed
economies such as the US (Kruger et al., 2000) and Spain and Taiwan (Liñán and Chen,
2009), while the effect is significant in less developed countries such as Russia (Tkachev and
Kolvereid, 1999) and Malaysia (Choy et al., 2005). In developed economies, the number of
options, such as organizational employment and social benefits, are available for the majority,
weakening the dependency on other people.
The findings reported here may outline an important implication for specific training
programmes that provide support for personnel who are making the transition from military
service to the civilian workforce and that promote self-employment as an alternative means of
survival in developing nations such as Ukraine. On the one hand, attitude and PBC are strong
predictors irrespective of the available options, suggesting that the entrepreneurial intention is
at least to some extent determined by those factors that may be altered by teaching and
mentoring. Indeed, it may be anticipated that providing classes on practical aspects of
business founding and entrepreneurship will somehow bridge the gap between military and
entrepreneurial mindsets, mitigate the stress of adjusting to civilian life and augment the
officers’ PBC. Promotion of self-employment as a respectable behaviour may also enhance
attitude. All this may ultimately lead to higher entrepreneurial intention. On the other hand,
the educational programmes may have a somewhat limited effect in conditions where
employment opportunities are scarce since SN, which is hard to alter in the short-run,
significantly and directly affects entrepreneurial intention.
The present research has several limitations. First, the results of the analysis may be an
artefact of Ukrainian culture. Indeed, social or subjective norms may vary significantly
between countries, hypothetically moderating the relationships between the variables
considered by the TPB (Kruger et al., 2000). In highly individualistic societies the moderating
effect of availability of employment opportunities may be stronger than in collectivistic
cultures. In the case of high individualism, people are expected to cease to comply with the
collective opinion as soon as multiple attractive opportunities become accessible. People in
relatively collectivistic societies, on the contrary, may tend to act in accordance with
subjective norms even when multiple behavioural alternatives are available. Thus, one of the
intriguing avenues for future research may include testing if the moderating effect of
employment opportunities on entrepreneurial intentions is relatively strong in individualistic
societies under the conditions of severe economic crisis.
Second, the present study focuses on intentions, while the effect of the availability of
satisfactory employment opportunities on actual behaviour needs to be addressed in future
studies. Third, this study has demonstrated that the TPB has significant explanatory power
when applied to a novel sample of military personnel leaving service in Ukraine. However,
more research is needed in order to comprehend the extent to which the results of this study
may be generalised to other settings. No previous studies have compared military personnel
with civilians when it comes to entrepreneurial intentions/behaviour, but it is known that
military recruits are preselected with respect to certain personality traits (Jackson et al., 2012)
and that military experience has a long-lasting effect on the life course (Jackson et al., 2012;
Settersten, 2006). Therefore, more research would be invaluable in order to unravel contrasts
between students, officers and other social groups.
Furthermore, a single-item measure of employment opportunities was applied. More-
advanced measures that still need to be developed may provide stronger results in the future.
Finally, the dichotomous choice between full-time organizational employment and
entrepreneurial career is definitely an oversimplification. It is, therefore, of great importance
to develop a model that incorporates the variety of choices, spanning from unemployment to
illegal economic activity, or a combination of several occupations, including both part- and
Aidis, R., Welter, F., Smallbone, D. and Isakova, N. (2007), “Female entrepreneurship in
transition economies: the Case of Lithuania and Ukraine”, Feminist Economics, Vol. 13 No.
2, pp. 157-183.
Ajzen, I. (1991), “The theory of planned behaviour”, Organizational Behaviour and Human
Decision Processes, Vol. 50 No. 2, pp. 179-211.
Ajzen, I. (2005), Attitudes, Personality, and Behaviour, Maidinhead: Open University Press.
Ajzen, I. and Driver, B.L. (1992), “Application of the theory of planned behaviour to leisure
choice”, Journal of Leisure Research, Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 207-224.
Ajzen, I. and Fishbein, M. (1980), Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behaviour,
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Armitage, C.J. and Conner, M. (2001), “Efficacy of the theory of planned behaviour: a meta-
analytic review”, British Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 40 No. 4, pp. 471-499.
Autio, E., Keeley, R.H., Klofsten, M., Parker, G.G.C. and Hay, M. (2001), “Entrepreneurial
intent among students in Scandinavia and in the USA”, Enterprise and Innovation
Management Studies, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 145-160.
Bachman, J.G., Sigelman, L. and Diamond, G. (1987). “Self-selection, socialization, and
distinctive military values: attitudes of high school seniors”, Armed Forces and Society, Vol.
13 No. 2, pp. 169-187.
Bergmann, H. and Sternberg, R. (2007), “The changing face of entrepreneurship in
Germany”, Small Business Economic, Vol. 28 No. 2/3, pp. 205-221.
Bird, B. (1988), “Implementing entrepreneurial ideas: the case for intentions”, Academy of
Management Review, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 442-454.
Campbell, C. A. (1992), “A decision theory model for entrepreneurial acts“, Entrepreneurship
Theory and Practice, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 21-27.
Carr, J.C. and Sequeira, J.M. (2007), “Prior family business exposure as intergenerational
influence and entrepreneurial intent: a theory of planned behaviour approach”, Journal of
Business Research, Vol. 60 No. 10, pp. 1090-1098.
Chen, C.C., Greene, P.G. and Crick, A. (1998), “Does entrepreneurial self-efficacy
distinguish entrepreneurs from managers?”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp.
Choy, C.S., Kuppusamy J. and Josoh, M. (2005), “Entrepreneurial careers among business
graduates: match-making using theory of planned behaviour”, International Journal of
Entrepreneurship, Vol. 9 No. 1, pp. 67-90.
Danis, W.M. and Shipilov, A.V. (2002), “A comparison of enterpreneurship development in
two post-communist countries: the cases of Hungary and Ukraine”, Journal of Developmental
Entrepreneurshp, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 67-94.
Davidson, A.R. and Morrison, D.M. (1983), “Predicting contraceptive behaviour from
attitudes: a comparison of within- versus across-subjects procedures”, Journal of Personality
and Social Psychology, Vol. 45 No. 5, pp. 997-1009.
Douglas, E.J. and Shepherd, D.A. (2002), “Self-employment as a career choice: attitudes,
entrepreneurial intentions, and utility maximisation”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,
Vol. 26 No. 3, pp. 81-90.
Eisenhauer, J.G. (1995), “The entrepreneurial decision: economic theory and empirical
evidence”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 67-79.
Fatoki, O.O. (2010), “Gratuate entrepreneurial intention in South Africa: motivation and
obstacles”, International Journal of Business and Management, Vol. 5 No. 9, pp. 87-98.
Gladkyy, O. (2007), “The OSCE resettlement project as assistance for Ukraine to conduct its
military reform”, paper presented at the international seminar The Social Adaptation of the
Armed Forces of Ukraine and their Family Members, 1-2 October, Sevastopol, Ukraine.
Goode, M.M.H. and Harris, L.C. (2007), “Online behavioural intentions: an empirical
investigation of antecedents and moderators”, European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 41 No. 5,
Hofstede, G. (2001), Culture's Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviors, Institutions, and
Organizations across Nations, Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage.
Jackson, J.J., Thoemmes, F., Jonkmann, K., Ludtke, O. and Trautwein, U. (2012), “Military
training and personality trait development: does the military make the man, or does the man
make the military?”, Psychology Science, Vol. 23 No. 3, pp. 270-277.
Jones, M.A., Mothersbaugh, D.L. and Beatty, S.E. (2000), “Swiching barriers and repurchase
intentions in service”, Journal of Retailing, Vol. 76 No. 2, pp. 259-274.
Kennedy, J., Drennan, J., Renfrow, P. and Watson, B. (2003), “Situational factors and
entrepreneurial intentions”, paper presented at the Small Enterprise Association of Australia
and New Zealand 16
Annual Conference, 28 September-1 October, Ballarat.
Kolvereid, L. (1996), “Prediction of employment status choice intentions”, Entrepreneurship
Theory and Practice, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 47-57.
Kolvereid, L. and Isaksen, E. (2006), “New business start-up and subsequent entry into self-
employment”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 866-885.
Krueger, N. (1993), “The impact of prior entrepreneurial exposure on perceptions of new
venture feasibility and desirability”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, Vol. 18 No. 1,
Krueger, N. and Carsrud, A.L. (1993), “Entrepreneurial intentions. Applying the theory of
planned behaviour”, Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 315-330.
Krueger, N.F., Reilly, M.D., and Carsrud, A.L. (2000), “Competing models of entrepreneurial
intentions”, Journal of Business Venturing, Vol. 15 No. 5/6, pp. 411-432.
Liñán F. and Chen, Y. (2009), ”Development and cross-cultural application of a specific
instrument to measure entrepreneurial intentions”, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice,
Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 593-612.
Rosa, P., Kodithuwakku, S. and Balunywa, W. (2008), “Entrepreneurial motivation in
developing countries: what does “necessity” and “opportunity” entrepreneurship really
mean?”, Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2006, available at:
SSRN:http/ssm.com/abstract=1310913 (accessed 10 March 2010).
Schlaegel, C. and Koenig, M. (2012), “Determinants of entrepreneurial intent: a meta-analytic
test and integration of competing models”, working paper, Otto von Guericke University,
Settersten, R.A., Jr. (2006), “When nations call: How maritime military service matters for the
life course and aging”, Research on Aging, Vol. 28 No. 1, pp. 12-36.
Shook, C.L., Priem, R.L. and McGee, J.E. (2003), “Value creation and the enterprising
individual: a review and synthesis”, Journal of Management, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 379-399.
State Statisrics Committee of Ukraine (2012), “Population”, available at:
17 October 2012).
Tkachev, A. and Kolvereid, L. (1999), “Self-empoyment intentions among Russian students,
Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 269-280.
Trading Economics (2012), “Ukraine unemployment rate”, available at:
http://www.tradingeconomics.com/ukraine/unemployment-rate (accessed 5 September 2012).
UkrAgroConsult (2012), “Ukraine becomes world's third biggest grain exporter in 2011 –
minister”, available at: http://www.blackseagrain.net/photo/ukraine-becomes-worlds-third-
biggest-grain-exporter-in-2011-minister (accessed 16 October 2012).
Van Gelderen, M., Brand, M., van Praag, M., Bodewes, W., Poutsma, E., and van Gils, A.
(2008), “Explaining entrepreneurial intentions by means of the theory of planned behaviour”,
Career Development International, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 538-559.
World Bank (2012a), “Ukraine overview”, available at:
http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/ukraine/overview (accessed 12 October 2012).
World Bank (2012b), “Doing business in a more transparent world”, available at:
Reports/English/DB12-FullReport.pdf (accessed 29 October 2012).
Wu, S. and Wu, L. (2008), “The impact of higher education on entrepreneurial intentions of
university students in China”, Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol.
15 No. 4, pp. 752-774.
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
Unemployable persons are those who are not members of the work force. T-test, p.≤0.001
Additional tests revealed that the difference between the respective beta coefficients is significant at
The Theory of Planned Behavior and availability of satisfactory employment opportunities: the research model
Availability of satisfactory
The Relationships between the Availability of Satisfactory Employment Opportunities,
SN and Entrepreneurial Intention
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Questionnaire Items with Cronbach’s Alphas
Original formulation Back translated from Russian Scale
I am ready to do anything to be an
I am ready to do everything to become an
disagree (1) –
My professional goal is to become an
My professional goal is to become an
I am determined to create a firm in the
I am determined to start up my business
in the future
I will make every effort to start and run
my own firm
I will do everything that I can to start up
my own business
I have very seriously though of starting a
I have already thought seriously about
establishing my own business
I have the firm intention to start a firm
I have a firm commitment to establish
my own business one day
Being an entrepreneur implies more
advantages than disadvantages to me
I see more advantages than disadvantages
in an entrepreneur’s career
disagree (1) –
A career as entrepreneur is attractive for
A career as an entrepreneur is attractive
If I had the opportunity and resources, I’d
like to start a firm
If I had enough money, I would establish
my own business
Being an entrepreneur would entail great
satisfaction for me
For me, a career as an entrepreneur
would bring great pleasure
Among various options, I would rather
be an entrepreneur
Among other opportunities, I would
prefer a career as an entrepreneur
If you decided to create a firm, would
people in your close family approve on
If you decided to start up your own
business, would your family members
approve this decision? Will totally
(1) – will
If you decided to create a firm, would
your friends approve of that decision?
If you decided to start up your own
business, would your friends approve this
If you decided to start a firm, would your
colleagues approve of that decision?
If you decided to start up your own
business, would your colleagues at work
approve this decision?
To start a firm and keep it working would
be easy for me
There is no problem for me to start up
my own business
disagree (1) –
I know the necessary practical details to
start a firm
I know all the practical details needed to
start up own business
I know how to develop an entrepreneurial
I know how to develop an entrepreneurial
I am prepared to start a viable firm I am ready to start up a viable business
I can control the creation process of a
I am able to control the process of
creating a new business
If I tried to start a firm, I would have a
high probability of succeeding
If I tried to start up my own business, the
success probability would be great
The availability of
- I am confident that if I tried, I would find
a job such that I would not need any
additional sources of income
disagree (1) –
Note: The table shows the original items as formulated by Linan and Chen (2009) and items after having been
back-translated from Russian. The Cronbach’s alphas are those reported by Linan and Chen (2009) and those
found under the present circumstances. (
)- item excluded from analysis.
Descriptive statistics and Pearson correlations (N=276)
mean SD 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
1. Education 6.55 0.92 1
0.19 0.39 .012 1
38.0 8.87 -.065 .007 .224** 1
5. Attitude 5.53 1.18 .080 -.011 -.043 -.074 1
6. SN 5.55 1.27 .115 .003 -.047 -.138* .381** 1
4.56 1.36 .070 -.130* -0.093 -.101 .447** .346** 1
3.94 1.78 .123* -.070 .018 -.040 -.003 .065 .033 1
*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01.
† 0 = no, 1 = yes.
Prediction of Entrepreneurial Intentions (n=276)
Base model Independent effects Interaction effects
Education 0.08 0.03 0.03
Married/cohabiting -0.16* -0.11** -0.12**
Age -0,07 0.01 0.02
Attitude 0.38** 0.36**
SN 0.07 0.33**
PBC 0.45** 0.46**
SEO * Attitude 0.08
SEO * SN -0.63**
SEO * PBC -0.05
0.056 0.587 0.601
0.041 0.574 0.583
F Change 3.750** 80.360** 2.930*
*p < 0.05; **p < 0.01.
Prediction of Entrepreneurial Intentions among People Who Have Few and Many
Satisfactory Employment Opportunities (n=204)
Education 0.01 -0.05
Entrepr. experience -0.06 -0.06
Married/cohabiting -0.16* -0.01
Age 0.06 -0.01
Attitude 0.43** 0.59**
Subjective norm (SN) 0.27** -0.06
PBC 0.36** 0.31**
F 32,914** 19,679**
*p < 0.01; **p < 0.001.