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Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda


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Prior studies find sizable gaps between entrepreneurial intentions and subsequent actions. We extend models of entrepreneurial intentions by drawing on action phase theory to better understand how entrepreneurial intentions translate into actions. Our study focuses on the effects of implementation intentions on taking entrepreneurial action. The analysis uses two waves of survey data on 422 individuals, from the Swedish general population, who had an explicit interest in starting a business and who reported on their actions 6 months later. We test and find support for a moderated mediation model in which implementation intentions mediate the effects of goal intentions on taking entrepreneurial action. We further find the mediated effect to be even stronger for those confirming a strong intention to start a new business. We provide an in-depth discussion of the concept of implementation intention and an extensive research agenda.
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Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process:
concept, empirical findings, and research agenda
Marco van Gelderen &Teemu Kau t o nen &
Joakim Wincent &Marina Biniari
Accepted: 11 December 2017 /Published online: 22 December 2017
#The Author(s) 2017. This article is an open access publication
Abstract Prior studies find sizable gaps between en-
trepreneurial intentions and subsequent actions. We
extend models of entrepreneurial intentions by draw-
ing on action phase theory to better understand how
entrepreneurial intentions translate into actions. Our
study focuses on the effects of implementation inten-
tions on taking entrepreneurial action. The analysis
uses two waves of survey data on 422 individuals,
from the Swedish general population, who had an
explicit interest in starting a business and who report-
ed on their actions 6 months later. We test and find
support for a moderated mediation model in which
implementation intentions mediate the effects of goal
intentions on taking entrepreneurial action. We fur-
ther find the mediated effect to be even stronger for
those confirming a strong intention to start a new
business. We provide an in-depth discussion of the
concept of implementation intention and an extensive
research agenda.
Keywords Entrepreneurship .Entrepreneurial
intentions .Entrepreneurial action .Entrepreneurial
behavior.Implementation intentions
JEL classifications L26 .M13
1 Introduction
The questions of why, when, and how some people
but not others discover and exploit opportunities to
create goods and services have long been core inter-
ests of the community of entrepreneurship scholars
(Shane and Venkataraman 2000). The 1990s and the
2000s saw a surge in studies of what predicts and
explains the differences between those exhibiting an
intention to start their own business and those lack-
ing such an intention (Schlaegel and Koenig 2014).
The majority of those studies used models that pre-
dict actions from intentions, including the theory of
planned behavior (Ajzen 1991,2017)andtheentre-
preneurial event model (Shapero and Sokol 1982).
Although both models include actions taken upon
intentions as the ultimate dependent variable, the
overwhelming majority of the research of the time
focused solely on predicting and explaining inten-
tions (Schlaegel and Koenig 2014). These studies
Small Bus Econ (2018) 51:923941
M. van Gelderen
VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam Centre for
Entrepreneurship, De Boelelaan 1105, NL-1081HVAmsterdam,
The Netherlands
T. Kautonen (*)
Aalto University & Universidad del Desarrollo, PO Box 21230,
FI-00076 Aalto, Finland
J. Wincent
Hanken School of Economics, PO Box 479, FI-00101 Helsinki,
M. Biniari
Aalto University, PO Box 15500, FI-00076 Aalto, Finland
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
generated numerous valuable insights, yet left an
incomplete picture, as new ventures are only created
if intentions are followed by actions. Only recently
have researchers begun to empirically investigate the
link between entrepreneurial intentions and subse-
quent actions (Gielnik et al. 2014,2015;Kautonen
et al. 2015; Obschonka et al. 2015; Rauch and
Hulsink 2015; Reuel Johnmark et al. 2016;Van
Gelderen et al. 2015). These studies consistently
find that a sizable proportion of people who express
an intention to engage in start-up activity do not
follow up on that intention with concrete actions.
The intentionaction gaps found in prior studies
raise questions over the relevance of research that
merely focuses on entrepreneurial intentions. Even
more importantly, they raise the question of what
factors then determine whether intentions translate
successfully into actions. Recent studies addressing
the latter issue have examined action regulation.
Gielnik et al. (2014) found that action planningthe
degree of detail in the planning of future actions
positively moderates the relationship between entre-
preneurial goal intentions and new venture creation
up to 18 months after intentions are formed. Another
example is provided by Van Gelderen et al. (2015),
who found that the trait of self-control positively mod-
erates the intentionaction relationship. Both studies
point to the importance of distinguishing goal setting
(intention formation) from goal striving (intention im-
plementation). In the latter process, variables involved
in regulating actions play an important and distinct
The present study makes a theoretical contribution
by extending entrepreneurial intention models with
Gollwitzers action phase theory (1990,2012)and
the concept of implementation intentions. This adds
to our understanding of why some people successful-
ly follow up on their intention to start a business,
whereas others do not. We distinguish between the
motivational and volitional phases in the course of
taking action. According to action phase theory goal
intention strength is only relevant to the motivational
phases; effectiveness in taking action equally de-
pends on self-regulatory strategies involved in the
volitional phases concerned with goal implementa-
tion (Gollwitzer 2012). One such strategy, implemen-
tation intentions, supplements goal intention and
specifies where, when, and how actions required to
reach the goal will be taken (Gollwitzer 1999;
Hagger and Luzsczynska 2014; Sniehotta 2009).
Apart from studies by Gielnik et al. (2014,2015),
who studied action planning in the form of the num-
ber of sub-steps and the precision of the timing of
execution plans, implementation intentions have to
the best of our knowledge not been explored in rela-
tion to entrepreneurial intentions and actions, despite
scholars calling for such studies (Adam and Fayolle
2015; Carsrud and Brännback 2011;Fayolle2013;
Fayolle and Liñán 2014; Krueger 2009). Their effects
have been studied extensively in social psychology,
however. A meta-analysis by Gollwitzer and Sheeran
(2006) showed that implementation intentions have a
medium-to-large magnitude positive effect on goal
attainment that extends beyond the effects of having
goal intentions. Because prior studies are largely
based on laboratory experiments and field studies
involving straightforward goals and actions, we can-
not assume the aforementioned effects can be repli-
cated in the context of starting a new venture; which
is a complex, uncertain endeavor undertaken in the
medium-term that can take a variety of forms and
involve a range of activities (Carter et al. 1996;
Lichtenstein et al. 2007).
The present research analyzes the role of imple-
mentation intentions in taking entrepreneurial action
using two waves of survey data drawn from the adult
population of Sweden (n= 422), with a gap of
6 months between the expression of the intention to
embark on starting a business, and an assessment of
whether action had been taken, and if so, how much.
We test and find support for a moderated mediation
model in which implementation intentions mediate
the effects of goal intentions on taking entrepreneur-
ial action. Moreover, we find the mediation effect is
even stronger for those with a high level of goal
intention to engage in business gestation activity.
Thus, our study supports the argument that variables
related to action regulation play a major role in pur-
suing the goal of entrepreneurship. Moreover, the
results complement the psychological literature on
action regulation by providing empirical evidence
on the applicability of implementation intentions to
behaviors that can involve considerable uncertainty
and a wide variety of activities performed in different
sequences. The current study is an early attempt to
investigate implementation intentions in the context
of entrepreneurship, and consequently it concludes
by providing an extensive research agenda.
924 M. van Gelderen et al.
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2 Theory and hypotheses
2.1 Goal motivation and action regulation
Many theories of motivation center around the notion of
goals and their antecedents (e.g., Ajzen 1991; Carver
and Scheier 1998; Fishbein and Ajzen 1975; Locke and
Latham 1990;McClellandetal.1953; Vroom 1964).
For example, expectancyvalue theory (Fishbein and
Ajzen 1975) holds that people act on goals if they find
the goal valuable, and if they anticipate taking actions
that will fulfill the goal. Goals are mental representations
of desired outcomes, and people are thought to form
goal intentions, which are instructions to the self to act
to secure those outcomes (Toli et al. 2016). The strength
of a persons intention then determines whether he or
she achieves that goal. This idea has found substantial
empirical support. In a meta-analysis of meta-analyses
studying the link between intention and subsequent
behavior, intention strength explained 28% of the vari-
ance in behavior and had a sample weighted average
correlation of 0.53, which implies a strong substantive
effect (Sheeran 2002).
However, in line with the proverb suggesting that
Bthe road to hell is paved with good intentions,^there
is strong contrary evidence that goal intention strength
alone is not always sufficient to reach the required goals
(Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006; Gollwitzer and
Oettingen 2015; Sheeran 2002). First, the aforemen-
tioned correlation of 0.53 is driven to a considerable
extent by non-intenders taking no action. According to
Sheeran (2002), only 47% of those who have intentions
subsequently take any action. Second, past behavior
drives current behavior to a considerable extent. Enter-
ing goal intentions in the second step of the model
estimation after controlling for past behavior resulted
in just a 7% increment in the variance explained
(Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006). Finally, a meta-
analysis of studies of intentions and behavior change
in experimental settings, which rules out contextual
variables being responsible for the observed associa-
tions, found that the effect of manipulating goal inten-
tion strength had only a small-to-medium effect size
(d= 0.36, which equates to R-squared = 0.03) (Webb
and Sheeran 2006). In sum, the strength of goal inten-
tion appears less strongly related to taking action to
achieve the goal than has been theorized.
Evidence for an intentionbehavior gap has also been
found in the realm of entrepreneurship research.
Considering that activities to start a new venture tend
to be deliberate and intended as such (Bird 1988), and
defining actions as intentional behavior (Greve 2001),
we refer to entrepreneurial actions rather than behavior.
A recent study of entrepreneurial intentions and actions
by Kautonen et al. (2015)showedthatgoalintentions
alone are often not sufficient for action to occur. In a
study of the Austrian and Finnish working populations,
the authors found that although intentions predicted a
substantial amount of variance in the amount of start-up
action taken, 63% of those with intentions had taken no
or very little action when asked about the endeavor
1 year later. Nor are goal intentions sufficient to signal
goal achievement: In a Ugandan sample, of those with
intentions to undertake a set of five start-up activities,
55% had started their business after a 30-month period,
and the study reported a zero correlation between entre-
preneurial goal intention strength and new venture cre-
ation (Gielnik et al. 2014).
Findings such as those above emphasize the impor-
tance of researchers going beyond the study of mere
intentions to investigate how entrepreneurial goals
translate into subsequent actions. Moreover, there are
strong arguments that the association between intention
and action in the entrepreneurial context will be even
lower than the average association found in the other
domains referred to earlier (Sheeran 2002). Much of the
research on goals and subsequent behavior has consid-
ered simple, discrete goals and short-term tasks. In
contrast, for the adult population aiming to start a busi-
ness, the path from intention to action is complex,
involves a mid-term time span, contains uncertainty,
can take a variety of forms and activities, and can be
influenced by and depend upon a host of intrapersonal
and contextual factors (Carter et al. 1996;Lichtenstein
et al. 2007). Under such conditions, the execution of
entrepreneurial intentions can easily be derailed.
With the advent of modern self-regulation theories in
the 1980s, researchers started to examine whether goals
and motivation alone might be insufficient to spur action
(Brandstätter et al. 2003), and whether another frame-
work could help explain the regulation of actions. One
theory that attempts to offer a comprehensive view by
analyzing both goal setting and self-regulatory process-
es is Gollwitzers(1990,2012) action phase theory. It
identifies four action phases: the first and fourth phases
are motivational and related to goal setting, whereas the
second and third phases are volitional and concerned
with what is termed goal striving and implementation
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 925
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(see Fig. 1, lower half). Each phase presents a different
task for the individual to address (Gollwitzer 1990,
1999,2012). The first of these tasks, which arises in
the pre-decisional phase, requires individuals to decide
which of their desires they really want to pursue. The
formation of intentions takes center stage in this first
phase. In the second phase, however, the focus is not on
intentions. Then, the task is to initiate goal-directed
action. Individuals in what are termed post-decisional
and pre-actional phases have to determine how best to
attain the chosen goal. In this phase, actions are planned
that facilitate achieving the chosen goals. Having for-
mulated an action plan, the individual enters what is
termed the actional phase, and faces a third task, which
is to ensure that the actions undertaken to achieve spe-
cific goals are successful. In the fourth phase, individ-
uals review what they have achieved, while also con-
templating future action (Achtziger and Gollwitzer
2008). The fourth phase may thus be followed by the
first phase, lending this process model an iterative char-
acter. Progression from one phase to the next is not
guaranteed, however, as each phase needs to be success-
fully concluded before the cycle can be completed.
The present study centers on the pre-actional second
phase, which plays a pivotal role in translating goal
motivation or intentions (phase one) into action (phase
three) (see Fig. 1).
2.2 Implementation intentions and taking
entrepreneurial action
In the pre-actional phase, actions are planned. Action
planning is defined by Sniehotta et al. (2005:567)as,
Bthe process of linking goal-directed behaviors to certain
environmental cues by specifying when, where, and
how to act.^Similarly, Gollwitzer (1996): 290) reports
that in the pre-actional phase Bindividuals reflect and
decide on the when, where, how and how long to act,
thus creating plans for actions.^Action planning thus
results in implementation intentions, and many scholars
use the terms action plan and implementation intention
interchangeably (Adriaanse et al. 2011; Belanger-
Gravel et al. 2013). However, much of the research
evidence on implementation intentions is produced by
Gollwitzer and colleagues (Gollwitzer 1999;Gollwitzer
and Oettingen 2015; Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006),
who require implementation intentions to be formulated
in an if-then format that specifies situational cues (when
and where to act) and behavioral responses (how to act)
in advance (Gollwitzer 1993,1999). For example, when
a prospective entrepreneur wishes to approach an iden-
tified financier at a networking function, the implemen-
tation intention might be formulated as: BI will attend
this function and as soon as the financier is alone, I will
approach and introduce myself.^In this article, we use
implementation intention in a wider sense than
Gollwitzer did, in other words, an if-then structure is
not compulsory. This is warranted because for those
who form action plans or implementation intentions
spontaneously, an if-then structure will often be implicit.
Someone who starts a venture may implement an inten-
tion to register the business by planning to go to the
unlikely that such a person will use the form: BIf it is
10 a.m. on Friday, I will go to the Chamber of Com-
merce to register my business.^In contrast, using an
Fig. 1 Action phase model (below) and research model (above)
926 M. van Gelderen et al.
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explicit if-then structure is typically made mandatory in
research experiments or in training sessions.
The research evidence to date shows that implemen-
tation intentions can facilitate the transition from goal
intention to action (Carraro and Gaudreau 2013;
Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006). Gollwitzer and Sheerans
(2006) meta-analysis involved over 8000 participants in
94 independent studies and revealed a medium-to-large
effect size (d= 0.65) of implementation intentions on
goal attainment extending beyond the strength of the
goal intention. Implementation intentions have been
effectively applied to what Gollwitzer (2014) considers
the most prominent challenges affecting goal attain-
ment. These are getting started (the topic of the empir-
ical work in this article); shielding the ongoing goal
pursuit by staying on track in the face of competing
goals, temptations, and distractions; calling a halt to
unsuccessful efforts to reach a desired goal; and pre-
serving energy for the pursuit of subsequent goals
(Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006;Gollwitzer2014).
Gollwitzer and Sheeran (2006) meta-analyzed whether
implementation intentions help overcome three com-
mon obstacles to turning intentions into actions, also
relevant to the entrepreneurship context. The first obsta-
cle is losing sight of ones goal; the second is not seizing
opportunities to act; and the third is a failure to
disengage from a course of action when better options
are available. With respect to overcoming these three
obstacles, Gollwitzer and Sheeran (2006) found
medium-to-large magnitude effect sizes for implemen-
tation intentions (d= 0.54, 0.61, and 0.65, respectively).
The lists of challenges and obstacles that implementa-
tion intentions help to overcome suggest that implemen-
tation intentions can contain a wide variety of content, a
topic we will discuss at length in our future research
Implementation intentions are effective because they
heighten alertness to situational cues and automatize the
behavioral response. The control of the action is passed
from the person to the environment, which in turn frees
the individuals cognitive processing capacity to deal
with other aspects of the situation (Gollwitzer and
Oettingen 2015). Forming implementation intentions
activates the mental representation of specified cues
(the if component). The situation specified in the if
clause becomes cognitively activated and easily acces-
sible from memory. If the cue occurs, the response (the
then component) is thought to occur automatically
(Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006)andthereis
neuroscientific evidence to support this claim (Wieber
et al. 2015). Accordingly, implementation intentions
combine conscious planning and automatic response
activation. The automaticity of the then-response is
strategic, in the sense that it is based on an act of will
(Thürmer et al. 2015), and implementation intentions
can be said to be at the junction of controlled and
automatic processes (Wieber and Gollwitzer 2017).
Even if an if-then structure is not explicit, when imple-
mentation intentions (or action planning) are measured
by the specification of when, where, and how to act in
the service of ones intentions (Carraro and Gaudreau
2013), a contingent nature will often still be apparent as
the Bwhen^and Bwhere^aspects are specified together
with what action will be taken. The effectiveness of
implementation intentions in a broader sense may thus
also depend on the strategic automaticity engendered by
a cue-response link. We return to the effectiveness of
specific if-then formats in our research agenda
(Section 6.4). We note at this point that implementation
intentions, in whatever form, may also be effective for
other reasons, for example because they stimulate com-
mitment to the action (Ajzen et al. 2009; Fayolle and
Liñán 2014)orreflection.
The construct of implementation intentions may help
address the important theoretical question of why some
people with strong entrepreneurial goal intentions fail to
create a new venture. Recent meta-analyses in the health
domain have shown that implementation intentions
have a beneficial effect in both laboratory experiments
and field settings (Adriaanse et al. 2011; Belanger-
Gravel et al. 2013;Tolietal.2016). However, the
studies in health and other domains tend to concern
settings that are quite unlike starting a venture, where
attaining a goal can involve considerable uncertainty,
and a wide variety of activities are performed in differ-
ent sequences. Importantly, in the case of an overarching
goal such as starting a business, intenders not only need
to specify where and when they will perform a certain
action, but also select the what, that is, the start-up
activity on which they want to work. Of course, this
adds a requirement to correctly identify the activities
that will achieve a particular goal. A few field studies,
however, do involve goals that could be achieved via
several pathways, and they have found positive effects
associated with implementation intentions. One such
example is the study by Van Hooft et al. (2005), which
found that implementation intentions were a significant
predictor of subsequent job search behaviors. Based on
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 927
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the available evidence on the effectiveness of implemen-
tation intentions, we expect that they have a positive
effect on taking entrepreneurial action. But what influ-
ences the emergence of implementation intentions?
The majority of studies in the implementation inten-
tion literature involve research designs where the imple-
mentation intentions are induced, either by the research-
er or by the organization or entity that conducts an
intervention (Prestwich et al. 2015). An example of the
latter would be a training in which participants are
trained and then instructed to form implementation in-
tentions, and then the amount of action taken by this
group is compared to a control group. As a consequence,
less research has been done on those antecedents of
implementation intentions that arise naturally. The few
studies that do study non-induced, self-generated, spon-
taneous implementation intentions invariably show that
their occurrence is best predicted by goal intention
strength (Brickell et al. 2006; Churchill and Jessop
2010;Riseetal.2003). A meta-analysis in the health
domain by Carraro and Gaudreau (2013) involving a
range of types of action planning confirms the mediating
nature of action planning. The same study explains that
once individuals intend to pursue a goal, they may
spontaneously create action and coping plans to help
them with the logistics of goal striving and to protect
their intentions against temptations, obstacles, and
distractions. Similarly, Wieber and Gollwitzer (2017)
argue that goals and means are connected, and that the
activation of a mental representation of a goal should
also activate the mental representation of suitable means
to pursue that goal.
The action phase model guiding our study also
clearly shows that implementation intentions arise as
a consequence of goal intention strength. If implemen-
tation intentions are formed, they must have been pre-
ceded by a goal intention. Implementation intentions
are always in the service of goal intentions, and do not
exist in and of themselves. Of course, it is possible that
someone takes certain actions that eventually lead to a
new venture, and uses implementation intentions in the
process, but these implementation intentions can then
not be entrepreneurial implementation intentions to the
actor (although they could be labeled as such at a later
stage or by an outside observer), because the goal that
the actions served was not an entrepreneurial goal. In
sum, according to the action phase model, goal inten-
tions do not necessarily translate into implementation
intentions, and in that case the second phase will not be
completed, and the action will not be undertaken.
However, if implementation intentions are formed, they
are a consequence of goal intentions. Hence, we
H1 Implementation intention mediates the effect
of the goal intention to engage in business start-up
activities on subsequent entrepreneurial action.
We further hypothesize that the effect of implemen-
tation intention is contingent upon the strength of goal
intention. Sheeran et al. (2005) studied the interplay
between goal intentions and implementation intentions
and found that when participants had weak goal
intentions, implementation intentions had no impact
on behavioral performance. Prestwich et al. (2015)
and Gollwitzer and Sheeran (2006) similarly concluded
that implementation intentions benefit goal achieve-
ment only when if-then plans are underpinned by
strong goal intentions. It is not evident that our study
will deliver a similar result. First, studies in the
Gollwitzer tradition almost invariably involve research
designs, whether in the lab or in the field, where the
implementation intentions are induced, and where goal
intention strength among participants varies consider-
ably. In contrast, we study non-induced, spontaneous,
self-generated implementation intentions as they occur
naturally among people with an interest in starting a
venture. As implementation intentions always serve
goal intentions, we do not study those without any
interest in starting a venture. As a consequence, all
participants are at least somewhat motivated. Secondly,
studies that adopt a broader conception of action plan-
ning than implementation intentions in the Gollwitzer
tradition indicate that such action plans can also be
beneficial when goal intention strength is relatively
low (Carraro and Gaudreau 2013; Schüz et al. 2008).
It is possible to discern an augmentation and a substi-
tution effect. With an augmentation effect, goal inten-
tions moderate the impact of implementation intentions
on goal attainment such that strong effects of imple-
mentation intentions emerge when participants hold
strong goal intentions. With a substitution effect, im-
plementation intentions help the aspiring entrepreneur
take action, even if the level of motivation for the goal
was moderate. Because of the automaticity engendered
by the coupling of the what, when, and where aspects
of action, actions may be taken even if intention
strength is relatively low.
928 M. van Gelderen et al.
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The finding that implementation intentions foster
action even at moderate levels of entrepreneurial goal
intentions is important because nascent entrepreneur-
ship activities can be seen as experimenting, infor-
mation finding, opportunity shaping, and opportunity
enactment. Taking action can therefore increase mo-
tivation (the fourth and concluding phase of the ac-
tion phase model is once again motivational), or lead
to a justified conclusion that it is better not to start the
venture (Davidsson 2006; Gartner et al. 2003). With-
out action, it would be difficult to reach this conclu-
sion, and arriving at a conclusion is generally better
than lingering in the intention mode. We therefore
expect implementation intentions to be effective at
both high and moderate levels of goal intention
strength. Nevertheless, we expect the relation be-
tween implementation intentions and action to be
stronger for those with stronger goal intentions, be-
cause this group benefits from having both high
motivation and an action plan. This expectation is
in line with the results of Gielnik et al. (2014,2015),
who found that action planning (measured as the
level of detail in action plans) positively moderated
the effect of goal intentions on subsequent action.
Against this backdrop, we propose:
H2 Goal intention strength moderates the positive
relationship between implementation intentions
and subsequent entrepreneurial action, such that
the relationship is stronger when goal intention
strength is high.
3 Data and method
3.1 Data collection
We collected two waves of survey data using the pro-
prietary M3Panel for Sweden, which is representative of
the Swedish adult population. The questionnaire was
administered online in May (wave 1) and November
(wave 2) of 2015. Potential respondents were chosen
using random sampling from the pool of individuals
aged 18 to 70 in the M3Panel. The survey was clearly
labeled as academic research related to work and entre-
preneurship. Invitations to participate in the study were
sent to 3500 individuals, of whom 2092 responded
(response rate: 60%).
To minimize common method bias, the respondents
were assured they were contributing anonymously and
the order of the questions was also counterbalanced
(Podsakoff et al. 2003). Furthermore, we took measures
to avoid nonresponse bias by establishing the impor-
tance of the survey and keeping the questionnaire short
(Yu and Cooper 1983). Pilot testing indicated the full
questionnaire would take only around 5 to 6 min to
complete. We also assessed the sample of 2092 individ-
uals for potential nonresponse bias using archival anal-
ysis (Rogelberg and Stanton 2007). This involved com-
paring the characteristics of the sample with the charac-
teristics of the population. We compared the gender and
age distribution in the sample with the national distribu-
tion in the same age range based on the official Swedish
population statistics. Based on this analysis, nonre-
sponse bias does not seem to be a major issue in our
The survey began with a few demographic questions
followed by some on the respondents employment
status and intentions to commence activity to start a
business in the next 6 months. Individuals who were
self-employed or who had already taken concrete ac-
tions to start a business (nascent entrepreneurs) were
excluded from the study. Those without any level of
interest in starting a business in the next 6 months were
also excluded, because implementation intentions are
only likely to be effective among participants who have
set a relevant goal (Gollwitzer and Oettingen 2015;
Sheeran et al. 2005). Thus, the sample used in this
analysis includes those respondents who had some level
of intention to engage in business gestation activity in
the next 6 months, but who had not yet taken action
upon that intention. Questions concerning implementa-
tion intentions and a number of other relevant variables
were posed to the 903 respondents who reported an
interest in engaging in start-up activity in the following
6 months (based on the measure for goal intention
strength; see Section 3.2.3).
Six months later, those 903 individuals were invited
to participate in a follow-up survey which inquired
whether and to what extent the respondents had engaged
in start-up activity. We received 450 responses in wave 2
(response rate: 50%). After discarding 28 observations
due to missing values, the final sample used in the
regression analysis comprises data from 422 individ-
uals. All independent and control variables were
measured in wave 1, whereas the dependent variables
were measured in wave 2.
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 929
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3.2 Measures
3.2.1 Action
In order to ensure the robustness of our results, we
used two different approaches to operationalizing
entrepreneurial action. The first approach operation-
alized action as the magnitude of effort expended to
achieve the goal of starting a business, rather than
the achievement of the outcome of having started a
business. This aligns with the approach adopted by
Kautonen et al. (2015) who closely followed Ajzens
(2017) recommendations for operationalizing inten-
tion and action in the theory of planned behavior.
Our data contain two measures for the magnitude of
effort: the average number of hours spent weekly on
the start-up in the preceding 6 months (five catego-
ries; Table 1)andtheamount of start-up related
action taken in the preceding 6 months (none at all,
some,quite a lot,orvery much). Because these two
measures are highly correlated (Spearmansrho=
0.88) and produced nearly identical results, for par-
simony we only report the results pertaining to the
average number of hours spent weekly.
Although operationalizing action as the magnitude
of effort accords with established theory on intention
andaction(Ajzen2017), we also included measures
of goal achievement in our survey. This is because
aspiring entrepreneurs can expend effort without
making much progress with their ventures, and thus
understanding whether implementation intentions
lead to productive action is relevant in the entrepre-
neurial context. We captured goal achievement by
asking the respondents to assess the progress made
with their intended venture in the last 6 months. First,
we asked them which stage their venture project was
at when wave 2 of the survey was conducted. The
respondents chose from no action at all to having
established a fully operational business (five catego-
ries; Table 1). Second, we asked them to evaluate the
extent of progress made and their success in
progressing the intended business in the preceding
6 months with two respective 6-point rating scale
items (Cronbachs alpha: 0.90). The two measures
of progress are highly correlated (Spearmansrho=
0.81) and generate virtually identical results in re-
gression analysis. Therefore, in the interests of parsi-
mony, we opted to use only the ordinal measure in
the analysis.
3.2.2 Implementation intention
The measurement scale for implementation intention
used a 6-point Likert format anchored with strongly
disagree (1) and strongly agree (6) from Ziegelmann
et al. (2007) that was adapted to the context of new
venture creation. It comprises three items: BIhave
Tabl e 1 Descriptive statistics
Variable Mean SD
Action: Average number of weekly hours spent
on the intended start-up activity in the
last 6 months (t
0h .30
1horless .23
2to5h .26
6to10h .09
11 or more hours .11
Action: Progress made with the start-up activity
in the last 6 months (t
No action taken .30
Some action taken, but the individual considers
giving the idea up
Quite a bit of work left to do before the business
is fully operational
Business is getting close to being operational .09
Business is up and running .07
Implementation intention (index of 3 items; range
16; Cronbachs alpha .88) (t
3.41 1.21
Goal intention strength (1 = pretty sure/definitely;
0 =perhaps but not sure yet) (t
Prior entrepreneurial experience (1 = yes; 0 = no)
Intention duration: How long respondent has had
an intention to start a business (t
03 months .12
46 months .20
712 months .18
More than a year .50
Aim of the intended business (t
Part-time .47
Employ oneself .20
Employ a few people but not grow .22
Invest and grow .10
Female (t
Age (range: 18 to 70 years) (t
) 43.42 14.51
Higher education degree (t
Notes: n = 422. SD = standard deviation. t
and t
refer to the
variable having been measured in wave 1 or wave 2 of the survey,
930 M. van Gelderen et al.
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already planned precisely what I will do as my first step
to starting a business^;BI have already planned precisely
when to engage in my first step to starting a business^;
and BI have already planned precisely where to engage
in my first step to starting a business^(Cronbachs
alpha: 0.88).
3.2.3 Goal intention strength
We measured the intention to engage in business start-
up activity by asking the respondent: BDo you intend to
take steps to start a business in the next 6 months?^
Those who responded Bdefinitely not^were excluded
from the present study because our research focuses on
whether and to what extent people with entrepreneurial
intentions act on those intentions. The remaining re-
sponses were coded into a dummy where 0 stands for
Bperhaps I will but I am not yet sure^and1standsforBI
am pretty sure/I definitely will.^We combined the two
categories indicating higher levels of intention because
of the low frequency of responses in the highest catego-
ry. We interpret a zero categorization as indicating an
interest in starting a business, whereas a categorization
of one indicates an actual intention to act to start one.
Because this variable measures the strength of the in-
tention instead of the presence or absence of an intention
to engage in start-up activity, we refer to the variable as
goal intention strength.
3.2.4 Control variables
The regression models include several control variables
that, ex ante and based on prior research, influence
either the dependent variables or the dependent and the
independent variables. Prior entrepreneurial experience
is operationalized as a dummy where 0 stands for no
prior start-up experience, whereas 1 means that the
individual has been involved in one or more start-ups
prior to that currently considered. Previous studies as-
sociate having previous experience from start-up activ-
ities with a greater likelihood of acting upon entrepre-
neurial intentions (Van Gelderen et al. 2015; see Conner
and Armitage 1998 for meta-analytic evidence on a
more general positive relationship between past experi-
ence and acting on intentions). Intention duration was
operationalized as the number of months the individual
had held the intention to commence start-up activities.
Because the initial sample was collected at a single point
in time, participants varied in terms of how long they
had held their intention, which may affect the intention
action relationship. We further followed Kautonen et al.
(2015)incontrollingforthetype of business activity to
which the start-up intention pertains. Here, we distin-
guish between intended start-ups targeting a part-time
business; a sole proprietorship employing only the foun-
der; a small business employing a few people; or a
business into which the aspiring entrepreneur intends
to invest for growth. Finally, based on prior empirical
evidence (Parker 2009), we included gender,age,and
educational attainment as further control variables.
3.3 Sample characteristics
Tab le 1presents descriptive statistics for all variables in
the study. The action variables highlight a substantial
gap between intention and action, similar to prior re-
search on the entrepreneurial intentionaction relation-
ship (Gielnik et al. 2014;Kautonenetal.2015). Most
individuals in the sample either did not take any action
(30%) or took very little action (23% spent 1 h or less
per week on start-up activity). In addition, 16% reported
their business was fully operational or close to being
operational. These findings support the importance of
variables that influence translating goal setting into goal
striving. Table 2displays the correlation matrix. Be-
cause the dependent variables, intention duration, and
business aim are ordinal variables, the matrix reports
Spearmans rank correlation coefficients. It is worth
noting that although the dependent variables capture
different facets of entrepreneurial actionmagnitude
of action and progress made toward the goaltheir
inter-correlation is high at 0.79.
Our hypotheses imply mediation and moderation ef-
fects, such that implementation intentions are proposed
to mediate the effect of goal intention strength on taking
action (H1), while at the same time, goal intention
strength is hypothesized to moderate the effect of im-
plementation intentions ontaking action (H2). We opted
for path analysis with maximum-likelihood estimation
to test our hypotheses. This technique makes it possible
to test mediating and moderating effects in a single
model (Williams et al. 2009). Because the dependent
variables capturing action are measured on ordinal
scales, we specified the respective structural equations
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 931
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as ordinal logit regressions. We examined the models for
multicollinearity and influential observations but did not
find any evidence to suggest that either of these issues
would be a problem in our analysis.
The first column in Table 3reports the estimates of
the equation pertaining to the mediator in the path
model: implementation intention. Not surprisingly, a
high level of implementation intention is significantly
associated with a high level of goal intention strength.
Because the results pertaining to implementation inten-
tion are identical across the different path models (the
models we estimated vary only in the equation
pertaining to the dependent variable), for parsimony
we only report these estimates once in Table 3.The
remaining columns therefore report the estimates of
ent model specifications. In Models 1 and 2, the depen-
dent variable is the number of hours spent on start-up
activities each week, whereas the dependent variable in
Models 3 and 4 is progress with the new venture project.
Models 1 and 3 present the unconditional effects, while
Models 2 and 4 add the interaction between goal inten-
tion strength and implementation intention to the equa-
tion pertaining to action.
Models 1 and 3 show that implementation intention
exerts a positive and significant effect on action. This
effect is similar for both operationalizations of entrepre-
neurial action, an outcome that supports the robustness
of the finding. The results also indicate that goal inten-
tion strength is positively and significantly associated
with action. Using the estimates in Models 1 and 3, and
also the column pertaining to implementation intention
in Table 3, we computed the indirect effect of goal
intention strength on action via implementation inten-
tion. For Model 1, the indirect effect is 0.67 (p<0.001)
and for Model 3, it is 0.75 (p< 0.001). The indirect
effects constitute 45 and 48% of the total effect of goal
intention strength on action (computed as the sum of the
indirect and direct effects) in Models 1 and 3, respec-
tively. We therefore conclude that the effect of goal
intention strength on action is partially and significantly
mediated by implementation intention, and accordingly,
we find support for Hypothesis 1.
Models 2 and 4 include an interaction between
implementation intention and goal intention strength
to test Hypothesis 2, which proposed that goal inten-
tion strength moderates the relationship between im-
plementation intention and action. The interaction
term is positive and significant for both action mea-
sures. This means that the effect of implementation
vidual has a high level of goal intention strength and
weaker when the level of goal intention strength is
low (Aiken and West 1991). Thus, Hypothesis 2 is
supported. Figure 2illustrates the interaction effect
for Model 2 where the dependent variable is the
number of weekly hours spent on start-up activities.
The finding is robust against the other action vari-
able: the graph for Model 4, featuring progress made
with the start-up as the dependent variable, is virtu-
ally identical to the one depicted in Fig. 2(this graph
is available from the authors upon request).
Support for Hypothesis 2 means that the mediation
effect in Hypothesis 1 examined above needs to be
Tabl e 2 Correlation matrix
Variable 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
1. Action (weekly hours) (t
2. Action (progress with start-up) (t
3. Implementation intention (t
4. Goal intention strength (t
) .33* .33* .42* 1
5. Prior entrepreneurial experience (t
).00 .02 .07 .02 1
6. Intention duration (t
).31* .33* .37* .29* .08 1
7. Aim of the intended business (t
) .04 .02 .00 .00 .03 .02 1
8. Female (t
).02.06 .14* .04 .03 .05 .00 1
9. Age (t
).24* .19* .08 .14* .24* .30* .16* .19* 1
10. Higher education degree (t
).02 .07 .03 .05 .01 .07 .01 .04* .05
Notes: n =422. Spearmans rhos. *p<.05. t
and t
refer to the variable having been measured in wave 1 or wave 2 of the survey,
932 M. van Gelderen et al.
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
adjusted to account for the significant moderation.
To do so, we computed moderated mediation ef-
fects following the procedures outlined by Hayes
(2013). Figure 3displays the indirect effect of
2. Again, the result for the other dependent vari-
able (in Model 4) is virtually identical, supporting
the robustness of the finding (the graph is avail-
able from the authors upon request). The indirect
effect is adjusted in such a way that the relation-
ship between implementation intention and action
is moderated by goal intention strength. The indi-
rect effect of goal intention strength is positive and
significant (p< 0.001) at both levels of goal
intention strength. But as Fig. 3shows, the indi-
rect effect is stronger when goal intention strength
is high.
Finally, we examined the robustness of our results by
comparing novice and experienced entrepreneurs and
also men and women. We did this by adding respective
higher-order interaction terms (implementation intention
* goal intention strength * prior entrepreneurial experi-
ence/gender) to the equations pertaining to action in
Models 2 and 4. Similarly, we added an interaction
between goal intention strength and experience/gender
to the equations pertaining to implementation intention in
Models 2 and 4. The additional interactions were clearly
non-significant, suggesting that prior entrepreneurial
Tabl e 3 Path-model estimates
Mediator: Implementation
intention (t
Dependent variable: Action
(weekly hours) (t
Dependent variable: Action
(progress with start-up) (t
(1) (2) (3) (4)
Implementation intention (II) (t
) .60*** (.09) 53*** (.10) .67*** (.10) .55*** (.10)
Goal intention strength (t
) 1.11*** (.14) .83** (.26) .37 (.34) .80** (.27) .13 (.34)
II * goal intention strength .61* (.28) .88** (.28)
Prior entrepreneurial experience (t
) .09 (.12) .09 (.22) .11 (.22) .12 (.23) .09 (.22)
Intention duration (base: more than a year) (t
03 months .61*** (.17) .82** (.31) .69* (.32) 1.07** (.33) .89** (.33)
46 months .76*** (.14) .31 (.26) .34 (.26) .56* (.27) .64* (.27)
712 months .47** (.14) .30 (.25) .33 (.25) .36 (.26) .43 (.26)
Aim of the intended business (base: part-time) (t
Employ oneself .23 (.14) .07 (.25) .16 (.25) .18 (.25) .32 (.26)
Employ a few people but not grow .15 (.13) .20 (.25) .11 (.25) .49 (.25) .35 (.25)
Invest and grow .09 (.17) .11 (.29) .12 (.29) .20 (.31) .26 (.31)
Female (t
).38*** (.10) .07 (.19) .06 (.19) .26 (.19) .27 (.19)
Age (t
) .00 (.00) .02** (.01) .02** (.01) .02* (.01) .02* (.01)
Age squared .00 (.00) .00 (.00) .00 (.00) .00* (.00) .00* (.00)
Higher education degree (t
) .00 (.11) .01 (.19) .00 (.19) .29 (.20) .29 (.20)
R-squared .28 .30 .31 .35 .37
Log likelihood 1181.18 1178.78 11 35.71 1130.41
Notes: n = 422. Maximum-likelihood estimates. Threshold and intercept estimates not reported
Because the estimates pertaining to implementation intention are identical across the four path-model specifications, these results are
reported only once
The column pertaining to implementation intention reports linear path-model coefficients and their standard errors. The columns pertaining
to action report logit coefficients and their standard errors. The R-squared in these columns is the McKelvey and Zavoina pseudo R-squared.
Implementation intention and age are mean-centered. t
and t
refer to the variable having been measured in wave 1 or wave 2 of the survey,
*p<.05, **p<.01,***p< .001 (two-tailed)
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 933
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experience and gender do not influence the relationships
between implementation intention, goal intention
strength, and action.
5 Discussion
Consistent with prior research on the intentionaction
relationship in the context of new venture creation
(Gielnik et al. 2014;Kautonenetal.2015), the present
study reveals a considerable gap between the formation
of intentions and the realization of those intentions. Of
the 422 respondents in our study who had some level of
intention to commence activities to progress starting
their own business, 30% took no action and a further
23% spent less than 1 h per week on start-up activities in
the subsequent 6-month period. Moreover, only 16% of
the respondents reported having a business that was
either fully operational or close to being so. The results
highlight the relevance of implementation intentions to
taking entrepreneurial action, and add to the body of
evidence showing that variables that advance effective
action regulation play an important role in achieving
entrepreneurial goals (Gielnik et al. 2014,2015;Van
Gelderen et al. 2015). Entrepreneurial goals involve
hierarchies of single acts undertaken in specific situa-
tional contexts involving deadlines or windows of op-
portunity, and our findings indicate how important it is
Fig. 2 Effect of implementation
intention(measured in wave 1) on
action (hours expended weekly;
later) for low and high levels of
goal intention strength
Fig. 3 Indirect effect of goal
intention strength (measured in
wave 1) on action (weekly hours;
later) via implementation
intention (measured in wave 1)
934 M. van Gelderen et al.
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to identify both the means (responses) and the context
(internal or external cues) that will permit intentions to
be realized. Moreover, whereas studies addressing im-
plementation intentions tend to reveal that they are only
effective when the person concerned also has strong
goal intentions (Gollwitzer and Sheeran 2006;Sheeran
et al. 2005), our results indicate that implementation
intentions can also be effective in cases when a persons
goal intentions are not particularly strong. This finding
echoes those on action planning generally (Carraro and
Gaudreau 2013; Schüz et al. 2008).
More generally, our results highlight the importance
of theorizing beyond a simple intentionbehavior link.
The theory of action phases helps understand why some
people do not act on their intentions: if individuals do
not transition to the pre-actional phase because they do
not prepare for their actions through implementation
intentions, they are less likely to enter the more ad-
vanced action phases and then less likely to achieve
their goal. Because implementation intentions constitute
a form of planning, our results support the importance of
planning in creating a new venture. The concept of
planning has been criticized in the scholarly and practi-
tioner literature, which increasingly acknowledges the
importance offlexibility, intuition, affect, improvisation,
and effectuation in the entrepreneurial process (Frese
et al. 2015;Lerneretal.2018). Indeed, entrepreneurial
actions can be non-routine, have multiple objectives that
can be pursued in different sequences, and be performed
in the context of uncertainty. The discussion of plan-
ning, however, is focused primarily at the formal
venture-level (Brinckmann et al. 2010; Honig 2004;
Sarasvathy 2001) at the cost of overlooking the fact that
even in flexible, intuitive, affective, improvisational,
and effectual approaches, actions are still regulated,
and can benefit from improved regulation. We return
to this issue when outlining future research directions in
the next section.
Readers might question whether it is necessarily a
good thing that entrepreneurial intentions always trans-
late into actions, for example, if a persons personality
structure shows a poor fit with entrepreneurial en-
deavors (Obschonka and Stuetzer 2017). However,
discovering that this is the case is not incompatible
with forming and acting on implementation intentions.
First, actions may be taken to evaluate the desirability
and feasibility of a new venture rather than starting a
business per se. Second, the action phase model has a
fourth phase, evaluation, which we do not study, but
which proposes that after finishing an action, a new
motivational phase ensues, during which individuals
consider their next step. Here aspects of desirability,
feasibility, and norms are reconsidered. Third, imple-
mentation intentions are not necessarily concerned with
initiating action, and might instead be concerned with
timely disengagement from a course of action (e.g., Bif
taking steps to start a new venture makes me feel
uncomfortable for five consecutive days, then I will
cease my start-up activities.^) (Gollwitzer 2014;
Gollwitzer et al. 2008).
The present studys results add to the literature on
implementation intentions by showing their effective-
ness in the context of setting up a new venture. How-
ever, the form of implementation intentions in this
study is somewhat different from that suggested in
typical studies of implementation intentions, which pre-
dominantly concern relatively simple and discrete be-
haviors, whether in laboratory or field settings. In
starting a new business, the prospective entrepreneur
must first decide what action he or she will take and
how, before deciding when and where to engage in that
action. Moreover, the 6-month time frame used in this
study means the situational cues were specified at a
relatively general level. Nevertheless, the present
studys results demonstrate that even in these applied
conditions, implementation intentions are still effective.
One reason for that may be that situational cues within
implementation intentions are not necessarily specific
in terms of time and place (such as calling supplier X
from the office on day Z), but can also support passive
search and alertness, a point we will explore further in
our research agenda below.
The empirical study of implementation intentions in the
context of entrepreneurship is relatively new, and con-
sequently there are numerous opportunities for scholars
to advance the understanding of the topic, some of
which we present below. Moreover, several of the fol-
lowing suggestions will address the limitations of the
present study.
6.1 Variations in implementation intention content
Implementation intentions can involve awidevariety
of content, and effectiveness in the context of
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 935
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entrepreneurship may vary from one type to the next.
This applies to the volitional problem that the imple-
mentation intention helps to overcome, as well as the if
and the then components of the implementation inten-
tion. Volitional problems relating to goal achievement
might include the initiation of actions, the continued
pursuit of actions (e.g., guarding against distractions),
the termination of actions (if better alternatives arise),
or the transition toward taking follow-up action
(Gollwitzer 2014). Our study only addressed action
initiation, and future research might consider the effec-
tiveness of implementation intentions with respect to
these other volitional issues occurring later in the en-
trepreneurial process.
Furthermore, future research could consider various
types of Bthen^responses. For example, Prestwich
et al. (2015) distinguish between response-facilitating,
replacement, distraction-inhibiting, and negation im-
plementation intentions. Our empirical work merely
focuses on response-facilitating implementation inten-
tions. Other types of implementation intentions may be
relevant for behaviors that hinder the initiation and
execution of the start-up process. For example,
watching television or playing video games can divert
time, energy, and attention from entrepreneurial action.
Therefore, implementation intentions may not only be
framed with regard to entrepreneurial actions, but
might also reference barriers and distractions that jeop-
ardize goal completion. The situational cues that trig-
ger counterproductive habits may be specified in the if
component of implementation intentions, along with
an appropriate response (cf. the concept of coping
planning, Carrero and Gaudreau, 2013).
It should be noted that the then component does
not necessarily refer to actions, but can also address
cognitions or emotions. For example, Thürmer et al.
(2015) find facilitating, reflecting, suppression, and
prioritization implementation intentions influential
in organizational contexts. An example of a reflec-
tion implementation intention would be: BIf I receive
feedback about my product or service, I will take
some time to think it over.^Somewhat similarly, the
if component (the cue) can be external, such as an
environmental feature (e.g., encountering an object,
time of day, etc.) or internal, such as a feeling (e.g.,
boredom) or a motivation (e.g., to be social)
(Prestwich et al. 2015). Future research might ex-
amine and compare the effectiveness of various im-
plementation intentions.
6.2 Specificity and level of analysis
A second issue relating to content that future research
might consider is to examine whether implementation
intentions are more or less effective for particular ges-
tation activities. In the present study, we treated entre-
preneurial action as a single general category, asking
about embarking on steps to start a venture. This re-
quired participants to identify not only when and where
they would take action, but also what action they
intended to take. The level of analysis could be
changed to specific gestation activities, such as pro-
moting the venture or applying for financing. Doing so
would permit researchers to identify the activities for
which implementation intentions are more or less ef-
fective. Moreover, if implementation intentions are
formed for different activities, this also raises the ques-
tion of whether their effectiveness increases or de-
creases if multiple implementation intentions are oper-
ational at the same time (Prestwich et al. 2015). In
addition, the time frame could be varied. The current
research applied a 6-month follow-up but time frames
could be considerably shorter. It may well be that
implementation intentions are more highly correlated
with specific actions in the short term; but a corre-
sponding danger is that they become so proximal as
predictors that they lose their meaning (Davidsson
2007), and that the importance of distal factors be-
comes underspecified. With regard to time, a further
issue is whether implementation intentions continue to
exert their influence over time, and if so, for how long.
Gielnik et al. (2015) found that the effects of an action
planning training course had worn off after 18 months.
Does one implementation intention then suffice, or
does the intention need to be reinforced or repeated
(Prestwich et al. 2015)?
6.3 Implementation intentions and uncertainty
An intriguing research direction concerns the context of
the venture in terms of uncertainty and decision-making
logic. Although implementation intentions involve the
formulation of situational cues, that does not mean that
those cues must be certain to arise. The latter would be
the case if time, place, and response are set (e.g., Bon
Wednesday, I will go to the Chamber of Commerce to
register my venture^). However, implementation inten-
tions may well be particularly powerful in effectual
(Sarasvathy 2001) or creation (Alvarez and Barney
936 M. van Gelderen et al.
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2007) approaches, because then the cues will require
alertness. For example, the effectual principles of being
open to surprises and partnerships actually benefit from
planning on the action level. Implementation intentions
can be helpful in specifying the situational cues to which
prospective entrepreneurs should respond, even if the
exact time and place cannot be planned. An example is:
Bwhenever someone representing another business ex-
presses an interest in my product or service, I will bring
up the topic of possible collaboration.^Implementation
intentions may thus be a form of planning that functions
well in conditions characterized by uncertainty and
6.4 Induced versus non-induced implementation
In the vast majority of studies, implementation inten-
tions are induced on the participants by the researchers
or by the entity supplying the data (Prestwich et al.
2015). Research on naturally occurring implementation
intentions is scarce in the Gollwitzer tradition (for
exceptions see Armitage 2009; Brickell et al. 2006;
Churchill and Jessop 2010;Riseetal.2003), although
studies of non-induced action plans are common in the
wider action planning literature (Carraro and Gaudreau
2013; Hagger and Luszczynska 2014). The question
arises as to whether induced implementation intentions
are more effective than spontaneous implementation
intentions. A further question is whether and when an
intervention based on implementation intentions adds
value over and above implementation intentions that are
spontaneously formed. Spontaneous, self-generated im-
plementation intentions have the advantage of their cues
and responses being most salient to each individuals
case (Armitage 2009; Wieber and Gollwitzer 2017).
Interventions, on the other hand, can encourage partic-
ipants to engage in a systematic search for critical situ-
ations and instrumental action responses (Wieber and
Gollwitzer 2017). In contrast, those who form their
implementation plans spontaneously may engage in less
detailed processing and embrace the first if-then plan
that comes to mind (Wieber and Gollwitzer 2017).
Spontaneous and experimentally induced planning
could potentially interact, as those already forming
spontaneous plans may not benefit (at all or as much)
from interventions designed to promote planning
(Carraro and Gaudreau 2013), an issue we return to in
Section 6.6.
Yet another aspect pertaining to induced versus
spontaneous, self-generated implementation inten-
tions concerns the if-then form. In the former, the
if-then form is guaranteed; in non-induced settings,
the if-then form is likely to be implicit. Two studies
(Chapman et al. 2009; Oettingen et al. 2000) directly
compared the two, and found the induced forms to be
more effective. The induced form was argued to be
more effective because it had the advantage of cue
salience and response automaticity. However, careful
examination of the above-mentioned studies shows
that the spontaneous condition was disadvantaged in
terms of research design. A generic form (implying
each Wednesday, compared to next Wednesday for
the mandatory if-then form) was supplied by
Oettingen et al. (2000) and the instruction by Chap-
man et al. (2009) made no reference to the Bwhen^
and Bwhere^aspects for the spontaneous condition. It
is unlikely that self-generated, spontaneous imple-
mentation intentions take an explicit if-then form;
however, the conditional nature may still be present
even if implicit. For example, it is debatable whether
Bif it is Wednesday, then I will go to the Chamber of
Commerce to register my venture^will generate
more action than Bnext Wednesday I will go to the
6.5 Antecedents of implementation intentions
As implementation intentions are often studied in
settings where they are induced, there is little infor-
mation on their antecedents. The studies that allowed
implementation intentions to form naturally invari-
ably show that goal intention strength is their main
determinant (e.g., Brickell et al. 2006;Churchilland
Jessop 2010). The current study also shows that to be
the case; however, our research design did not in-
clude additional antecedents of implementation in-
tentions. As implementation intentions are always in
the service of a goal intention, additional antecedents
can only be moderators, making it more likely that
implementation intentions are formed, rather than
being direct causes in themselves. Conscientiousness
may be one such candidate, and high reflexivity
another: both traits facilitate the consideration of
implementation aspects (Thürmer et al. 2015;
Wieber et al. 2013). A variable that makes it more
likely that implementation intentions are formed
(without intervention or induction) may also
Implementation intentions in the entrepreneurial process: concept, empirical findings, and research agenda 937
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influence the effectiveness of implementation inten-
tions. However, the sign does not need to be the
same; for example, Webb et al. (2007)foundthat
implementation intentions were ineffective for those
registering high in conscientiousness. This brings us
to our next point.
6.6 Substitution and augmentation
Whether implementation intentions have stronger sub-
stitution or augmentation effects in the context of en-
trepreneurial goal pursuits merits further attention. In
line with the literature (Wieber et al. 2013), our study
has shown that implementation intentions are effective
if goal intention strength is high, yet we found that they
were also effective at lower levels of goal intention
strength. Future research might consider additional
moderators. In the case of entrepreneurship, experience
is a variable of interest, as is self-efficacy, and perceived
behavioral control (Rise et al. 2003), and traits such as
conscientiousness and impulsiveness (Churchill and
Jessop 2010;Gollwitzeretal.2010). For each, it can
be argued that implementation intentions help to com-
pensate for a weakness, or augment a strength. For
example, it can be argued that implementation inten-
tions particularly benefit those with little start-up expe-
rience, because such intentions force individuals to
consider crucial cues and responses. Conversely, it is
possible that those with experience formulate better-
quality implementation intentions and are therefore
likely to take action more effectively. The current study
identifies an augmentation effect for goal intention
strength and no effects for experience; however, as the
points above indicate, there is a wide range of research
settings in which the impact of moderators of the rela-
tionship between implementation intentions and action
could be explored.
An additional possible variation relates to the
outcome variable, which might be different to what
was used in this empirical work. For example,
scholars might investigate whether the presence of
implementation intentions makes it more likely that
the business becomes successful. Researchers should
however bear in mind that implementation intentions
concern actions rather than the outcomes of actions,
so even a research design focusing on success would
need to look at actions as an intermediate step. This
also raises the issue of the instrumentality of imple-
mentation intentions. An implementation intention
makes it more likely that an action is taken, but not
every action is necessarily associated with improved
6.7 Mental contrasting
A further point relating to the effectiveness of imple-
mentation intentions concerns combining them with
mental contrasting (Oettingen 2012;Oettingenetal.
2001). Mental contrasting implies juxtaposing vi-
sions of desired future outcomes with the obstacles
of the present reality. The mental contrasting strategy
guarantees a person will be identifying obstacles that
are personally relevant, meaning those obstacles can
then be specified as the critical cues in the if compo-
nent of implementation intentions. It also helps to
identify instrumental means to overcome those ob-
stacles that can be specified in the then component.
Mental contrasting therefore leads to more specific
and higher quality if-then plans (Gollwitzer 2014).
Mental contrasting trainings have recently been
enriched with explicit instructions to form if-then
plans. Such mental contrasting with implementation
intentions intervention studies reported lasting be-
havior change (Oettingen et al. 2013).
7 Conclusion
Moving beyond motivation and intention, the present
of the gap between the formation of entrepreneurial
intentions and their subsequent translation into ac-
tions. The analysis demonstrates the positive effect of
implementation intentions. Although those with
weak goal intentions do benefit from having imple-
mentation intentions, the results indicate that having
implementation intentions is particularly effective for
those with strong goal intentions. At the same time,
our research agenda illustrates that there is still much
to be discovered. Not only is the road to hell paved
with good intentions, roads to entrepreneurship are
too. Therefore, studying the question of what reduces
the intentionaction gap will continue to be an im-
portant endeavor.
Acknowledgements Michael Gielnik provided highly valuable
comments on an earlier version of this manuscript; obviously, any
errors remain the responsibility of the authors.
938 M. van Gelderen et al.
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... The majority of studies used the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) to predict entrepreneurial action from entrepreneurial intention (e.g., Krueger et al., 2000;Liñán & Chen, 2010;Munir et al., 2019;Schlaegel & Koenig, 2014;Van Gelderen et al., 2008). Although they proposed entrepreneurial actions taken upon entrepreneurial intentions as the ultimate dependent variable, these studies merely focused on explaining entrepreneurial intentions (Van Gelderen et al., 2018), mirroring an underlying assumption, i.e., when we effectively predicted entrepreneurial intention can the subsequent actions emerge naturally. These studies shared some interesting insights, yet left an incomplete picture. ...
... Gielnik et al. (2018) examined the effect of age with longitudinal survey data from 343 Australian individuals and found that elders have abundant social capital, which makes them more likely to translate entrepreneurial intention into action, whereas youngers are not. Van Gelderen et al. (2018) confirmed that implementation intention is a key factor in bridging the discrepancy between entrepreneurial intention and action with survey data from Sweden. Delanoë-Gueguen and Fayolle (2019) held the same arguments, supporting that implementation intention works as a Rubicon crossing point, and actors that can cross the point are the key to transforming aspiring entrepreneurs into nascent entrepreneurs. ...
... Data collection was conducted online. Online surveys are widely used by scholars to examine entrepreneurial activities, entrepreneurial cognition, and decision making in entrepreneurship (Davis et al., 2017;Strese et al., 2018;van Gelderen et al., 2018). To conduct an online survey, we randomly selected the respondents with a research platform called Kurundata, which has been widely used in management and social science research (e.g., Chen & Martens, 2021;Lyu et al., 2021;Osman et al., 2021). ...
Full-text available
Current studies on the discrepancy between entrepreneurial intention and action have obtained some interesting findings. However, attention to the factors embedded in entrepreneurship uncertainty remains lacking. This study constructs a dual mediation model from the perspective of loss aversion and affordable loss and examines the roles of loss aversion and affordable loss in explaining the discrepancy with a survey data from 235 individuals. The results indicate that loss aversion and affordable loss mediate the effect of entrepreneurial intention on taking entrepreneurial action, and the mediating effect of affordable loss is stronger than that of loss aversion. Being faced with unknown outcomes of entrepreneurial activities, individuals’ loss aversion hinders them from taking entrepreneurial actions, whereas affordable loss can help them overcome the hindering effect and improve the translation from entrepreneurial intention to concrete actions. This study not only provides theoretical support for addressing the discrepancy between entrepreneurial intention and action but also offers some specific practical implications for actors to transform entrepreneurial intention into concrete actions.
... Creating a new organization requires a broad and complex constellation of activities that can be either enjoyable and enriching for the entrepreneur or else painful and costly. It requires continuous effort from entrepreneurs and can generate numerous volition-related problems (Van Gelderen, Kautonen and Fink, 2015;Van Gelderen, Kautonen, Wincent and Biniari, 2018). Initial motivations might not be enough (Blank and Gabay-Mariani, 2021), or tainted through the process by obsessive considerations, including when it would have been wiser for the entrepreneurs to stop. ...
... While intentions are robust predictors of future entrepreneurial behavior, they alone have been proven insufficient in explaining their transformation into concrete entrepreneurial behavior (Schlaegel and Koenig, 2014). In turn, an increasing number of studies examine how goal intentions can be transformed into actual steps toward these goals (Shinnar et al., 2012;Van Gelderen et al., 2015;Adam and Fayolle, 2016;Van Gelderen et al., 2018;Delanoë-Gueguen and Fayole, 2019). This new focus puts volitional constructs such as commitment (Fayolle and Liñán, 2014;Adam and Fayolle, 2015) at the forefront of future research investigating the entrepreneurial process. ...
... Some scholars define EI as the willingness or inclination of an individual to become an entrepreneur in the near future [15]. In the field of entrepreneurship research, a large body of literature shows that EI is regarded as a decisive factor in engaging in entrepreneurial behavior [16][17][18][19]. Therefore, exploring the factors that trigger individual entrepreneurial intentions is a key topic in academia, and many factors have already been verified [20,21]. ...
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Based on planned behavior theory (TPB), this study aims to explore the direct or indirect impacts of entrepreneurship education on entrepreneurial intentions through entrepreneurial self-efficacy and explore the moderating role of psychological capital. Sample data were collected by sending online electronic questionnaires to university students in some universities in Guangxi. A structural equation model was used to test the 757 valid sample data. The results showed that: (1) college students of different genders and those with or without family business experience have significant differences in terms of their entrepreneurial intentions; (2) entrepreneurship education has a significant positive impact on entrepreneurial intentions; (3) entrepreneurial self-efficacy plays a complete mediating role; and (4) higher psychological capital can positively regulate the impact of entrepreneurial self-efficacy on entrepreneurial intention. The findings help explain the need for entrepreneurship education. In order to increase students’ participation in entrepreneurship education courses, different innovative technology-based curricula and educational methods can be used at higher educational levels. In addition, this study constructs a mediation and moderation model influencing entrepreneurial intention based on TPB, which further tests and enriches the research perspective of this theory from the perspective of positive psychology.
... possibility of distinct antecedents for the motivational (goal setting) and volitional (action) phases of the entrepreneurship process, as defined by Gollwitzer's action phase theory (Gollwitzer, 1999). In other words, entrepreneurial goal and implementation intentions are not determined by the same set of factors. This perspective is backed up by van Gelderen et. al. (2018), Brickell et. al. (2006), and Churchill and Jessop (2010, who assert that goal intentions are the primary predictor of implementation intention. Consistent with the preceding, this study discovered a positive predictive relationship between entrepreneurial goal and implementation intentions. ...
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The concept of intentionality is widely recognised for its contribution to understanding pre-planned human behaviour, hence the need to fathom its underlying determinants as a precursor to any attempts to predict or influence future human activity. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of supportive environments and higher education institutions on students’ entrepreneurial goal and implementation intentions in Zimbabwe. Also, the study sought to evaluate the applicability of Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behaviour to the context. A cross-sectional quantitative survey of a convinience sample of students from selected higher education institutions in the country was conducted. The 284 responses obtained from the survey were analysed using the partial least squares structural equation modelling statistical technique. The computer software Smart PLS 3 was used for this purpose. The results indicate a direct influence of university support on entrepreneurial goal intention and perceived behavioural control. In addition, they confirm a direct influence of supportive environments on perceived behavioural control and subjective norms. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that perceived behavioural and subjective norms directly influenced entrepreneurial goal intention. Finally, the results show that entrepreneurial goal intention was a significant predictor of entrepreneurial implementation intention. All other tested relationships were not statistically significant. The study makes two significant contributions to the literature. Firstly, it theorises and empirically tests the influence of supportive educational institutions and external environments on separate classes of entrepreneurial intentions within a single study. Secondly, it tests the relevance of the Theory of Planned Behaviour to two distinct but related categories of entrepreneurial intentions.
... Intentions research's main objective is to anticipate potential behaviour (Sheeran and Webb, 2016). Research has shown that intentions models can be an effective tool for examining entrepreneurial intentions and the factors that influence them (Tausif et al., 2021;Lechuga et al., 2020;Debarliev et al., 2015;Martínez-González, 2019;Vamvaka et al., 2020). In this research, the intended 'behaviour' is entrepreneurial intention to establish a new enterprise, and the perceived behaviour control measures entrepreneurial abilities (self-efficacy). ...
It is becoming a topic of increasing significance on a global scale to encourage students in educational institutions of higher learning to behave in an entrepreneurial manner. It is especially true in the countries that make up the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region, where there is a greater pressing need to cultivate and develop college students into business owners who can financially support themselves through their own businesses. Since only several studies considered the impact of education on aspiring business owners in fast-developing countries like Saudi Arabia, this study helps fill a gap in the existing body of academic research. The primary objective of this research is to evaluate the impact that participation in educational programs about entrepreneurship has on the possibility that college students will be engaged in entrepreneurial activities in the future. It is significant to give education’s central role in cultivating and encouraging entrepreneurship. This investigation utilized the theory of planned behaviour as its primary framework. A convenience sample was used to collect responses to a questionnaire that was administered online. The recruitment process resulted in the participation of a total of 250 individuals who had previously attended institutions in Saudi Arabia and engaged in entrepreneurship education. The findings indicated that an individual’s attitude toward entrepreneurship and their assessment of their level of behavioural control (perceived entrepreneurship abilities) significantly impact an individual’s intention to participate in entrepreneurial activity. On the other hand, subjective norms do not significantly impact the intention to engage in entrepreneurial activity. The most noteworthy finding is that the extent to which students aspire to launch their own businesses is significantly influenced by entrepreneurship education. An explanation of the study’s limitations and some suggestions for more research were presented and discussed further. The study is limited to participation in entrepreneurship education. However, additional research investigating both the quality and quantity of education is also advised.
... Entrepreneurship cannot be understood by looking only at individual entrepreneur factors or situational variables in isolation. By considering that entrepreneurial activity is a planned behavior as recognized in Justo et al. (2008) and van Gelderen et al. (2018), then arises the need to understand and recognize EI. Understanding the antecedents of intentions enhances the understanding of the phenomenon of entrepreneurial activity. ...
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This study analysis the entrepreneurial intention (EI) of 236 students attending higher education considering a heterogeneous sample of students with diverse profiles and work experience, which allows exploring its role in EI. The findings confirm that understanding EI requires considering a multidimensional model that includes attitude toward entrepreneurship, perceived entrepreneurial capacity, perceived social norms, and entrepreneurship education (EE). Furthermore, students with professional experience manifest a higher EI and a higher perception of the role that EE can play in the process of establishing a start-up.
... Entrepreneurial activities are perceived as instruments that propel nations' long-term economic growth (Urbano et al., 2020). In support, the recent research literature has focused on the role of intention within the entrepreneurial process (van Gelderen et al., 2018;Abbasianchavari and Moritz, 2019;Hou et al., 2019). Hence intents and the formation process are now considered within the entrepreneurship literature. ...
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The growing population of new graduates and the increasing scarcity of employment opportunities have made entrepreneurship an unavoidable option for employment and self-sustenance. This study investigates the effect of the initiative in moderating the relationship between intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and entrepreneurship intention through the integrated framework of theory of planned behaviour, self-determination, and humanism. This study contributes insights to how these factors moderated by initiative influence entrepreneurial intention among graduating students of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. This study adopted a cross-sectional design to examine the moderating role of initiative on the relationship between intrinsic motivation, and self-efficacy on entrepreneurial intention among Nigerian graduates. A total number of 688 graduate students, including 266 (38.6%) males and 422 (61.4%) females with a mean age of 24.30 years (SD = 3.69), participated in the study. Participants responded to a self-report questionnaire containing Initiative, Intrinsic motivation, self-efficacy, and entrepreneurial intention scales. Results showed that all the variables correlated positively with entrepreneurial intention. Furthermore, initiative moderated the relationship between self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intention [value and start-ups/operations (OPS)], such that high self-efficacy with high initiative showed higher entrepreneurial intention (value). While to those with low self-efficacy and low initiative, high self-efficacy with high initiative showed higher entrepreneurial intention (OPS) compared to low self-efficacy and low initiative. The study highlighted the role of initiative in transforming young graduates' entrepreneurial intention into full-fledged entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurial intention is typically acknowledged as the foundational antecedent of entrepreneurial behaviour. However, existing conceptual and empirical studies reveal that not all entrepreneurial intentions are ultimately translated into actual behaviour, resulting in an intention-behaviour gap. The current study reviewed the existing literature pertaining to this gap and found that most of the research has examined the contingent role of individual/psychological factors, yet how environmental factors, especially the institutional proximal circles, bridge the intention–behaviour link remains scarce. By employing questionnaire data (n = 1820) collected from university students in China, this research examines the effectiveness of university entrepreneurial offerings on student entrepreneurial intention realisation. The results illustrate that, although a high engagement level in university entrepreneurship education and venture creation contexts accelerates student entrepreneurs’ intention–behaviour translation, the positive effect of instrumental offerings (start-up support services) is stronger than that of entrepreneurship education offerings (entrepreneurial courses and extra-curricular activities). This research extends the application of the theory of planned behaviour to the start-up process by highlighting the entrepreneurship education and venture creation factors derived from the university milieu students are exposed to in accelerating the conversion from entrepreneurial intention to nascent start-up behaviour. It captures the association amidst the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education in aspiring student entrepreneurs’ entrepreneurial learning, intention actualisation, and tangible start-up activities. These findings also draw researchers’ attention to explore further the nuances of various entrepreneurial offerings in student venture creation and how to build an effective university entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Because current conceptualizations are insufficient with respect to explaining the termination subprocess of nascent entrepreneurship, little is known regarding the liminal space in which the decision between termination and persistence is made. To solve this problem, we apply the Theory of Action Phases, extend it using the notion of an action crisis, and propose that (i) the extent to which nascent entrepreneurs experience action crises informs the decision between persistence and termination and (ii) the odds of experiencing an action crisis and the temporal length of an action crisis phase depend largely on the goal-directed actions that have previously been taken. We test and find empirical support for our main hypotheses by reference to a harmonized dataset drawn from the panel study of entrepreneurial dynamics (PSED). These findings contribute to both theoretical and practical advancements in the field of nascent entrepreneurship and research on entrepreneurial action. With respect to research, the inclusion of the notion of action crisis allows us to conceptualize termination as a subprocess of nascent entrepreneurship and to explain decisions between termination and persistence in the context of new venture creation. By taking the time-saving and time-delaying effects of actions into consideration, our study also offers a more nuanced view of entrepreneurial action given that the length of an action crisis is informed by the actions of planning and implementation that have previously been taken. In practical terms, we address some lasting problems that arise in the context of entrepreneurship-focused public policies and provide practical advice for nascent entrepreneurs.
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Pakistan being a young country is struggling to provide employment opportunities. However, entrepreneurship is a perceived strategy for reducing unemployment. The trend of entrepreneurship is also emerging among university students. Thus, the ratio of entrepreneurial intention and start-ups is also increasing among university students and graduates. Therefore, this study aims to examine the role of personality traits in the entrepreneurial intentions of young entrepreneurs. Considering this, qualitative methodology was employed with the case study as the research design. A single case of a university with three different departments was taken. In total, n = 9 entrepreneurs were purposely selected from business ( n = 3), computer science ( n = 3), and education ( n = 3) departments. The data were collected using semi-structured interviews and documentary analysis of their ventures and success stories. This study followed research ethics, including volunteer participation, confidentiality, and reciprocity. The collected data were analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. The findings reveal three main themes: the desire to be an entrepreneur, learning attitude, and personality traits are the leading factors in the entrepreneurial intentions of students and graduates. However, within these themes, the effect of personality traits (consistency and determination, discipline and locus of control, and risk-taking and tolerance) is found to lead to entrepreneurial intentions among young entrepreneurs. This study concludes that most entrepreneurs believe that the role of personality traits is evident in entrepreneurial intentions. Moreover, the personality traits are further strengthened with entrepreneurial experience and help continue entrepreneurship.
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The Rubicon model of behavioral phases distinguishes between four phases: weighing, planning, acting, and evaluating. Each phase instigates different mental states which are conducive to successfully completing the tasks each of them requires. This chapter first provides an overview of the previously studied effects of these mental states during the phases of weighing and planning on cognition and behavior. Subsequently, the chapter will discuss intention theory, differentiating between two types of intentions: goal intentions vs. implementation intentions. Goal intentions represent states or standards an individual wishes to accomplish, while implementation intentions specify the required steps for the realization of the desired goal. The chapter discusses the processes which are initiated when people set these two kinds of intentions as well as empirically documented effects on goal striving. The chapter closes with future perspectives for research on motivation and volition throughout the behavioral phases.
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Traditionally, research on motivation and action has focused on the role of motives and needs, but also on expectations, attributions, and control beliefs. Nowadays, when it comes to answering the question of how motivation relates to action, research includes the concept of goals. But pursuing goals with the right content and structure in the proper situational context does not yet guarantee effective goal attainment. People often have to engage in self-regulatory thought to further their goal pursuits. In this article, we review the history and current research associated with these three broad perspectives on motivation and action.
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Entrepreneurial action is central to entrepreneurship theory, and is broadly seen to arise as a consequence of intendedly rational logics (whether causal or effectual), reflecting reasoned judgment. But, is this always the case? While entrepreneurial action may often be the result of a judgmental decision (between alternative courses of action/inaction), the presumption that reasoned judgment encompasses all the motives, modes and mechanisms leading to entrepreneurial outcomes seems dubious. Building on an emerging literature that seeks to address the boundaries of reasoned entrepreneurial action, we develop the notion that non-deliberative impulse-driven behavioral logics can also be the basis for business venturing. Our framework offers a complementary perspective to the intendedly-rational, deliberate logics perspective, opening novel pathways for future research and theory-building.
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Understanding the psychological nature and development of the individual entrepreneur is at the core of contemporary entrepreneurship research. Since the individual functions as a totality of his or her single characteristics (involving the interplay of biological, psychosocial, and context-related levels), a person-oriented approach focusing on intraindividual dynamics seems to be particularly fruitful to infer realistic implications for practice such as entrepreneurship education and promotion. Applying a person-oriented perspective, this paper integrates existing psychological approaches to entrepreneurship and presents a new, person-oriented model of entrepreneurship, the Entrepreneurial Personality System (EPS). In the empirical part, this model guided us to bridge two separate research streams dealing with entrepreneurial personality: research on broad traits like the Big Five and research on specific traits like risk-taking, self-efficacy, and internal locus of control. We examine a gravity effect of broad traits, as assumed in the EPS framework, by analyzing large personality data sets from three countries. The results reveal a consistent gravity effect of an intraindividual entrepreneurial Big Five profile on the more malleable psychological factors. Implications for entrepreneurship research and practice are discussed.
This book presents a thorough overview of a model of human functioning based on the idea that behavior is goal-directed and regulated by feedback control processes. It describes feedback processes and their application to behavior, considers goals and the idea that goals are organized hierarchically, examines affect as deriving from a different kind of feedback process, and analyzes how success expectancies influence whether people keep trying to attain goals or disengage. Later sections consider a series of emerging themes, including dynamic systems as a model for shifting among goals, catastrophe theory as a model for persistence, and the question of whether behavior is controlled or instead 'emerges'. Three chapters consider the implications of these various ideas for understanding maladaptive behavior, and the closing chapter asks whether goals are a necessity of life. Throughout, theory is presented in the context of diverse issues that link the theory to other literatures.
A comprehensive literature review of techniques used to increase response rates to questionnaires was conducted. Conclusions were based on arithmetic combination of 497 response rates found in 93 journal articles. Response rates were found to be increased by personal and telephone (versus mail) surveys, either prepaid or promised incentives, nonmonetary premiums and rewards, and increasing amounts of monetary reward. Other facilitators that increased responding were preliminary notification, foot-in-the-door techniques, personalization, and followup letters. Several facilitators were found to be ineffective. An estimated magnitude of effect was calculated for each design variation.
Fantasy realization theory states that when people contrast their fantasies about a desired future with reflections on present reality, a necessity to act is induced that leads to the activation and use of relevant expectations. Strong goal commitment arises in light of favorable expectations, and weak goal commitment arises in light of unfavorable expectations. To the contrary, when people only fantasize about a desired future or only reflect on present reality, expectancy-independent moderate goal commitment emerges. Four experiments pertaining to various life domains supported these hypotheses. Strength of goal commitment was assessed in cognitive (e.g., making plans), affective (e.g., felt attachment), and behavioral terms (e.g., effort expenditure, quality of performance). Implications for theories on goal setting and goal striving are discussed.
Entrepreneurial intentions, entrepreneurs' states of mind that direct attention, experience, and action toward a business concept, set the form and direction of organizations at their inception. Subsequent organizational outcomes such as survival, development (including written plans), growth, and change are based on these intentions. The study of entrepreneurial intentions provides a way of advancing entrepreneurship research beyond descriptive studies and helps to distinguish entrepreneurial activity from strategic management.