- Open Access
Demographic factors, family background and prior self-employment on entrepreneurial intention - Vietnamese business students are different: why?
Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research volume 8, Article number: 10 (2018)
This study investigates the impact of demographic factors, prior exposure to self-employment and family background on entrepreneurial intention of Vietnamese business students. Three hundred seventy-two undergraduate and post-graduate business students from three universities in Ho Chi Minh City completed a self-administered questionnaire which was analyzed through Independent Sample T-test and One-way ANOVA. Demographic factors include gender, age ranges and education level, family background include parents’ employment status and parents’ immigrant status. Results evidence somewhat higher entrepreneurial intention in male students. Furthermore, students whose parents are self-employed score higher entrepreneurial intention, but the difference is not statistically significant. The same is evidenced for students whose parents are immigrants from rural areas to urban cities versus non-immigrant parents. Prior experience in self-employment also increases entrepreneurial intention, albeit again insignificantly. Age and education levels show practically no impact. These results are in clear contradiction to the state with state of-the art international literature, which evidences significance in all these impact factors.
Currently, entrepreneurship is a widely discussed topic in Vietnam and the role of entrepreneurs and private business sectors has been increasingly promoted by the Vietnamese government.Footnote 1Business start-up programs are not only to inspire the young people’s entrepreneurial mindset, but more importantly an overall business start-up support program would be built, including many creative and effective activities. The Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) (2017), reported that among the one million Vietnamese unemployed in 2016, the highest unemployment rates were university graduates or those holding higher degrees. An estimated 190,900 graduates and degree holders (an increase of more than 35,000 people over the same period last year) could not get jobs. (Vietnam Business Forum - VCCI, 2017).
Vietnamese graduates struggle to look for jobs and business start-ups and self-employment are seen as a strategic solution not only to create jobs for young people but also contribute significantly to the country’s socio-economic development. Many studies evidence that entrepreneurship is critically important for the economic prosperity of nations (Bowen and Clercq, 2008; Katz, 2007; Kogut et al., 2010). Moreover, self-employment has significant positive economic impact not only on wage and salary scales but also on per capita income growth and poverty reduction (Goetz et al., 2012). According to Beeka and Rimmington (2011), entrepreneurship is one of the career options students may consider shortly before or immediately after graduation. For all these reasons, investigating the motives that drive graduating students to envisage entrepreneurship is highly relevant (Zellweger et al. 2011). Namely, it is crucial to understand the factors that can impact upon such intentions to start-up a business in the future. Individual factors that motivate a person’s decision to become an entrepreneur are numerous. In general, these factors can be classified as demographic factors and attitudes, values or psychological factors (Ashley-Cotleur et al., 2009). Two key demographic variables that influence entrepreneurship activities are gender and family/parental background. To study antecedents of entrepreneurial intention can help teachers, consultants, advisors and policy makers to know more how these are formed and how new venture founders’ beliefs, perceptions, experiences, and motives impact the intent to start a business (Wang et al. 2011; Zellweger et al. 2011). In addition to personality traits, individual difference variables have been found to predict entrepreneurship (Ismail et al., 2009). They include age, gender, education, work experience and role models, family background and education (Hatak et al., 2015; Fatoki, 2014; Quan, 2012; Pablo-Lerchundi et al., 2015; Smith et al., 2016a, b; Yukongdi et al.,2017).
The objective of this study is to further investigate, with a focus on Vietnam, such as demographic factors, family backgrounds and prior exposure to self-employment on entrepreneurial intention of business students. Demographic factors include age, gender and education level; family backgrounds include their parents’ job status and parents’ immigrant background. We also strive to assess whether prior experience in self-employment has any impact on entrepreneurial intention of young business graduates or not. Investigating the motives that drive graduate students for entrepreneurship is highly significant given the importance of entrepreneurship for job creation and economic growth.
Entrepreneurial intention has been defined by many different scholars worldwide. Tkachev and Kolvereid (1999) defines entrepreneurial intention as one’s willingness in undertaking entrepreneurial activity, or in other words becoming self-employed. Entrepreneurial behavior is a process that unfolds over time for the individual (Shane, 2000). Choo and Wong (2006) define entrepreneurial intention as the search for information that can be used to help fulfill the goal of venture creation. Entrepreneurial intentions can generally be defined as a conscious awareness and conviction by an individual that set up a new business venture and plans to do so in the future (Bird, 1988; Thompson, 2009). Pihie et al. (2009) states intention as a state of mind or attitude which influences entrepreneurial behavior. Van Gelderen (2008) states that entrepreneurial intentions are central to understanding the entrepreneurship process because they form the underpinnings of new organizations. The opposite status of being self-employed is becoming a waged or salaried individual. There are many approaches to studying entrepreneurial intention but there are two most popular models which are Shapero’s Entrepreneurial Event Model (Shapero, 1975) and the Theory of Planned Behavior Model (Ajzen, 1991).
Shapero’s Entrepreneurial Event Model views firm creation resulting from interactions between contextual factors, which would act through their influence an individual’s perceptions. Shapero (1975) lists three dimensions that determine entrepreneurial intention, namely “Perceived desirability”, “Perceived feasibility” and “Propensity to act”. Shapero emphasizes the importance of perception in predicting the intention to act in some specific ways. The perception requires that the behavior must be desirable and feasible and a clear propensity to act the behavior. Perceived desirability refers to the degree to which he/she feels attraction for a given behavior (to become an entrepreneur). Perceived feasibility is defined as the degree to which people consider themselves personally able to carry out certain behavior. The presence of role models, mentors or partners would be a decisive element in establishing the individual’s entrepreneurial feasibility level. Propensity to act refers to an individual’s willingness to act on decision. The three perceptions are determined by cultural and social factors, through their influence on the individual’s values system (Shapero, 1975). In a later study, Krueger et al. (2000) modifies the model with two more components which are specific desirability and perceived self-efficacy. Krueger studies the significance to understand the self-efficacy in relation to entrepreneurial intention and he also concluded that entrepreneurial usually ignore the concept of Self-efficacy in entrepreneurial researches. Self-efficacy theory explains what peoples’ beliefs about their capabilities to produce effects are.
The Theory of Planned Behavior model is the most widely used model to research on entrepreneurial intention (Liñán and Chen, 2009). There are three conceptually independent determinants of intention towards entrepreneurship, namely attitudes towards entrepreneurship, subjective norms, and perceived behavior control (Ajzen, 1991). Attitude towards performing behavior refers to perceptions of personal desirability to perform the behavior (Ajzen, 1991). It depends on the expectations and beliefs about personal impacts of outcomes resulting from the behavior. A person’s attitude towards behavior represents evaluation of the behavior and its outcome. Attitude towards entrepreneurship refers to the personal desirability in becoming an entrepreneur (Kolvereid, 1996). As a result, the more expectations and beliefs towards self-employment reflect a favorable attitude towards entrepreneurship. Financial security was the most outstanding variable that made up for the attitude towards entrepreneurial intention (Van Gelderen et al., 2008). Many studies confirm a positive relationship between attitude and behavioral intention (Kolvereid, 1996; Krueger et al., 2000; Autio et al., 2001; Van Gelderen et al., 2008; Bodewes, 2010; Tegtmeier, 2012; Yang, 2013; Nguyen, 2015). Yang (2013) confirms that attitude represented the most effective predictor of entrepreneurial intention. In contrast, Zhang et al. (2015) confirms a surprise result from a study conducted in United States that attitude fails to generate a significant impact on entrepreneurial intention. In addition, Nguyen (2017) confirms that subjective norms fails to generate significant impact on entrepreneurial intention in a research conducted in Viet Nam.
Entrepreneurial intention are associated with socio-demographic variables such as age, gender, education background, prior employment experience, level of education and the role models. Demographic factors such as age and gender have been proposed to have an impact on entrepreneurial intention (Kristiansen and Indarti, 2004). In general, women have been reported as having lower entrepreneurial intentions. Crant (1996) confirms that men are more likely than women to express an intention or preference for starting their own businesses. Zhao et al. (2005) concludes that women are less likely than men to desire becoming an entrepreneur Other studies also argued that females are less likely to establish their own business than men (Phan et al., 2002a, b). In contrast, some studies showed no meaningful difference between men and women in terms of intentions to start businesses (Kourilsky and Walstad, 1998; Shay and Terjensen, 2005; Wilson et al., 2007; Smith et al., 2016a, b; Chaudhary,2017). These results challenge past research findings which ranked female students lower on entrepreneurial dimensions compared to male students. Furthermore, Daim et al. (2016) provides insight into the entrepreneurial intension of students in terms of genders and country of residence differences. The paper explores perceived feasibility and desirability for students in 10 countries. The entrepreneurship role is gender tested against desirability and feasibility. The results indicate that gender impacts entrepreneurship intention and the way it impacts is influenced by which country the students are from (Daim et al., 2016). Since the impact of gender on entrepreneurship remains largely inconclusive, it proposes further research in the area. Therefore, the first hypothesis of this study are proposed as:
H1. Men will display higher entrepreneurial intention than women.
Some researchers believe that people mostly decide to establish their own firms between the ages of 25 to 34 (Choo and Wong, 2006; Delmar and Davidsson, 2000). Although older people are more capable of exhibiting behaviors that deviate from the customary way of doing business as they have greater means and opportunity for doing so (Curran and Blackburn, 2001; Weber and Schaper, 2004) but they are much less likely as younger people to take steps toward acting entrepreneurially (Hart et al., 2004) or to actually establish a company (Kautonen, 2008). Levesque and Minniti (2006) explain the age-related effect on entrepreneurial intention as a result of the opportunity costs of time. It can thus be assumed that age has a negative relation with entrepreneurial intention. In addition, Hatak et al. (2015) confirms that age is associated with a lower likelihood of having an entrepreneurial intention. In contrast, Chaudhary (2017) does not support age is inversely related to entrepreneurial inclination. Thus, the second hypothesis of this study is proposed as:
H2. There is a significant difference between age ranges on entrepreneurial intention of business students.
Van der Sluis et al. (2004) shows that the effect of general education, measured in years of schooling, on entrepreneur performance is positive (Van der Sluis et al., 2004). Some other studies show that the educational background plays a vital role on creating entrepreneurial skills (Murphy, 2006). On level of education, it is possible to see a positive attitude of university students towards enterprise and small business (Birdthistle, 2008). However, the relationship between university education in general and entrepreneurship is not so strong and contested (Galloway and Brown, 2002; Pittaway and Cope, 2007). Moreover, Franke and Lüthje (2004) found that students who assess the university environment as being insufficient or negative to encourage the entrepreneurship have significantly lower entrepreneurial intentions than those who have positive perceptions. This finding is consistent with Davidsson and Honig (2003), where they show that while education can help a person discover new opportunities, it does not necessarily determine whether he or she will create a new business to exploit the opportunity. However, Quan (2012) confirms that advanced educational background has a positive impact on one’s impulsive entrepreneurship intention and one’s deliberate entrepreneurship intention. Therefore, the impact of education on entrepreneurial intention is still remaining inconclusive so the third hypothesis of this study is stated as:
H3. There is a significant difference among education levels on entrepreneurial intention of business students.
Prior exposure to self-employment
Barringer et al. (2005) believes that the involvement in the establishment of different firms will provide the entrepreneur the opportunity of knowing the risks and problems associated with new venture formation. Entrepreneurial experience is one of the main factors linked with involvements and role of entrepreneur in new venture creation (Lee and Tsang, 2001). This type of experience is also expected to have a positive impact on entrepreneurial intentions (Phan et al., 2002a, b; Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999). In addition, Basu and Virick evaluates that entrepreneurial intentions and their antecedents. Their findings highlight that education and prior experience does have a positive and significant impact on entrepreneurial behavior (Basu and Virick, 2008). McStay (2008) proposes that level of student’s previous entrepreneurial experience will influence students’ perceived desirability of self-employment. Students’ perceived desirability of self-employment will influence self-employment intentions. Shane (2000) points out that prior knowledge about markets, customer problems, and knowledge about how to serve markets will influence individuals’ discovery of opportunities, thus influencing entrepreneurial behaviors. These types of knowledge typically can be embedded in an individual’s job experience. Therefore, the nature of jobs that an individual has taken may influence his/her entrepreneurial intention. Specifically, profound job experiences can provide easy access to resources and therefore contribute to the person’s judgment about the feasibility of his/her starting a new business. Therefore, the fourth hypothesis of this study is proposed as:
H4. Students with prior experience in self-employment show a higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students without prior experience in self-employment.
Parent’s employment and family background
Role modeling refers to learning by examples rather direct experience. In role modeling, the individual adopts the behavior by informal and unintentional observation (Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999). Crant (1996) confirms that being raised in a family that is entrepreneurial significantly impacts individuals’ intentions to start their own businesses). Other studies also confirm that the children of entrepreneurs learn the factors involving in running a business and consider establishing a new organization as a natural career choice option (Cooper et al., 1994; Sandberg and Hofer, 1987). Furthermore, having role models is also a significant factor in wanting to start a business as pointed out by Birley and Westhead, 1994) and having self-employed parents tend to be especially relevant as mentors and guides for children starting their own businesses as highlighted by Matthews and Moser (Matthews and Moser, 1995). In family, entrepreneurial parents form a role model and create management know-how for the individual entrepreneur (Papadaki et al., 2002). McElwee and Al-Riyami (2003) also states that children who grew up with entrepreneur parents had a greater tendency to choose a self-employed career. Similarly, Fairlie and Robb (2007) showed that entrepreneurs tended to have a self-employed mother or father in their family history. Mueller (2006) concludes parental role modeling to be the most significant familial factor on entrepreneurial intention. Through the socialization process of children, exposure to entrepreneurship experience in the family business constitutes important intergenerational influence on entrepreneurship intentions (Carr and Sequeira, 2007). Remarkably, Drennan et al. (2005) reports that those who found a positive view of their family’s business experience perceived starting a business as both desirable and feasible (Drennan et al., 2005). Alsos et al. (2011) also indicate that a family business has a role to play in enhancing the development of entrepreneurship among family members. Recently, Chaudhary (2017) confirms that self-employed family background will have a positive relationship with entrepreneurial intent. Since there is a confirmation by many studies on the impacts of parental role model and family background on entrepreneurial intention, the last two hypothesis of this study are proposed as:
H5A. Children whose parents are self-employed show a higher level of entrepreneurial intention than children whose parents are not self-employed.
H5B.Children whose parents are immigrant from rural areas to urban cities show a higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students whose parents are not Fig. 1.
Data collection process
The respondents of this study are undergraduate and post-graduate business students from three universities located in Ho Chi Minh city which is the biggest economic center of Viet Nam. These are business students come from Industrial University of Ho Chi Minh city, FPT University and Nguyen Tat Than University. This study is conducted by using of convenience sampling. Data was collected through the use of self-administered questionnaire in a survey. Data collected is strictly committed for the only use of this research and the confidentiality of students is guaranteed. The questionnaires were distributed face-to-face in class to the students with the assistance of the author. The questionnaires were written both in English and Vietnamese in order to avoid any misunderstandings.
The questionnaire in this research consists of nine questions. Question 1 asked respondents to indicate their gender and it is used to test hypothesis H1 by applying Independent Sample T-Test. The answer of question 1 is either Male which is coded by 1 or Female which is coded by 2. Question 2 asked respondents to indicate their age range and it is used to test hypothesis H2 by applying One-way ANOVA Analysis. The answer for question 2 include age range from 20 to 24 coded by 1, age range from 25 to 30 coded by 2, age range from 30 to 35 coded by 3 and above 35 years old coded by 4. Question 3 asked respondents to indicate their education level and it is used to test hypothesis H3 by running One-way ANOVA Analysis. The answer for question 3 include high school graduate coded by 1, diploma degree coded by 2, bachelor degree coded by 3 and post-graduate degree coded by 4. Question 4 asked respondents to confirm whether they have prior experience in self-employment or start-up business or not and it is used to test hypothesis H4 by using Independent Sample T-Test. The answer for question 4 is either Yes which is coded by 1 or No which is coded by 0. Question 5 and 6 asked respondents about their family background. Question 5 asked respondents whether their parents are self-employed or not. The answer for question 5 and 6 is either Yes which is coded by 1 or No which is coded by 0. Data from question 5 is used to test hypothesis H5A by using Independent Sample T-Test. Question 6 asked respondents about whether their parents are immigrants from rural areas to urban city or not. Question 6 is used to test hypothesis 5B by applying Independent Sample T-Test. Entrepreneurial intention is measured by three questions which are Question 7 “I want to start-up a business within 5 years from now”; Question 8 “Question 8: I always want to set up my own business” and Question 9 “Becoming an entrepreneur is the most import objective of my life”. Respondents show their agreement by 7 Likert-Type scale from “1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree”. The similar research setting on entrepreneurial intention have been done by Zhao et al. (2005) and Wu (2009) in which entrepreneurial intention was measured using seven point Likert scale ranging from “1 strongly disagree to 7 strongly agree”. The reason to use 7 Likert scale in this study is that it would be much more rigorous to follow Linan and Chen to evaluate the level of intention by applying Likert-Type scales with 7 items because intention is generally viewed as a “complex cognitive trait” (Liñán and Chen, 2009). The average index of three questions is used for statistical analysis to test hypothesis in this study. Reliability was measured using the Cronbach’s alpha for these questions. Data analysis for this study include descriptive statistics (mean and standard deviation), One-way ANOVA and Independent Sample T-test. Data analysis are conducted by IBM SPSS Statistics 20 software.
Results and discussion
Overall, 400 samples were collected but only 372 samples were answered fully and correctly. Unfortunately, 28 samples are omitted data so they must be removed. The correct responding rate is 93%. The coefficient alpha for the measures of entrepreneurial intention was 0.881, which indicated a very high reliability.
Gender and entrepreneurial intention
Table 1 shows the results of gender and the entrepreneurial intention of business students. The results for the two sets of respondents indicate a moderate level of entrepreneurial intention. Male students coded by 1.0 (mean of 5.1677) have a higher level of entrepreneurial intention compared to female students coded by 2.0 (mean of 4.5772). The T-test (sig. 0.003) indicates that there is a significant difference in the mean scores of the two sets of respondents. Thus, the H1 hypothesis is supported. Male business students display higher entrepreneurial intention than female business students. This finding is consistent with many previous studies that showed men display a higher level of entrepreneurial intention than women (Crant, 1996; Phan et al., 2002a, b; Kristiansen and Indarti, 2004; Zhao et al., 2005). This finding also reflects a reality that women is less likely to become entrepreneurs than men in Viet Nam. According to General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO) (2014), Vietnamese women entrepreneurs only account for 25.4%. Therefore, Vietnamese government should actively encourage and support women to start-up their business.
Age range and entrepreneurial intention
The Table 2 shows the results of one-way ANOVA analysis between age ranges and entrepreneurial intention. The sig of Levene‟s Test is 0.055 so it accepts the null hypothesis (no difference) for the assumption of homogeneity of variance. There is no significant difference between the variances. The assumption of homogeneity of variance is met. Thus, the result from ANOVA analysis can be used. The Sig. of ANOVA is 0.327 which is greater than 0.05 so it rejects hypothesis H2. There is no significant difference among age ranges on entrepreneurial intention. This finding is inconsistent with many previous studies which confirm that age is negatively associated with entrepreneurial intention (Curran and Blackburn, 2001; Weber and Schaper, 2004; Levesque and Minniti, 2006; Kautonen, 2008; Hatak et al., 2015). However, this finding is consistent with the confirmation from Chaudhary (2017) that there is insufficient statistical evidence to support that age is inversely related to entrepreneurial inclination. Therefore, this result calls for further research on impact of age on entrepreneurial intention.
Education levels and entrepreneurial intention
The Table 3 shows the results of One-way ANOVA analysis between education levels and entrepreneurial intention of business students. The sig of Levene‟s Test is 0.693 which is greater than 0.05 so it accepts the null hypothesis (no difference) for the assumption of homogeneity of variance. There is no significant difference between the variances. The assumption of homogeneity of variance is satisfied. Thus, the result from ANOVA analysis can be used. The Sig. of ANOVA is 0.079 which is greater than 0.05 so it rejects hypothesis H3. There is no significant difference among education levels on entrepreneurial intention of business students. This finding is consistent with many previous studies which confirm the relationship between university education in general and entrepreneurship is not so strong and contested (Galloway and Brown, 2002; Davidsson and Honig, 2003; Pittaway and Cope, 2007). Since there is no significant difference between education levels and entrepreneurial intention, it is possible to see that education can help a person discover new opportunities but it does not necessarily determine whether he or she will create a new business to exploit the opportunity. In order to encourage business start-up, governments and policy-makers should not only focus on entrepreneurship programs for highly educated people but also encourage and support any person who is capable and willing to start-up his/her own business.
Prior experience in self-employment and entrepreneurial intention
Table 4 shows the results of prior experience in self-employment and the entrepreneurial intention of business students. The results for the two sets of respondents indicate a slight level of entrepreneurial intention. Students with prior experience in self-employment coded by 1.0 (mean of 4.978) have a slightly higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students without prior experience in self-employment coded by 0.0 (mean of 4.7769). The T-test (sig. 0.339) indicates that there is no significant difference in the mean scores of the two sets of respondents. Thus, the H4 hypothesis is not supported. There is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude students with prior experience in self-employment display a higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students without prior experience in self-employment. Surprisingly, this finding is inconsistent with many previous studies which support a positive relationship between prior experience in self-employment and entrepreneurial intention (Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; Lee and Tsang, 2001; Phan et al., 2002a, b; Basu and Virick, 2008). This finding calls for further research to assess the relationship between prior experience in self-employment and entrepreneurial intention.
Family background and entrepreneurial intention
Table 5 shows the results of student’s parent employment status and the entrepreneurial intention of business students. The results for the two sets of respondents indicate a very slight level of entrepreneurial intention. Students who have parents are self-employed coded by 1.0 (mean of 4.8879) have a slightly higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students whose parents are self-employed coded by 0.0 (mean of 4.7769). The T-test (sig. 0.578) indicates that there is no significant difference in the mean scores of the two sets of respondents. Thus, the H5A hypothesis is not supported. There is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that children of self-employed parents show a higher entrepreneurial intention than children whose parents are not self-employed.
Table 6 shows the results of student’s parent immigrant background and the entrepreneurial intention. The results for the two sets of respondents indicate a very slight level of entrepreneurial intention. Students whose parents are immigrant from rural areas to urban cities coded by 1.0 (mean of 4.8814) have a slightly higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students whose parents are not immigrant coded by 0.0 (mean of 4.8271). The T-test (sig. 0.805) indicates that there is no significant difference in the mean scores of the two sets of respondents. Thus, the H5B hypothesis is not supported. There is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that children of immigrant parents from rural areas to urban cities show a higher level of entrepreneurial intention than students whose parents are not immigrant.
Conclusion and further research
Entrepreneurship has become an important factor for economic development not only in Viet Nam but worldwide. Many governments and policy makers have recognized its significance in term of innovation, improving productivity and creating jobs for young people. Thus, it is critical to understand the antecedents of entrepreneurship to promote and encourage young people to start up their own businesses. The main objective of this study is to determine whether demographic factors, family background and prior exposure to self-employment have any influences on entrepreneurial intention of young business graduates or not. The results only support that men display higher entrepreneurial intention than women. This result confirms the fact that Vietnamese male business students are more likely to choose start-up business as a career choice rather than women. Under the influence of Confucianism, Vietnamese women are more likely to spend time and effort to take care of their family rather than involving in business activities. As result, Vietnamese women have a trend to choose salaried jobs rather than becoming an entrepreneur. This fact calls for further research to investigate what kinds of obstacles or barriers that prevents Vietnamese women to start-up business. By answering this question, Vietnamese government can find appropriate solutions to actively encourage and support more women to start up their own business. Furthermore, comparative studies should be conducted to clarify the differences between Western women and Asian women on entrepreneurial intention. Some studies conducted in Western countries showed no meaningful difference between men and women in terms of intentions to start businesses (Kourilsky and Walstad, 1998; Shay and Terjensen, 2005; Wilson et al., 2007; Smith et al., 2016a, b; Chaudhary,2017). Hence, the impact of gender on entrepreneurial intention still remains inconclusive and requires further research in the field.
In term of age ranges, the result confirms there is no significant difference between age groups and entrepreneurial intention of business students. This result is surprising because it is inconsistent with many previous studies which shows older people are less likely to start-up business than young people (Hart et al., 2004; Lévesque and Minniti, 2006; Kautonen, 2008; Hatak et al., 2015). In Vietnamese context, age ranges do not affect entrepreneurial intention among business students. Meanwhile, some studies confirm that people mostly decide to establish their own firms between the ages of 25 to 34 (Choo and Wong, 2006; Delmar and Davidsson, 2000). This fact calls for further research to investigate the impact of age of entrepreneurial intention. It is still insufficient to conclude whether entrepreneurial intention will decrease over time or other unknown factors actually decrease entrepreneurial intention of old people. Furthermore, many other factors that associate with time such as social network, financial capital, in-depth working experience, labor structure changes also should be studied to assess the impacts of those factors on entrepreneurial intention of business students over time. For policy makers, the result suggests age ranges have no significant influence on entrepreneurial intention of business students. Therefore, government should not only focus its efforts on support young business people but also focus on older groups. Higher education institutions also should pay more attention on entrepreneurship programs for older people. This trend in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education is really meaningful for many countries with aging population.
On education levels, the result shows that there is no significant difference among education levels on entrepreneurial intention of business student. This result is inconsistent with many previous studies confirming a positive relationship between education and entrepreneurship (Van der Sluis et al., 2004; Murphy, 2006; Birdthistle, 2008). In contrast, other studies argue that the relationship between university education in general and entrepreneurship is not so strong and contested (Galloway and Brown, 2002; Pittaway and Cope, 2007). Hence, the influence of education level on entrepreneurial intention still remains doubtful so it calls for further research in the field. This result also implies that government and higher education institutions should provide entrepreneurial supporting programs to any person who wish to start up rather than only base on their education level. Entrepreneurship should be nurtured in any educational environment; not necessarily only in formal education such as universities or colleges.
Remarkably, the result does not support that students with prior experience in self-employment show higher entrepreneurial intention than students without prior experience in self-employment. This finding is inconsistent with many previous studies which confirm a positive relationship between prior experience in self-employment and entrepreneurial intention (Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; Lee and Tsang, 2001; Phan et al., 2002a, b; Barringer et al., 2005; Basu and Virick, 2008; Shane, 2000). This finding calls for further research to assess the influences of prior experience in self-employment on entrepreneurial intention. Further studies should clarify how would positive experiences and negative positive experiences affect entrepreneurial intention of business students. Moreover, what are the context that build such entrepreneurial experience also need to be investigated. Therefore, further studies should utilize qualitative methodology to gain more in-depth findings not only for prior experience in self-employment but also for other determinants as well.
In term of family background, the results do not support any relationship between family background and entrepreneurial intentions of business students. There is insufficient statistical evidence to conclude that children of self-employed parents show a higher entrepreneurial intention than children whose parents are not self-employed. The result also does not support that children of immigrant parents from rural areas to urban cities show a higher entrepreneurial intention than students whose parents are not immigrant. These results imply that family backgrounds do not have significant influence on entrepreneurial intention although the relationship between role models and entrepreneurship has been confirmed by many studies worldwide (Birley and Westhead, 1994; Crant, 1996; Tkachev and Kolvereid, 1999; McElwee and Al-Riyami, 2003, Fairlie and Robb, 2007; Mueller, 2006; Chaudhary, 2017). In fact, entrepreneurial intention usually involves in psychological process, which are popularly studied by the Theory of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1991). This trend calls for comparative research between Western culture and Eastern culture on the impact of family background on entrepreneurial intention. Hopefully, those studies call show the differences in entrepreneurial intention between children raised in Western culture family and Eastern culture family.
Although this study contribute more empirical results in the field, it also has some limitations so it calls for further research on this field. The sample of this study only covered business students come from three universities in Ho Chi Minh city. In order to improve its generalizability, future research could expand the study to more universities to improve the generalizability of the study. Sample can be expanded in future studies by including more students from other universities and institutions from more places in Viet Nam. Moreover, some findings from this study are inconsistent with many previous studies in other countries so it calls for further research to test the relationship between demographic factors, prior experience in self-employment, family background and entrepreneurial intention. Due to the research objective, methodology did not take into account of some promising potential predictors of entrepreneurial intention like subjective norms, cultural factors, instrumental readiness, perceived and/or objective barriers and support. In order to assess those factors, a qualitative methodology would be more appropriate to assess the complexity of the determinants and antecedents of entrepreneurial intention. Currently, quantitative methodology is dominant in the field of entrepreneurial research and this creates a significant limitation of research in this field since methodological paucity weakens the testing and development of theory beyond counting number of instances of an event which is business start-up or self-employment (Hindle, 2004). Hence, future studies utilizing qualitative method or mixed-method are expected to provide a holistic research methodology and a more comprehensive outlook of the antecedents and determinants that trigger entrepreneurial behavior among business students.
In 2016, the national agency representative of the business community, employers and business associations in Vietnam, VCCI (Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry) proposed that the next 5 years should be defined as the years of business start-up, meaning the country will engage considerable resources for business development.
Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179–211.
Alsos, G. A., Carter, S., & Ljunggren, E. (Eds.). (2011). The handbook of research on entrepreneurship in agriculture and rural development. Edward Elgar Publishing.
Ashley-Cotleur, C, King, S, Solomon, G (2009). Parental and gender influences on entrepreneurial intentions, motivations and attitudes. George Washington University.
Autio, E. H. Keeley, R., Klofsten, M., GC Parker, G., & Hay, M. (2001). Entrepreneurial intent among students in Scandinavia and in the USA. Enterprise and Innovation Management Studies, 2(2), 145–160.
Barringer, BR, Jones, FF, Neubaum, DO. (2005). A quantitative content analysis of the characteristics of rapid-growth firms and their founders. Journal of Business Venturing, 20(5), 663–687.
Basu, A., & Virick, M. (2008). Assessing entrepreneurial intentions amongst students: A comparative study. In National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance. Proceedings of the... Annual Conference (p. 79). National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance.
Beeka, BH, & Rimmington, M. (2011). Entrepreneurship as a career option for African youths. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 16(01), 145–164.
Bird, B. (1988). Implementing entrepreneurial ideas: The case for intention. Academy of Management Review, 13(3), 442–453.
Birdthistle, N. (2008). An examination of tertiary students' desire to found an enterprise. Education+. Training, 50(7), 552–567.
Birley, S, & Westhead, P. (1994). A taxonomy of business start-up reasons and their impact on firm growth and size. Journal of Business Venturing, 9(1), 7–31.
Bodewes, Wyn and and Gelderen, Marco van and Brand, Maryse J. and van Praag, Mirjam and Poutsma, Erik and Van Gils, Anita. (2010). Explaining Entrepreneurial Intentions by Means of the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Career Development International, 13(6), 538–559.
Bowen, HP, & De Clercq, D. (2008). Institutional context and the allocation of entrepreneurial effort. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(4), 747–767.
Carr, JC, & Sequeira, JM. (2007). Prior family business exposure as intergenerational influence and entrepreneurial intent: A theory of planned behavior approach. Journal of Business Research, 60(10), 1090–1098.
Chaudhary, R. (2017). Demographic factors, personality and entrepreneurial inclination: A study among Indian university students. Education+ Training, 59(2), 171–187.
Choo, S, & Wong, M. (2006). Entrepreneurial intention: Triggers and barriers to new venture creations in Singapore. Singapore Management Review, 28(2), 47.
Cooper, AC, Gimeno-Gascon, FJ, Woo, CY. (1994). Initial human and financial capital as predictors of new venture performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 9(5), 371–395.
Crant, JM. (1996). The proactive personality scale as a predictor of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Small Business Management, 34(3), 42.
Curran, J, & Blackburn, RA. (2001). Older people and the enterprise society: Age and self-employment propensities. Work, Employment and Society, 15(4), 889–902.
Daim, T, Dabic, M, Bayraktaroglu, E. (2016). Students’ entrepreneurial behavior: International and gender differences. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 5(1), 1–22.
Davidsson, P, & Honig, B. (2003). The role of social and human capital among nascent entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(3), 301–331.
Delmar, F, & Davidsson, P. (2000). Where do they come from? Prevalence and characteristics of nascent entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship & regional development, 12(1), 1–23.
Drennan, J, Kennedy, J, Renfrow, P. (2005). Impact of childhood experiences on the development of entrepreneurial intentions. The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 6(4), 231–238.
Educated struggle to find jobs . (2017). Molisa.gov.vn. Retrieved 13 June 2017, From http://www.molisa.gov.vn/en/Pages/Detail-news.aspx?IDNews=2499.
Fairlie, RW, & Robb, A. (2007). Families, human capital, and small business: Evidence from the characteristics of business owners survey. ILR Review, 60(2), 225–245.
Fatoki, O. (2014). The entrepreneurial intention of undergraduate students in South Africa: The influences of entrepreneurship education and previous work experience. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 5(7), 294.
Franke, N, & Lüthje, C. (2004). Entrepreneurial intentions of business students—A benchmarking study. International Journal of Innovation and Technology Management, 1(03), 269–288.
Galloway, L, & Brown, W. (2002). Entrepreneurship education at university: A driver in the creation of high growth firms? Education+ Training, 44(8/9), 398–405.
General Statistics Office of Vietnam (GSO) (2014), Population and employment report 2014.
Goetz, SJ, Fleming, DA, Rupasingha, A. (2012). The economic impacts of self-employment. Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 44(03), 315–321.
Hart, M., Anyadike-Danes, M., & Blackburn, R. (2004). Entrepreneurship and age in the UK: Comparing third age and prime age new venture creation across the regions. Paper presented at RENT XVIII, Copenhagen
Hatak, I, Harms, R, Fink, M. (2015). Age, job identification, and entrepreneurial intention. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 30(1), 38–53.
Hindle, K. (2004). Choosing qualitative methods for entrepreneurial cognition research: A canonical development approach. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 28(6), 575–607.
Ismail, M, Khalid, SA, Othman, M, Jusoff, HK, Rahman, NA, Kassim, KM, Zain, RS. (2009). Entrepreneurial intention among Malaysian undergraduates. International Journal of Business and Management, 4(10), 54.
Katz, JA (2007). Education and training in entrepreneurship. In JR Baum, M Frese, RA Baron (Eds.), The psychology of entrepreneurship, (pp. 209–235). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
Kautonen, T. (2008). Understanding the older entrepreneur: Comparing third age and prime age entrepreneurs in Finland. International Journal of Business Science and Applied Management, 3(3), 3–13.
Kogut, CA, Short, LE, Wall, JL. (2010). Entrepreneurship: The basis for central European economic development. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 14, 13–23.
Kolvereid, L. (1996). Prediction of employment status choice intentions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 21, 47–57.
Kourilsky, ML, & Walstad, WB. (1998). Entrepreneurship and female youth: Knowledge, attitudes, gender differences, and educational practices. Journal of Business Venturing, 13(1), 77–88.
Kristiansen, S, & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(01), 55–78.
Krueger, NF, Reilly, MD, Carsrud, AL. (2000). Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing, 15(5), 411–432.
Lee, DY, & Tsang, EW. (2001). The effects of entrepreneurial personality, background and network activities on venture growth. Journal of Management Studies, 38(4), 583–602.
Levesque, M, & Minniti, M. (2006). The effect of aging on entrepreneurial behavior. Journal of Business Venturing, 21(2), 177–194.
Liñán, F, & Chen, YW. (2009). Development and cross-cultural application of a specific instrument to measure entrepreneurial intentions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 33(3), 593–617.
Matthews, C. H., & Moser, S. B. (1995). The impact of family background and gender on interest in small firm ownership: A longitudinal study. In Proceedings of the ICSB 40th World conference, Sydney (pp. 18–21).
Mcelwee, G, & Al-Riyami, R. (2003). Women entrepreneurs in Oman: Some barriers to success. Career Development International, 8(7), 339–346.
Mcstay, D. (2008). An investigation of undergaduate student self-employment intention and the impact of entrepreneurship education and previous entrepreneurial experience. Theses, 18.
Mueller, P. (2006). Entrepreneurship in the region: Breeding ground for nascent entrepreneurs? Small Business Economics, 27(1), 41–58.
Murphy, PJ, & Coombes, SM. (2009). A model of social entrepreneurial discovery. Journal of Business Ethics, 87(3), 325–336.
Murphy, PJ, Liao, J, Welsch, HP, (2006) "A conceptual history of entrepreneurial thought", Journal of Management History, 12 (1), 12–35
Nguyen, C. (2015). Entrepreneurial intention in Vietnam: Same as everywhere? Journal of Asia Entrepreneurship and Sustainability, 11(4), 108.
Nguyen, C. (2017). Entrepreneurial intention of international business students in Viet Nam: A survey of the country joining the trans-Pacific partnership. Journal of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, 6(1), 7.
Pablo-Lerchundi, I, Morales-Alonso, G, González-Tirados, RM. (2015). Influences of parental occupation on occupational choices and professional values. Journal of Business Research, 68(7), 1645–1649.
Papadaki, E, Chami, B, Branch, SBP (2002). Growth determinants of micro-businesses in Canada. Ottawa: Small Business Policy Branch, Industry Canada.
Phan, PH, Wong, PK, Wang, CK. (2002a). Antecedents to entrepreneurship among university students in Singapore: Beliefs, attitudes and background. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 10(02), 151–174.
Phan, PH, Wong, PK, Wang, CK. (2002b). Antecedents to entrepreneurship among university students in Singapore: Beliefs, attitudes and background. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 10(02), 151–174.
Pihie, L, Akmaliah, Z, Bagheri, A. (2009). Entrepreneurial intention of university students: An analysis of gender and ethnic groups. The International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, 9(4), 49–60.
Pittaway, L, & Cope, J. (2007). Entrepreneurship education: A systematic review of the evidence. International small business journal, 25(5), 479–510.
Quan, X. (2012). Prior experience, social network, and levels of entrepreneurial intentions. Management Research Review, 35(10), 945–957.
Sandberg, WR, & Hofer, CW. (1987). Improving new venture performance: The role of strategy, industry structure, and the entrepreneur. Journal of Business Venturing, 2(1), 5–28.
Shane, S. (2000). Prior knowledge and the discovery of entrepreneurial opportunities. Organization Science, 11(4), 448–469.
Shapero, A. (1975). The displaced, uncomfortable entrepreneur.
Shay, J., & Terjensen, S. (2005). Entrepreneurial aspirations and intentions of business students: A gendered perspective. In Babson Entrepreneurship Conference, Boston, MA.
Smith, RM, Sardeshmukh, SR, Combs, GM. (2016a). Understanding gender, creativity, and entrepreneurial intentions. Education+ Training, 58(3), 263–282.
Smith, RM, Sardeshmukh, SR, Combs, GM. (2016b). Understanding gender, creativity, and entrepreneurial intentions. Education+ Training, 58(3), 263–282.
Tegtmeier, S. (2012). Empirical implications for promoting Students'entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 20(02), 151–169.
Thompson, ER. (2009). Individual entrepreneurial intent: Construct clarification and development of an internationally reliable metric. Entrepreneurship. Theory and Practice, 33(3), 669–694.
Tkachev, A, & Kolvereid, L. (1999). Self-employment intentions among Russian students. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 11(3), 269–280.
Van der Sluis, J., van Praag, M., & Vijverberg, W. P. (2004). Education and entrepreneurship in industrialized countries: A meta-analysis.
Van Gelderen, M, Brand, M, van Praag, M, Bodewes, W, Poutsma, E, Van Gils, A. (2008). Explaining entrepreneurial intentions by means of the theory of planned behaviour. Career Development International, 13(6), 538–559.
Vietnam Business Forum - VCCI. (2017). Vccinews.com. Retrieved 13 June 2017, from http://vccinews.com/news_detail.asp?news_id=34007.
Wang, W, Lu, W, Millington, JK. (2011). Determinants of entrepreneurial intention among college students in China and USA. Journal of Global Entrepreneurship Research, 1(1), 35–44.
Weber, P, & Schaper, M. (2004). Understanding the grey entrepreneur. Journal of enterprising culture, 12(02), 147–164.
Wilson, F, Kickul, J, Marlino, D. (2007). Gender, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and entrepreneurial career intentions: Implications for entrepreneurship education. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 31(3), 387–406.
Wu, W.W., (2009). A competency-based model for the success of an entrepreneurial start-up. WSEAS transactions on business and economics, 6(6), 279–291.
Yang, J. (2013). The theory of planned behavior and prediction of entrepreneurial intention among Chinese undergraduates. Social Behavior and Personality: An International Journal, 41(3), 367–376.
Yukongdi, V, Yukongdi, V, Lopa, NZ, Lopa, NZ. (2017). Entrepreneurial intention: A study of individual, situational and gender differences. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 24(2), 333–352.
Zellweger, T, Sieger, P, Halter, F. (2011). Should I stay or should I go? Career choice intentions of students with family business background. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(5), 521–536.
Zhang, P, Wang, DD, Owen, CL. (2015). A study of entrepreneurial intention of university students. Entrepreneurship Research Journal, 5(1), 61–82.
Zhao, H, Seibert, S, Hills, G. (2005). The mediating role of self-efficacy in the development of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(6), 1265–1272.
The Author completed this paper solely. There are no other contributors to be listed.
The author has no research funding to be declared.
The author is the single contributor of this research.
The author declares that there is no competing interests.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Nguyen, C. Demographic factors, family background and prior self-employment on entrepreneurial intention - Vietnamese business students are different: why?. J Glob Entrepr Res 8, 10 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40497-018-0097-3
- Entrepreneurial intention
- Education level
- Prior experience in self-employment