Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/78341
Type: Thesis
Title: Values, entrepreneurial attitude, and entrepreneurial intentions as antecedents of nascent entrepreneur business start-up behaviour in South Africa : a longitudinal study.
Author: Lindsay, Wendy A.
Issue Date: 2012
School/Discipline: Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre
Abstract: Various studies have embarked on identifying differences between existing entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs. Many of these studies used personality characteristics and demographics to explore these differences but to no avail. The use of attitude theory, however, has shown promise in predicting behavioural tendency differences between existing and non entrepreneurs. Various questions, however, remain unanswered including ... Whether entrepreneurial attitudes are inherent in nascent entrepreneurs or whether they develop through exposure to business? To what extent do entrepreneurial attitudes develop over time and how are they related to business start-up? To what extent is it possible to develop entrepreneurial attitudes in non-entrepreneurs? If this is possible, are these attitudes sustainable over time that will lead to business start-up behaviours? In dealing with these unanswered questions, a potentially problematic issue that has been identified with the attitude construct in the psychological literature is that attitudes may not be stable. Thus, attitude toward an object may change. Validated entrepreneurial attitude scales have been developed and deployed; however, most key studies have been cross-sectional and so have not been able to measure whether temporal changes occur. This research adopts a repeated measures longitudinal approach to measuring entrepreneurial attitude so as to be able to address this issue. In addition, because values are regarded as a relatively stable construct and because values and attitudes are related, this research also examines the values - entrepreneurial attitude - entrepreneurial intentions relationship over time and examines to what extent these contribute toward business start-up behaviour. The research design employs two groups: one group whose members identified themselves as intending to start a business (referred to as nascent entrepreneurs) and another group whose members stated that they had no intentions of starting a business (referred to as non-entrepreneurs). These two groups were tracked over a four and a half year period with repeated measures taken at T₁ (Baseline), T₂ (one year later after they participated in a one year entrepreneurship training and mentoring intervention), and at T₃ (end-of-study) – which was three and a half years after T₂. There were 329 nascent and 107 non-entrepreneurs at T₁ and 287 nascent and 106 non-entrepreneurs participating in the research at T₃. All participants were black South Africans, chronically unemployed, and were socially and economically disadvantaged. Thus, a major motivation for starting a business for the nascent entrepreneur group was out of necessity – they needed to generate a revenue stream to improve their quality of life and/or survive. Using structural equation modeling, both differences and similarities were detected over time between the nascent entrepreneur and non-entrepreneur group results. Entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions fluctuated while values remained relatively stable. Because attitudes are unstable, the use of entrepreneurial attitudes alone to differentiate between the nascent and non-entrepreneur groups would have been effective at T₁ and T₃ but would have produced spurious results at T₂. The research contributes to theory by building upon and extending prior research that has mainly been undertaken in a Westernised context so that there is a better understanding of the research constructs and their inter-relationships in a socio-economic disadvantaged context within a developing country,. The research also contributes toward practice in terms of the insights gleaned from the behavioural outcomes identified from immersing nascent and non-entrepreneurs in an intensive entrepreneurship training and mentoring program intervention.
Advisor: Kropp, Fredric
Ireland, Vernon
List, Dennis H.
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Entrepreneurship, Commercialisation and Innovation Centre, 2012
Keywords: values; entrepreneurial attitude; entrepreneurial intentions; business start-up behaviour; nascent entrepreneurs; repeated measures; longitudinal
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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