Influence of Gender on Entrepreneurial Intentions among Business Management Students.

AuthorArora, Swaranjeet


Entrepreneurship has emerged as a growing area of interest to both researchers and governments around the world due to the increasing global competition, fast-changing technological advancements, and developing market economies. Entrepreneurial activities are gaining huge importance as they lead to creation of opportunities for various sectors of society. Entrepreneurship not only generates job opportunities but also offers multiple economic benefits to the society and in turn leads to economic growth and development. It is obvious that unemployment rate in India is constantly increasing and many graduate and postgraduate students are not able to find jobs as per the qualification they pursued. According to a report published by the International Labor Organization (2018), as many as 18.3 million Indians were unemployed in 2017, and unemployment is projected to increase to 18.9 million by 2019.

Looking to this scenario, individuals, organizations and government institutions are considering entrepreneurship education as a promising way to improve the work insertion of young people and also a way to improve social and economic welfare.

Young entrepreneurs play a significant role in enhancing the entrepreneurial activities in a developing country like India. This can help in reducing queues for employment and result in employment generation and economic development of the society. An entrepreneur is an initiator who combines various factors of production to produce a socially viable product. An entrepreneur is an individual who takes initiative, possesses skill and has motivation to set up a business or enterprise of his own and always looks for higher levels of achievements (Say, 1803). Young people might develop into entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship is increasingly seen as a way of dealing with global challenges. According to Schumpeter (1934) entrepreneurship is the driving force behind the economy since a large supply of potential entrepreneurs is critical to a well-functioning economy and an entrepreneur is able to convert a new idea or invention into a successful innovation. A country with lot of entrepreneurs has a potential to develop rapidly and become prosperous (McClelland, 1961).

It has become very important to promote entrepreneurship and to explore the factors and driving forces that trigger the entrepreneurship development process. Entrepreneurship and innovation has appeared as an important area of global research, as it focuses on the root causes behind people's motivation of becoming entrepreneurs (Summers, 1998; Delmar & Davidsson, 2000). The process of becoming entrepreneur starts with entrepreneurial intention. Entrepreneurial intention can be defined as the efforts of a person to carry out entrepreneurial behavior (Linan & Rodriguez, 2004). Entrepreneurial intention refers to determination and zeal of a person to commence a new business venture. Personal traits, education, environment and gender can determine entrepreneurship intention. Researchers have shown that there is a correlation between human capital and intention to initiate an entrepreneurial venture (Fitzsimmons & Douglas, 2011; McMullen & Shepherd, 2006).

Students' interest towards entrepreneurship and perceived behavioral control has significant positive relationship with respect to entrepreneurial intention (Shammari & Waleed, 2018). Higher education facilitates young graduates and prepares them for a new venture establishment. Also, young graduates are more willing to initiate new business after gaining relevant inputs in business and entrepreneurship education (Mushtaq et al., 2011). There are several studies that focus on assessment of entrepreneurial intentions in university environments (Lima et al., 2015; Perim, 2012; Pihie et al., 2013; Silva & Teixeira, 2013; Wang & Wong, 2004). According to Perim (2012) and Silva & Teixeira (2013) entrepreneurial intention of students differ due to difference in environment of public and private universities. Hence, it is important to compare the level of entrepreneurial intention among students of the public and private universities.

Gender difference is also one of the socio cultural dimensions that influence entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial intentions. Males and females exhibit different views of world due to differences in their experiences and socialization processes (Fischer et al., 1993), which could lead to difference in their intentions with respect to entrepreneurship (Yordanova & Tarrazon, 2010). Researchers believed that entrepreneurship is conventionally considered masculine, so men tend to have higher intention to pursue an entrepreneurial career (Langowitz & Minnitti, 2007). Despite rising number and share of women entrepreneurs (De Bruin et al., 2006), entrepreneurship is still a male-stereotyped domain and is considered as a masculine trait (Ahl, 2006; Lewis, 2006) and women's entrepreneurship is still significantly lower than male (Langowitz & Minniti, 2007; Marlow, 2002).The reasons of this gap is still not clearly understood (Minniti & Arenius, 2003). One of the factors that may influence entrepreneurship difference between men and women is individual entrepreneurial perceptions and intentions (Koellinger et al., 2011). In view of these differences, the present study is undertaken to understand the difference in the entrepreneurial intentions among male and female students of government and private colleges teaching management courses.

Review of Literature

Numerous studies have identified entrepreneurship as a significant factor in the economic growth and development of a nation (Birley, 1987; Reynolds, 1987; Morris & Lewis, 1991; Shane et al., 1991). Resurrection (2011) suggested that entrepreneurship can be considered as one possible solution to address poverty issues by developing and under developed countries. Nafukho and Helen Muyia (2010) identified that entrepreneurship is important in creating a healthy economy. While entrepreneurship has been viewed as a vital element for economic growth and development of developing countries, surprisingly very few researches have been conducted on the factors that influence individuals' intentions to initiate new businesses in these contexts (Karimi et al., 2010).

Theories of planned behavior elucidate entrepreneurial intentions as the key to understand the entrepreneurial process and recognize it as the first step in the long and complex process of entrepreneurship (Krueger & Carsrud, 1993; Krueger et al., 2000; Kolvereid, 2016). Intention refers to a state of mind directing a person towards a specific objective in order to achieve something. It usually involves inner strengths, aspiration and feeling to become self sufficient (Zain et al., 2010). Intention refers to individual's tendency to perform an action or a series of actions and initiates from conscious thinking that directs behavior (Parker, 2004). Intentions occupy central position in study of human behaviors (Tubbs & Ekeberg, 1991). Intention can also be defined as the efforts of an individual to carry out entrepreneurial behavior (Linan & Rodriguez, 2004). Bird and Jellinek (1988) explained entrepreneurial intention as the level of cognitive awareness that directs an individual to set up a new business. They further explained that intention is a thinking situation that connects focus, experience and individual behavior towards a specific goal. It is important to identify entrepreneurial intention for an individual before becoming entrepreneur; this may provide him with a clear goal about what he intends to be and what needs to be done in accomplishing his goals and leading him to success.

Studies have explored that entrepreneurship education programs that may be a part of management education curriculum significantly contributes towards the development of entrepreneurial intentions (Izquierdo & Buelens, 2008, Luthje & Franke, 2003, Peterman & Kennedy, 2003, Kolvereid & Moens, 1997, Souitaris et al., 2007, Fayolle et al., 2006). Mushtaq et al. (2011) explored entrepreneurial intentions among young students of management and entrepreneurship. The findings supported the fact that higher education aids young graduates and prepare them for new venture conception. Further, they confirmed that young graduates are more enthusiastic to form new business after acquiring relevant inputs in business and entrepreneurship education.

Fayolle et al. (2006) identified that the content and context of entrepreneurship education programs in different form of institutions could vary. Few studies that compared the level of entrepreneurial intention of the public and private universities (Perim, 2012; Silva & Teixeira, 2013) explored that students from private universities perceive their institutions as more dedicated towards entrepreneurial education than their counter-parts perceived public universities. Perim (2012) identified that students of public institutions...

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