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The Effect of Perceived Overqualification on the Entrepreneurial Intention : Case of The Moroccan Executives - Engineers

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The objective of this article is to study the influence of the perception of overqualification on the entrepreneurial intention among executive engineers. The results issued from hierarchical regression analyses, which were applied on a sample of 376 executive-engineers show that the intensity of the relation between the entrepreneurial attitude and perceived behavioral control, and the entrepreneurial intention varies according to perceived overqualification. The theoretical and managerial implications of this research will be presented, and avenues of research will be proposed.
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The Effect of Perceived Overqualification on the Entrepreneurial
Intention : Case of The Moroccan Executives - Engineers
1Taoufik Yatribi and 2Said Balhadj,
1PdD Student, 2Research Professor,
1,2Department of Management & Audit, The National School of Management, Tangier, Morocco
Abstract: The objective of this article is to study the influence
of the perception of overqualification on the entrepreneurial
intention among executive engineers. The results issued from
hierarchical regression analyses, which were applied on a
sample of 376 executive-engineers show that the intensity of
the relation between the entrepreneurial attitude and perceived
behavioral control, and the entrepreneurial intention varies
according to perceived overqualification. The theoretical and
managerial implications of this research will be presented, and
avenues of research will be proposed.
Keywords: Entrepreneurial Intention, Perceived
Overqualification, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Executive-
Engineer.
I. INTRODUCTION
See to it that the skills acquired through the education
system are in adequacy with those required by the
employment is essential to fire the best of the employee.
Unfortunately, several employees suffer from a problem of
overqualification. The overqualification is the situation in
which the employee possesses a level of qualification upper to
that required by his employment [1]. Among the employees,
the engineers are a category more exposed to the problem of
overqualification. It has negative consequences on the well-
being of the employee and on the company. Previous studies
show that the perception of overqualification influences
negatively the intention to leave the company [2], job
satisfaction [3], and the organizational commitment [4].
However, to our knowledge, there isn't any work who studied
the relation between the overqualification and the
entrepreneurial intention. Indeed, several employees choose to
turn to the entrepreneurial career because the employment
does not allow them to exploit and to value their skills. These
people do not like seeing their capacity under employees and
will not hesitate to leave their employment if we let them
vegetate without perspective of evolution. In Morocco,
countries towards which we are interested in this study, the
companies tend to look for engineers having skills and
entrepreneurial qualities and allocate them to natural missions
more technical than managerial or still entrepreneurial [5].
Reference [6] find that the degree of use of the skills is a
source of satisfaction at the Moroccan engineers. These
findings invite us to study how the perception of
overqualification can bring certain employees to leave their
work to create their employment.
Several researchers stipulates that each entrepreneurial
behaviour is intentional, and that it rarely happens randomly
[7], The present research proposes to explain the
entrepreneurial intention of the engineers, with an accent put
on the degree of use of the skills. Our objective is to explain
why certain employees are more attracted than other towards
the entrepreneurship. We argue in this research that the
engineers who are livened up by a strong perception of
overqualification are more attracted by the entrepreneurship.
Our article is divided into four parts. After presenting the
theoretical framework of our study, we will tackle the method
chosen for this research. The third part will be dedicated to
results and discussion the major characteristics of this
research. After that, several recommendations will be drawn
up and research leads will be determined.
II. FRAMEWORK AND HYPOTHESES
A. Entrepreneurial Intention
Intention reflects the urge to act as well as the belief according
to which we are going to act. It should be the nearest
antecedent to an action or to a conduct attempt [8].
The Theory of Planned Behaviour is among the most
commonly used social psychology theories used to explain
and predict the human behaviour, including the
entrepreneurial intention [9] [12]. It is particularly based on
the Theory of Reasoned Action elaborated by [13].
The references [11] [12] [14] [16] suggest using Ajzen’s
Theory of Planned Behaviour to predict and explain the
entrepreneurial behaviour. The TPB’s objective is to explain
the entrepreneurial intention, and then the action. The main
variable of this model is intention. Company creation is a
planned behaviour; consequently, it is intentional. Amongst
the former’s conditions, intention seems to be the best
predictor of behaviour; better than attitudes, beliefs, or other
psychological variables [17]. Intentions are formed through
time, under three main factors whose importance depends on
the studied case. The three antecedents of intention are:
The attitudes toward the behaviour: The attitude of the
individual to the creation of a company rests on its
values and its professional characteristics, and on its
vision of the entrepreneurship.
The subjective norms : They refer to the social pressure
that pushes the individual to perform or not perform a
behaviour [18]. It is determined by all the normative
beliefs related to the expectations of key social
influences (spouse, family, friends, etc).
The perceived behavioural control: It makes a
reference to the degree of confidence by which the
person thinks she can successfully create his own
company.
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Figure 1: The Theory of Planned Behavior
Source: Adapted, Ajzen (1991, p.182)
B. Perception of Overqualification and Entrepreneurial
Intention
The feeling of overqualification makes a reference to the
situation in which the employee perceives that he possesses
skills, knowledge, experience and capacities which are not
used in his work [1]. This feeling often arises from an
inadequacy between the individual and the needs for the post
[1]. The measure of the overqualification can be objective or
subjective. The objective measure of overqualification comes
true by comparing the knowledge of an individual, its skills
and its capacities, with the requirements of post [2], [19],
while the subjective measure bases itself on the perception of
the collaborators of their level of qualification, they can
perceive themselves as overqualified [1]. Both are different
constructions, and each can return us to explain the behavior
of the collaborators [19]. However, the researchers who
studied the problem of overqualification especially used the
subjective measure, [2] suggest that the subjective measure
(perceived by the employees) is more important for predicting
attitudes and behavior compared with the objective measure,
because it reflects the psychological state of the employee, its
attitudes, its behavior and its reactions. In this study, we
follow these authors, by studying the overqualification in its
subjective dimension.
So, researchers indicate that the attitude most often associated
with the overqualification is the dissatisfaction in the work
[20]. Studies showed that the collaborators who perceive
themselves overqualified are less satisfied [20] [21], and may
more leave their organization [2]. The incapacity of the
collaborators to make use completely of their skills and
capacities, is a likely source of stress which leads to a
deterioration of the psychological well-being [22]. The origin
of the feeling of overqualification can be explained by the
theory of adjustment person-environment. The adjustment
person-environment stipulates that an inadequacy between the
person and his employment, that is when its skills and its
qualifications exceed the requirements of his post, causes
negative effects on its satisfaction. Whereas a good adjustment
between the person and his employment would have a positive
effect on the satisfaction [22]. So, the collaborators livened up
by a feeling of overqualification are probably people who have
attitudes and entrepreneurial skills, they can be more to attract
by the new business start-up in order to value and exploit their
skills. The entrepreneurship can appear as a solution in the
face of underemployment. On the basis of these arguments, we
shall test the following hypotheses:
H1 : The relationship between attitudes and entrepreneurial
intention is moderated by perceived overqualification, such
that the higher perceived overqualification, the stronger the
relationship between the attitudes and entrepreneurial
intention
H2 : The subjective norms impact negatively the
entrepreneurial intention.
H3 : The relationship between perceived behavioral
control and entrepreneurial intention is moderated by
perceived overqualification, such that the higher perceived
overqualification, the stronger the relationship between the
perceived behavioral control and entrepreneurial intention
Figure 2 : Conceptual Framework
III. METHODS
A. Data Source
We collected our data in Morocco. For practical reasons, it
is hard to survey the Moroccan engineers’ population in its
totality. Thus, we chose a convenience sample. Since then, we
resorted to directories of former graduates of several
engineering schools. In order to avoid a bias related to the
convenience sample, we tried to study individuals that operate
in different fields.
As a preliminary testing, the questionnaire has been
administered to a sample of 133 engineers. Thanks to the
principal components analyses (PCA) and to the internal
reliability test, we were able to test and purify the
measurement scales. The changes made after this primary
investigation were in fact marginalised.
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Furthermore, the questionnaire was applied on 5000
engineers by electronic means. If 376 useable answers have
been received, it is difficult to calculate a response rate since
many respondents did not received the questionnaire because
they do not check their email boxes anymore. Our sampling is
made of 64,6% men and 35,4% women . 68% of the
respondents work in the private sector against 32% the public
sector. Concerning the work field, we have recorded 25%
computer engineers, 11,15% industrial engineers, 8,11%
agronomists, 6,42% mechanical engineers, 4,39% public
works engineers, 3,72% electrical engineers and 2,36%
electronic engineers.
B. Measures
All the constructs used a 7-point Likert scale response that
ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (7).
Intention entrepreneuriale : According to the proposed
measure by [23], the intention was measured by six items.
Example of item: Never search for business start-up
opportunities ®. The results of the tests of reliability allows to
validate the scale (Explained variance = 66,2%. α Cronbach =
0,90).
Attitude: For more clarity in the Moroccan context, we shall
call him in our study "attraction for the entrepreneurship". The
attraction was measured by means of a single item: the idea to
create your company seems to you, on a scale going of "not at
all attractive" to "completely attractive" (see, [16]).
Subjective norm : To measure the opinions of the people
about your choice for entrepreneur's career, We used the scale
of [11]. The respondents had to specify, for four groups of
individuals belonging to their social environment (family,
friends, professors, other people important for them), the
opinion that every group and its importance concerning their
commitment in a new business start-up. A scale going of
"extremely unfavorable" to "extremely favorable", and a going
scale of "Not at all important" to "extremely important" was
proposed to them. The results of the tests of reliability allows
to validate the scale (Explained variance = 70%, α Cronbach =
0,80).
Perceived behavioral control : We prefer to hold the term of
"perceived capacity" rather than that of "perceived behavioral
control", because of the biggest clarity of the concept in the
Moroccan context. Perceived capacity were measured with 4-
item scale [24]. Example of item : You feel capable of
bringing to successful a project of new business start-up. The
results of the tests of reliability allows to validate the scale
(Explained variance = 86%, α Cronbach = 0,90).
Perception de surqualification : To measure the perception
overqualification, we used the scale proposed by [25].
Example of item: Mon niveau d'éducation dépasse les
exigences de mon poste actuel The results of the tests of
reliability allows to validate the scale (Explained variance =
67%, α Cronbach = 0,89).
C. Control Variables
After analysis of the literature, five control variables have
been picked: age, gender, work field, salary, firm size and
nature of the work. The entrepreneurial intention has been
associated to gender beforehand [26] [27]. Indeed, it seems
that men are more adventurous in their careers. The age
variable was chosen due to its influence on career choice. The
relation between age and the probability of creating a
company would be shaped as an inverted U [28]. As one gets
older, one has more experience and the probability of creating
a company increases. However, as one gets older, one’s
opportunity cost increases with one’s salary; which decreases
the probability of self-employment. We keep in mind that the
salary is supposed to be negatively correlated with the
entrepreneurial intention [29]. We also notice the effect of the
nature of the work (exclusively technical, mainly technical,
not very technical, not technical at all) has on the
entrepreneurial intention.
D. Absence of Multicollinearity Check
To check the absence of multicollinearity in our data, we have
calculated the Pearson correlation coefficients among the
explanatory variables, presented in the following table. From
table 1, we can notice that all the correlation coefficients are
below 0,8 : a limit starting from which we can face a serious
problem of multicollinearity [30].
We have also calculated the variance inflation factors (VIF)
that test the presence of a correlation among the explanatory
variables. The highest VFI is equal to 1,59. The VIFs are
below 4, so they are well below 10: limit starting from which
there is a serious problem of multicollinearity [31] [32].
Based on the correlation tests and the VIF, we can conclude
that there is no problem of multicollinearity for our
independent variables.
Table 1: Correlations, Descriptive Statistics and Variance
Inflation Factors (N = 376)
*p<0,05, **p<0,01, ***p<0,001, The VIF are in brackets.
IV. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
We have built several statistical models in order to test our
hypotheses. The figure 3 sums up all the obtained regression
results.
Model 1 (see Table 3) is a basic model that shows the effects
of control variables on the entrepreneurial intention.
We have noticed that gender has a negative impact on the
entrepreneurial intention. Men seem to be more attracted to
company creation than women (β= -0,207, t=-4,917, p<0.001).
This result confirms the works of several authors [26], [27],
who indicate that the men are more adventurous in their
career, whereas the women are forced to the family
responsibilities and thus less susceptible to develop
entrepreneurial intentions.
The relation between age and the entrepreneurial intention
takes a downward linear shape, in other words. Our result
meets several other studies that attest that the entrepreneurial
intention decreases in a linear manner with age [33].
We can also see that Work field has a negative impact on the
entrepreneurial intention (β=-0,130, t=-2,42, p<0.05). The
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people working in the private sector seem to have more
entrepreneurial intention compared with the people who work
in the public and semi-public sector. This result is not
surprising. In private enterprises, the employees work in a
dynamic environment, they are exposed to the market
(customers, suppliers). It allows to instil an entrepreneurial
spirit. For example, [34] finds that the engineers who
participate in marketing studies have more entrepreneurial
intention. On the other hand, the public sector is characterized
by an excessive bureaucracy, codified, centralized and treated
on a hierarchical basis structures, which suffocate any vague
desire of entrepreneurial movements.
Our results show that the size of the company has a significant
impact on the entrepreneurial intention (β=-0,159, t = -2,993,
p<0.01). In fact the respondents who work in small companies
(less than 10 employees) claim that they are more entitled to
create a company in contrast to their peers who work in
medium sized companies (between 10 and 200 employees) or
in big companies ( more than 200 employees). Several authors
[35] [37], found the link between the size of the company and
its entrepreneurial dynamics (Corporate entrepreneurship).
Reference [35] indicates that small and medium-sized
enterprises are exhorted to be more entrepreneurial. It can
explain why we found that the entrepreneurial intention is
more pronounced in the companies of small sizes.
Table 2: OLS Regression Results (N = 376)
*p<0,05, **p<0,01, ***p<0,001. N.s : Not significant, t-statistic In
brackets
In order to test the research hypotheses, that are the potential
moderating effect of perceived overqualification between the
two constituents of the theory of planned behaviour (attitudes,
perceived behavioural control) and entrepreneurial intention,
we have followed the steps suggested by [38].
First of all, we should calculate the products of the two
variables (independent variable x moderating variable) thanks
to two regressions. The first is a test of the main effects
(independent variables and moderating variables) on the
dependent variable (model 2). The second regression is done
after introducing the multiplicative term (independent variable
x moderating variable, model 3). The moderating role is set if
the coefficient of multiplicative effect is statistically
significant [38].
The results of the regression in model 2 reveal that attitude has
a positive influence on the entrepreneurial intention (β=0,337,
t = 6,756, p<0.001), as well as the perceived behavioural
control (β= 0,370, t = 7,236, p<0.001). In model 3, we notice
that the interactive effects of the two components (attitudes,
perceived behavioural control) with perceived
overqualification are significant, respectively (β=0,046, t =
2,40, p<0.05) (β=-0,195, t = -7,312, p<0.001). The first step of
[38] method is fulfilled.
The second step consists in verifying that the coefficient of
determination R2 of the second regression should also be
better than that of the first regression to show that the addition
of the moderating effect improves the predictive validity of the
model [38]. We notice that R2 increased by model 2 to the
model 3 from 34,5 % to 54,4 %. It implies that the perception
of overqualification moderates the relation between both
components of TBP (Attitude, Perceveid control) and
entrepreneurial intention. Hypotheses 1 and 3 are validated. In
other words, the intensity of the relation between the attitude
and perceived control, and the entrepreneurial intention varies
according to perceived overqualification.
However, we have not found a significant link between the
subjective norms and the entrepreneurial intention (β= 0,034, t
=0,844). Hypothese 2 is not validated. This can be due to
specificity of the study population. As a matter of fact all the
individuals that were interviewed are employees, there should
be a number of household heads. It would be relevant to think
that these people are able to take their decisions without their
entourage’s influence.
Figure 3: Results of Full Model
CONCLUSION
A. Implications for Research
First of all, it should be noted that our research is among the
rare works on entrepreneurial intention that were made on
employees. In Morocco, and to our knowledge, there is no
research on the topic.
The results of our research suggest that the variable of
perceived overqualification enables a better understanding of
the entrepreneurial intention. Moreover, it should be taken into
consideration that the perceived overqualification has a
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moderating effect between the entrepreneurial intention and its
antecedents (attitude, Perceveid control). This moderating role
of perceived overqualification allows us to demonstrate the
intensity that exists between the entrepreneurial intention and
its antecedents. Simple links are no longer sufficient to reach
a detailed explanation of the entrepreneurial intention. Also,
this result meets the results reached by [39] who believe that
the desirability (attitude) and feasibility (Perceveid control)
that were detected are the best predictors of the entrepreneurial
intention according to their meta-analysis on the
entrepreneurial intention.
B. Practical Implications
Validating hypothesis 1 and 3 , according to which the relation
between attitude and entrepreneurial intention is stronger
among the employees overqualified, has confirmed the need
for individualising the managerial practices [40] [41]. Lors du
recrutement, il est important d’analyser les qualifications des
candidats, de connaitre leurs besoins et leurs attentes. Cela est
important pour la motivation au travail, la satisfaction et leurs
implications. In addition to that, it could also be an indicator
for companies that want to establish a staff reduction policy
through licensing or outsourcing activities, because this will
make it possible to select the candidates that are driven by an
entrepreneurial spirit. Entrepreneurship becomes a socially
responsible HR management practice. Furthermore, it can be a
good point to attract the best profiles on the job market.
C. Study Limitations
If this study brings a meaningful contribution to the
understanding the developmental mechanisms of the
entrepreneurial behaviour among engineers, it has limitations.
The collected data are based on intention and self-perception
declarations, and not on the observation of actual behaviours,
which might lead to a bias of social desirability [42]. Finally,
this bias is clear when the same questionnaire measures the
dependent and independent variables. We have tries to restrict
the impact of this limit by guarantying the respondents’
anonymity , by using strong measuring scales, then by
organizing the items’ order so that the dependent and
independent variables can easily be distinguished [43].
D. Directions for Future Research
First, it would be interesting to proceed to a longitudinal study
to allow us to know so actually the engineers having declared
to intend to create a company really passed in the
entrepreneurial act. To widen our understanding of the
interactive effects, the future researches can envisage for
example other individual variables such as : the proactivity,
the propensity to take-risk, the need of achievement. The study
of the entrepreneurial intention at the employees also invite to
use mediators as the job satisfaction [34], As the motivation in
the work [44] [45], or the organizational commitment [46].
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