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The influence of the age on the entrepreneurial intention : a case of the moroccan executives-engineers

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The objective of this article is to study the influence of the age on the entrepreneurial intention of the Moroccanexecutives-engineers. The results stemming from analyses of hierarchical regressions realized on a sample of376 executives-engineers show that the entrepreneurial intention decreases with the increase of the age. Theresults also show the moderating role of the age between the entrepreneurial intention and its antecedents(Attitude to the behavior and the perceived control). Indeed, it emerges from our study that the entrepreneurialintention is more guided by the "attitude toward behavior" for the young employees than at the seniors, whereasthe entrepreneurial intention is more guided by the "perceived control" for the seniors than at the youngemployees. The theoretical and managerial implications of this research will be presented, and avenues ofresearch will be proposed
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Australian Journal of Business and Management Research
New South Wales Research Centre Australia (NSWRCA)
Vol.05 No.03 | July-2015 ISSN: 1839 - 0846
24
THE INFLUENCE OF THE AGE ON THE ENTREPRENEURIAL INTENTION :
A Case of the Moroccan Executives-Engineers
Taoufik YATRIBI
PhD Student
Department of Management & Audit
The National School of Management, Tangier, Morocco
t.yatribi@gmail.com
Said BALHADJ
Research Professor
Department of Management & Audit
The National School of Management, Tangier, Morocco
sbalhadj@yahoo.fr
ABSTRACT
The objective of this article is to study the influence of the age on the entrepreneurial intention of the Moroccan
executives-engineers. The results stemming from analyses of hierarchical regressions realized on a sample of
376 executives-engineers show that the entrepreneurial intention decreases with the increase of the age. The
results also show the moderating role of the age between the entrepreneurial intention and its antecedents
(Attitude to the behavior and the perceived control). Indeed, it emerges from our study that the entrepreneurial
intention is more guided by the "attitude toward behavior" for the young employees than at the seniors, whereas
the entrepreneurial intention is more guided by the "perceived control" for the seniors than at the young
employees. The theoretical and managerial implications of this research will be presented, and avenues of
research will be proposed.
Keywords : Entrepreneurial intention, age, theory of planned behaviour, executive-engineer.
INTRODUCTION
Although Morocco is considered a more entrepreneurial country nowadays, than it was in the 80s’ and 90s’, this
situation remains insubstantial in regards to today’s global economy. According to the previous Global
Entrepreneurship Summit (2014), creating innovative firms seems to be a primordial way to reinforce
innovation and growth.
Empirical studies suggest that the creation and survival of firms should be seen as an important issue,
particularly concerning growth and employment (Van Stel et al., 2005), productivity growth (Wennekers et al.,
2010), and a decrease in social inequalities (Fairlie, 2004).
What about companies that are created by employees?
Several observations draw our attention to the phenomenon of companies that are created by employees. The
first observation is related to the arrival of generation Y on the job market. This generation is considered more
entrepreneurial than its predecessors (Degeorge & Fayolle, 2011). Indeed young people nowadays are more
attracted to freelancing; they demand more freedom, more dignity, and yearn for more personal development.
The second observation is related to the demographic change. In fact, in Morocco retired people will represent
the main segment of the population because of the ageing population. According to The High Commission for
Planning, 97000 people will reach retirement between 2012 and 2018 which is a yearly average of 13858 in
contrast to only a yearly average of 7400 people between 2004 and 2011. These new tendencies question not
only academic research, but also field experts on issues related to promoting and coaching employees that are
potential entrepreneurs. They are often isolated, neglected and even excluded from analytical frameworks.
Nonetheless, their entrepreneurial commitment can be considered a real opportunity in terms of economic and
social upswing of the states. Paradoxically, the young employees’’ interest in creating firms raises a real
problem: retaining “high profile” employees in a context of “War of talents”.
This article is an attempt to examine, through an empirical study, the mechanisms that push certain employees to
resign in order to create their own company. The objective being to highlight the approaches needed to develop
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employees’ entrepreneurial potential; and paradoxically to question some retention practices. We are taking into
consideration the researchers agreement which stipulates that each entrepreneurial behaviour is intentional, and
that it rarely happens randomly (A. Fayolle et al., 2012; Schjoedt & Shaver, 2007). This study sits upstream
from the process of organisational emergence. More precisely, it tries to explain the Moroccan executive
engineers’ intention to create a company. In the light of this logic, this research uses the theoretical framework
of The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TBP) (Ajzen, 1991) to clarify the entrepreneurial intention among the
Moroccan executive engineers. We are suggesting an analysis of the entrepreneurial intention (EI), by taking
into consideration the age factor’s role in building the TBP. Amongst the study populations of this research are:
Young, and senior employees. These two categories seem to be particularly relevant in regards to the youth’s
interest in entrepreneurship, and the increased number of retirees in the coming years.
The implications of this study are theoretical and managerial. In fact, the literature that tackles the field of
entrepreneurship in Morocco does not answer our questions. We have not come across any study that directly
tackles this topic. Internationally, there is a number of works on entrepreneurship (Alain Fayolle & Liñán,
2014); however, they mainly target students (Emin, 2004). This virtually exclusive interest in this population is
pretty surprising since the new entrepreneurs are rarely students or young graduates (Minniti & Lévesque,
2010). Our main managerial input has as objective to conclude by drawing the light on the necessity to work on
the levers of the entrepreneurial intention in order to encourage the senior project holders. Simultaneously, we
are going to analyze the perspectives of retention; namely, the entrepreneurial coaching of young employees.
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. We will then discuss the major
characteristics of this research. After that, several recommendations will be drawn up and research leads will be
determined.
1. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND AND HYPOTHESES
1.1. What is an EI?
Intention stands for a person’s readiness to adopt a specific behaviour. Intention assumes taking into
consideration the different motivational factors that impact behaviour. It shows that the individual is willing to
perform an action (Kolvereid, 1996). Intention reflects our 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 (van Gelderen et al.,
2008). « Intentions are a cognitive structure including both goals (ends) and plans (means), though goals
typically crystallize in subjects’ minds before the plans to reach the goals. » (Ajzen, 1987). (Bird & Jelinek,
1988), p. 21) define the concept of intentionality as: « A state of mind, directing attention, experience, and
action toward a specific object (goal) or pathway to its achievement (means). », « The Entrepreneurs intentions
tend to be directed toward goals, which are desired end-states, rather than toward means of conduct, although
both ends and means can be intentional. » (Bird, 1988), p. 447).
Intention and attitudes depend on the perception we have of ourselves and of our environment (Krueger &
Carsrud, 1993), as well as our experiences (Scheiner, 2009; Weick & Karl, 2015). Intention is a perception that
makes it possible to see company creation as a career. Intention is not an action. It is rather an idea; a considered
and preferable future; however it is still uncertain.
1.2. The theory of planned behaviour
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 ( for example , (Carr & Sequeira, 2007;
Kautonen et al., 2015; Kolvereid, 1996; Tkachev & Kolvereid, 1999). It is particularly based on The Theory of
Reasoned Action elaborated by (Ajzen & Fishbein, 1969)
1
.
Many authors (Autio et al., 2014; Davidsson, 1995; Kolvereid, 1996; Krueger et al., 2000; Tkachev &
Kolvereid, 1999) suggest using I. 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
1
The theory reasoned action predicts behaviour through variables: the attitudes towards behavior and the
subjective norms I. AJZEN adds a third predictive variable "the perceived behavioural control" ("… In fact, the
theory of planned behavior differs from the theory of reasoned action in its addition of perceived behavioral
control ". I. AJZEN, 1991, op.cit, p. 183).
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attitudes, beliefs, or other psychological variables (Krueger & Carsrud, 1993). Intentions are formed through
time, under three main factors whose importance depends on the studied case. Two of these antecedents are
linked to the attitude towards the behaviour and the subjective norm, and the third one (perceived behavioural
control) is linked to the individual’s perceptions which are under one’s control.
Let’s see these three antecedents more in debts:
- The attitudes toward the behaviour: They depend on the beliefs relative to the behaviour’s outcomes
and to the value given to these outcomes. It is subjective assessment of behaviour.
- The subjective norms : They refer to the social pressure that pushes the individual to perform or not
perform a behaviour (Ajzen, 1991). 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 is determined, on the one hand, by the perception of opportunities
and resources that are needed in order to perform the behaviour; and on the other hand, by the belief
that these resources could be used. It can be defined as a perceived ability to execute a target
behaviour. The following figure outlines the articulations between these different concepts.
Figure 1 : The theory of planned behaviour
Source : Adapted, Ajzen (1991, p.182)
1.3. The age factor and entrepreneurial intention
TPB has represented a theoretical framework for several researches. However, these researches have come with
diverging results (Ogden, 2003). In fact some of them showed that The subjective norms had no existing role,
others confirmed the predictive role of the perceived behavioural control, and others have pointed out the
inexistent role of the attitudes. (Ajzen & Fishbein, 2004) explain that the relative importance of the attitudes, the
subjective norms, and the perceived behavioural control in predicting intention varies from a behaviour to
another, and from a population to another. Additionally, they think that from the three theoretical antecedents,
often, only one or two are enough to explain the entrepreneurial intention. Nonetheless, TBP does not specify
which factor has a greater impact on entrepreneurial intention, how, in which population, and which context. In
addition to that TPB limits the determining factors of intention to attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived
behavioural control, while there are other factors that influence behaviours, such as personality, culture, and
demography.
Not including these key factors might be the cause behind the weak variances noted by the previous researches
that used TPB.
Attitude toward
behavior
Beliefs
Subjective
norm
Perceived
behavioral
control
Intention
Behavior
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Moreover, the majority of studies that used TPB have focused on student population. It would be legitimate to
think that these results can not be applied on an employee population, since the latter can represent a different
operational mode. Indeed, it has been acknowledged that the entrepreneurial intention is closely linked to the
individual’s socialisation process and networks be them professional or personal (Minniti & Lévesque, 2010).
These authors have shown that the process is even stronger when the individual is old. Ageing brings other
changes to the individual’s behaviour. For example: When a person gets old, they tend to become more
conservative (Hambrick & Mason, 1984). In this context, some researchers have demonstrated that age had a
negative impact on entrepreneurial intention (Rotefoss & Kolvereid, 2005). However, this theory of linear
relationship between age and intention is contested by other theories that claim that age plays a conversely
proportionate role in the creation of entrepreneurial intention (Alba-Ramirez, 1994; Bates, 1995).
These conflicting results invite us to study how age should be modelled in an employee population. They also
invite us to think that age may play a role in building the entrepreneurial intention. We are presenting as
hypothesis in this study that age acts as a moderator between the three constituents of TPB: Attitudes toward the
behaviour, Subjective norms, and Perceived behavioural control.
Concerning the first constituent of TPB (Attitudes toward the behaviour), our argument is that its influence
would be stronger among the young rather than the seniors. In fact it has been pointed out that generation “Y”
would be more entrepreneurial than the previous generations (A. Fayolle et al., 2012). These generation based
researches also highlight the particularity of generation “Y” as far as its characteristics and expectations from
companies are concerned. This generation is characterised by many attitudes, such as: the search for a meaning
for work, the need for accomplishment, the need for feedbacks, opportunism, team spirit, and a decreasing
loyalty (Bourhis & Chenevert, 2010; Brillet et al., 2013; Pichault & Nizet, 2000). Young employees look for
career opportunities; concequently, they do not hesitate to quit the company as soon as they feel bored or they
have opportunities outside (Dejoux & Wechtler, 2011). Contrary to what it used to be for the previous
generations, the young generation has a more rational vision of the company than an affectionate one.
According to (SCOUARNEC et al., 2005), generation « Y »’s conception of career has changed . It is one
where the individual would become master of its own evolution. All these factors largely explain why the young
are more and more attracted by entrepreneurship. The seniors seem to be different than the young. They would
be more loyal to the company and to hierarchy. We can think that they are less attracted to entrepreneurship
since they were not made aware of it during their studies (Alain Fayolle & Gailly, 2015).
On the basis of these arguments, we suggest the hypothesis according to which the entrepreneurial intention is
more guided by the Attitudes toward the behaviour in the young than in the seniors. This is the First hypothesis:
H1. Age moderates the relationship between the attitude towards the behaviour and the entrepreneurial intention
(i.e. the relationship between the attitude towards the behaviour and the entrepreneurial intention is stronger
among the young than the seniors).
In addition to that we assume that the effect of the perceived behavioural control on the entrepreneurial intention
would be stronger among the seniors than the young. In this sense, it is possible to think that the seniors of the
future would be more attracted to entrepreneurship than the other age ranges of the population. Several reasons
are behind this specific situation of the seniors. They have reached an age where financial constraints are to their
minimum, the loans are paid out , the children have grown up and are able to sustain themselves(Safraou et al.,
2012). They have gathered some know-how and an experience that would enable them to see the creation of a
company more feasible than the young employees. In addition to that, the contacts and relations built with
professionals during their career will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the entrepreneurial decision.
Consequently, we came up with the hypothesis according to which the decision of creating a company among
the seniors would be dictated by their perception of their capacity to do so.
H2. Age moderates the relationship between the perceived behavioural control and the entrepreneurial intention
(i.e. the intensity of the relationship between the feasibility of the perceived behavioural control and the
entrepreneurial intention is stronger among the seniors than the young).
Finally, we argue, in this research, that the impact of the subjective norms on the entrepreneurial intention
decreases according to age. In fact the Moroccan culture is characterised by an education and ways of thinking
that can hardly be reconciled with the spirit of capitalism in the Weberian sense of the term (Ben Haddou,
1997). The young employees are often attached to their families; they tend to seek advice among the principal
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family members, especially the parents, concerning their projects. The latter are rarely in favour of
entrepreneurship, since they think it represents a major risk factor which could harm their children’s career. On
the basis of these arguments, we suggest the following hypothesis:
H3. Age moderates the relationship between the subjective norms and the entrepreneurial intention (i.e. the
entrepreneurial intention is guided by subjective norms more among the young than the seniors).
Figure 2 : Conceptual framework
2. METHODS
1.1. 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. We have
conducted a sampling on the basis of a rational choice. This technique, which turned out to be particularly
suitable to the data we have gathered, enables us to choose precisely the elements of a sample engineer
population whose characteristics are well known to us (Thietart, 2014).
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.
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.
1.2. Measures
All the constructs used a 7-point Likert scale response that ranged from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree
(7).
Attitude
Subjective
norm
Perceived
behavioral
control
Intention
H1
H2
H3
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Intention entrepreneuriale
According to the proposed measure by (Thompson, 2009), the intention was measured by six items : (1) Never
search for business start-up opportunities ® (2) Are saving money to start a business (3) Don’t read books on
how to set up a firm ® (4) Have no plans to launch your own business ® (5) Spend time learning about starting
a firm (6) Have you Intend to set up a company in the future? 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, (Krueger et al., 2000)).
Subjective norm
To measure the opinions of the people about your choice for entrepreneur's career, We used the scale of
(Kolvereid & Isaksen, 2006). 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. Thus the received entrepreneurial capacity makes
reference to the degree with which a engineer thinks of be able to create a company.
Perceived capacity were measured with 4-item scale ((Emin, 2004) : (1) You feel capable of bringing to
successful a project of new business start-up (2) You think of mastering personally the process of creation of a
company (3) It seems to you possible to take up a project of creation and assure his success (4) Vous faites
confiance à votre capacité de réussite pour créer une entreprise. The results of the tests of reliability allows to
validate the scale (Explained variance = 86%, α Cronbach = 0,90).
1.3. Control variables
Thanks to an 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 (Maes
et al., 2014; Wilson et al., 2007). 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 (Tornikoski et al., 2012). 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 (Long, 1978). We also notice
the effect that the work type (exclusively technical, mainly technical, not very technical, not technical at all) has
on the entrepreneurial intention.
1.4. 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 (Kennedy, 2003).
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 1,58. The VIFs are below 4, so they are well below 10: limit
starting from which there is a serious problem of multicollinearity (d’Arcimoles & Trébucq, 2005; Myers,
1990). Based on the correlation tests and the VIF, we can conclude that there is no problem of multicollinearity
for our independent variables.
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Tableau 1 : Correlations and descriptive statistics (N = 376)
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Control variables
1. Gender (male=1)
1
-,19**
,029
-,18**
,006
,185**
-,22**
-,101
-,006
-,21**
2. Age
-,196**
1
,136**
,306**
-,014
,109*
-,10*
-,030
,020
,167**
3. Work field
,029
,136**
1
-,074
,200**
,101
-,15**
-,080
-,100
-,11*
4. Salary
-,187**
,306**
-,074
1
,091
-,003
-,084
-,006
,096
,086
5. Firm size
,006
-,014
,200**
,091
1
,082
-,21**
-,051
-,063
-,12*
6. Nature of the work
,185**
,109*
,101
-,003
,082
1
-,12*
-,081
-,039
-,090
Dependent variable
7. Entrepreneurial
Intention
-,222**
-,10*
-,15**
-,084
-,21**
-,12*
1
,602**
,243**
,564**
Independent variables
8. Attitude
-,101
-,030
-,070
-,006
-,051
-,081
,602**
1
,316**
,542**
9. Subjective norm
-,006
,020
-,100
,096
-,063
-,039
,243**
,316**
1
,269**
10. Perceveid control
-,215**
,167**
-,11*
,086
-,61*
-,090
,564**
,542**
,269**
1
Mean
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
1,35
Std. deviation
,479
,479
,479
,479
,479
,479
,479
,479
,479
,479
*p<0,05, **p<0,01, ***p<0,001.
3. RESULTATS
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 and important impact on the entrepreneurial intention. Men seem to
be more attracted to company creation than women (β= -0,258, t=-4,917, p<0.001).
We can also see that age has a negative impact on the entrepreneurial intention. In other words the
entrepreneurial intention decreases with age (β=-0,105, t=-1,918, p<0.05).
On the other hand, the regression results show that the salary has a negative impact on the entrepreneurial
intention (β=-0,088, t = -2,150, p<0.05). The intention of creating a company decreases with the increase in
salary.
Our results show that the size of the company has a significant impact on the entrepreneurial intention (β=-
0,214, t = -4,167, p<0.001). 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).
On the other hand, model 2 presents the influence that the main independent variables (attitudes, subjective
norms, perceived control) on the entrepreneurial intention. Attitude influences the entrepreneurial intention in a
positive way (β=0,384, t = 8,262, p<0.001). In de same way that the perceived behavioural control influences it
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(β= 0,317, t = 6,675, p<0.001). However, we have not found a significant link between the subjective norms and
the entrepreneurial intention (β= 0,034, t =0,844).
Tableau 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 age between the three
constituents of the theory of planned behaviour (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control) and
entrepreneurial intention, we have followed the steps suggested by Aiken and West (1991).
First of all, we should calculate the products of the two variables (independent variable * 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 * moderating variable, model 3). The moderating role is set if the coefficient of
multiplicative effect is statistically significant (Aiken & West, 1991).
The results of the regression in model 2 reveal that attitude has a positive influence on the entrepreneurial
intention (β=0,384, t = 8,262, p<0.001), as well as the perceived behavioural control (β= 0,317, t = 6,675,
p<0.001). However, we did not find any important relation between the subjective norms and the entrepreneurial
intention (β= 0,034, t =0,844). In model 3, we notice that the interactive effects of the three components
(attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control) with age are not significant. The first step of (Aiken
& West, 1991) method is not fulfilled. Nonetheless, this does not mean that there is no moderating effect of age.
According to (Brambor et al., 2006)’s guidelines, the conventional results of the regressions present a limited
information to correctly interpret the interactions. When the interaction variable is steady, it is necessary to
calculate the marginal effects of the three entrepreneurial intention antecedents for each age. It seems that the
subjective norm’s effect is relatively independent of age, while the two other variables’ effects (attitudes and
perceived control) obviously vary according to age (see figures 4 and 5) . Hypotheses 1and 2 are validated but
hypothesis 3 is rejected.
Variable dépendante : Intention entrepreneuriale
Modèle 1
Modèle 2
Modèle 3
Constant
-
*** (5,257)
*** (3,516)
Control
Gender (male=1)
-,258*** (-4,917)
-,156*** (-3,845)
-0,153*** (-3,762)
Age
-0,105* (-1,918)
-,138*** (-3,267)
-0,251 (n.s) (-1,622)
Work field
-,096 (n.s) (-1,856)
-,035 (n.s) (-,873)
-0,035 (n.s) (-,890)
Salary
-,083 (n.s) (-1,546)
-0,088* (-2,150)
-0,094* (-2,301)
Firm size
-,214*** (-4,167)
-,152*** (-3,882)
-0,150*** (-3,792)
Nature of the work
-,058 (n.s) (-1,116)
,000 (n.s) (,005)
-,002 (n.s) -,043)
Main effects
Attitude
,384*** (8,262)
,340* (1,97)
Perceveid control
,317*** (6,675)
,381* (2,042)
Subjective norm
,034 (n.s) (,844)
-,165 (n.s) (-1,262)
Interactive effects
Attitude X age
0,070 (n.s) (,286)
Perceveid control X age
-0,095 (n.s) (-,364)
Subjective norm X âge
0,244 (n.s) (1,607)
F-statistic
10,209***
40,327***
30,470 (n.s)
Adjusted R-square
0,137
0,504
0,504
ΔR2
,152***
,365***
,004 (n.s)
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Figure 3 : Marginal effect of the age on the entrepreneurial intention (Confidence interval : 95 %)
Figure 4 : Marginal effect of the attitude on the entrepreneurial intention at each age (confidence interval : 95 %)
Figure 5 : Marginal effect of the perceived control on the entrepreneurial intention at each age (confidence
interval : 95 %)
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
20 30 40 50 60
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
20 30 40 50 60
Estimated marginal averages
Estimated marginal averages
Estimated marginal averages
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4. DISCUSSION
Our results disclose interesting correlations concerning our moderating variable which is age. First, the relation
between age and the entrepreneurial intention takes a downward linear shape, in other words, the entrepreneurial
intention decreases with age. This result is confirmed thanks to the regression results (table 2) and to the
computing of the marginal effect of age on the entrepreneurial intention (figure3).Our result meets several other
studies that attest that the entrepreneurial intention decreases in a linear manner with age (Rotefoss & Kolvereid,
2005).
The regression’s results show that the entrepreneurial intention is influenced by the attitude and the perceived
control. We did not find an important relation between the subjective norms and the entrepreneurial intention
(table 2). This result meets the results reached by (Schlaegel & Koenig, 2014) who believe that the desirability
and feasibility that were detected are the best predictors of the entrepreneurial intention according to their meta-
analysis on the entrepreneurial intention.
However, we have found that the intensity of the relation between the attitude and the entrepreneurial intention
varies according to age. In other words, the entrepreneurial intention is more guided by attitude among the
young than it is among their older peers. This result matches several studies, namely (Carr & Sequeira, 2007)’s
study according to which the desire to start a business is relatively intense among the people who are 35 years
old. This age range is also relative to generation Y which is as entrepreneurial as generation X and the Baby-
boomers (A. Fayolle et al., 2012).
As far as the perceived behavioural control is concerned, we have found that the intensity of the relation
between the perceived control and the entrepreneurial intention becomes stronger with age (figure5). In other
words the entrepreneurial intention is less guided by the perceived behavioural control among the young than it
is among the seniors. Many reasons explain this tendency. The seniors have achieved an age where financial
constraints are reduced, loans are paid off, and the children have grown up and are financially independent.
They tend to go towards familial contingencies disengagements (Maâlaoui et al., 2012). In addition to that, the
possession of resources and sufficient qualifications is integrated in a dynamic network. It is legitimate to think
that tomorrow’s seniors could have a more important perception of entrepreneurial feasibility than the young.
(Hambrick & Mason, 1984) point out that when people get old, they tend to adopt a more conservative
behaviour. This supports both our hypotheses (H1 and H2) which that the seniors are more guide by perceived
control than by the attitudes toward the entrepreneurial behaviour.
Finally, we did not find any significant relation between subjective norms and the entrepreneurial intention. 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.
5. CONCLUSION
The objective behind this article was to study the influence of age on the entrepreneurial intention among
executive engineers. The results issued from hierarchical regression analyses, which were applied on a sample
of 376 executive engineers, have confirmed that age influences the entrepreneurial intention. Our results show
the moderating role that age plays between the two components of the theory of planned behaviour: attitudes
towards behaviour, and perceived behavioural control, and the entrepreneurial attitude. In fact the
entrepreneurial intention is more guided by the attitude towards the behaviour among the young than the seniors,
while the latter’s entrepreneurial intention is more guided by perceived behavioural control.
1.5. 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 demographic variable of age enables a better understanding of the
entrepreneurial intention. Moreover, it should be taken into consideration that age has a moderating effect
between the creation of the entrepreneurial intention and its antecedents. This moderating role of age 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.
1.6. Implications for practice
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Validating hypothesis 1 , according to which the relation between attitude and entrepreneurial intention is
stronger among the young than the seniors, has confirmed the need for individualising the managerial practices
(Bal & Dorenbosch, 2014; Cerdin et al., 2005). It would be important, for example, to offer a work environment
that uses HR practices based on entrepreneurship and that would attract and retain the young employees who
would be interested in creating start ups (as autonomy at work, solicitation of ideas, participation in decision
taking, a performance-based reward system, etc.). Paradoxically, the appeal for company creation may be a
good indicator for recruiters to show that these people are not adequate with their company’s culture, especially
if it has to do with bureaucratic management. 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.
On the other hand, validating hypothesis 2, according to which the relation between perceived control and
entrepreneurial intention is stronger among the seniors than the young, suggests that business leaders, local
authorities and the economic development actors that would like to promote entrepreneurship among seniors,
should work more on the levers of perception of entrepreneurial feasibility. For example, they could put in the
service of senior project holders, a mentor who would support, comfort, give advice and correct the approaches
taken for a too risky project.
In this way, seeing the increasing number of retired employees in the coming years, it would be important to
work on the appeal that company creation has on seniors. It seems necessary to foster mentoring and to create a
network made of project holders and entrepreneurs in order to encourage an interpersonal relation of moral
support and learning exchange.
1.7. 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 punctual nature, which is in cross section
with the data collection, limits the generalizability of the results.
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 (Amabile et al., 1995). 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
(Podsakoff et al., 2003).
1.8. Perspectives for the future researches
The future researches could complete our study by answering the limits of our study.
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.
The future researches could take considering other theories other than the TCP to understand better the
entrepreneurial intention at the employees. So, to test the effects of the other variables on the entrepreneurial
intention (i.e. the mode of organization (Organic Vs Mechanics, the organizational justice, the conflict
work/family). The study of the entrepreneurial intention at the employees also invite to use mediators as the job
satisfaction (Lee et al., 2011), As the motivation in the work (Fini et al., 2012; Shane et al., 2003), or the
organizational commitment (Kickul & Zaper, 2000).
Finally, to widen our understanding of the interactive effects, the future researches can envisage for example
other individual variables such as : the propensity to take-risk, the need of achievement, the proactivity, the
perception of the entrepreneurial identity. Beyond the individual variables, Davidsson and Wiklund (2001)
suggest that the study of the entrepreneurial intention in an organizational context requires multilevel data, what
the literature has difficulty in offering to this day.
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