An investigation of social entrepreneurial intentions formation among South-East European postgraduate students

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Kostas Politis
Panayiotis Ketikidis
Anastasios D. Diamantidis
Lambros Lazuras
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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to investigate the formation of social entrepreneurial intentions (SEIs) in postgraduate students in the South-East European region. Design/methodology/approach – A quantitative approach (self-administered online questionnaire) is used to gather data. The total number of the questionnaires that were collected and analyzed through SPSS statistical suite was 115 from which 111 were valid. Findings – From the proposed five hypotheses set in the literature, only the personality trait theory was totally rejected because it failed to predict social and commercial entrepreneurial intentions (EIs). The remaining hypotheses were found to be valid. The study’s key finding is that the chosen theory (Ajzen’s theory of planned behavior (TPB)), is able to predict both kinds of intentions. An alarming key finding is that tensions in mission focus seem to be present in the early shaped intentions of potential social entrepreneurs. Research limitations/implications – Research findings impose that major educational and policy efforts are needed to promote the theme of social entrepreneurship (SE). The results indicate that most of the postgraduates have not yet fully understood the mindset of SE as they were confused about the synergy of the goals (inherent in their social vs profit intentions). Originality/value – This research contributes in three major ways to the literature. First, it shows that SEIs seem to be shaped similarly to EIs; determined mostly by two of the motivational factors of the TPB (personal attitude and perceived behavioral control). Second, it shows which factors seem to affect both constructs and third, it adds to the literature by showing that tensions in mission focus are evident early on in the intentions’ formation process, underlying the necessity of immediate educational and legislative precautions.
Politis, K., Ketikidis, P., Diamantidis, A.D. and Lazuras, L. (2016), "An investigation of social entrepreneurial intentions formation among South-East European postgraduate students", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 1120-1141.