Entrepreneurial self-efficacy among first-year undergraduates: Gender, creative self-efficacy, leadership self-efficacy, and field of study


Abstract

Objective: To contribute to a better understanding of the factors that influence university students’ confidence in their ability to engage in entrepreneurial behaviours.

Research Design & Methods: Participants were 1741 first-year students (792 women, 949 men) from two Spanish universities (Mage = 18.76, SD = 1.82). They were enrolled in degree programmes in two broad fields: engineering and architecture, and social sciences and law. Using a quantitative cross-sectional design, we obtained measures of creative self-efficacy, leadership self-efficacy, and entrepreneurial self-efficacy.

Findings: Results showed that both leadership self-efficacy and creative self-efficacy predicted entrepreneurial self-efficacy, although creative self-efficacy was the variable that contributed most to the expected change in entrepreneurial self-efficacy. There were also differences in entrepreneurial self-efficacy according to gender and field of study, with students enrolled in a technical field and men in general scoring higher. Mediation-moderation analysis showed that creative self-efficacy mediated the relationship between gender and entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and also that the field of study buffered the effect of gender on entrepreneurial self-efficacy.

Implications & Recommendations: The results of this study showed that entrepreneurial self-efficacy is predicted by creative self-efficacy and leadership self-efficacy, and hence both these variables should be addressed by training initiatives aimed at promoting entrepreneurship among undergraduates, particularly among young women. Moreover, our results highlighted the importance of taking into consideration individuals’ educational backgrounds when analysing students’ entrepreneurial self-efficacy.

Contribution & Value Added: This research contributes to the literature on entrepreneurship by identifying factors that influence the entrepreneurial self-efficacy of university students. The findings highlight the importance of considering creative self-efficacy when analysing students’ entrepreneurial development. Furthermore, we show that creative self-efficacy has a mediating effect on the association between gender and entrepreneurial self-efficacy, and also that this relationship is moderated by students’ fields of study. Overall, these results suggest that reinforcing the creative self-efficacy of women could help to close the gender gap in entrepreneurial self-efficacy. It might also be useful to design specific training initiatives for undergraduates enrolled in social sciences, the aim of which would be to foster an entrepreneurial culture and encourage them to recognize their potential role as entrepreneurs.

       

Keywords

gender; entrepreneurship; self-efficacy; leadership; creativity

Ahl, H. (2006). Why research on women entrepreneurs needs new directions. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 30(5), 595-621. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-6520.2006.00138.x

Alsos, G.A., Ljunggren, E., & Hytti, U. (2013). Gender and innovation: State of the art and a research agenda. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 5(3), 236-256. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-06-2013-0049

Alvarez-Huerta, P., Larrea, I., Muela, A., & Vitoria, J.R. (2019). Self-efficacy in first-year university students: a descriptive study. 5th International Conference on Higher Education Advances (HEAd’19). http://dx.doi.org/10.4995/HEAd19.2019.9226

Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. W.H. Freeman and Company.

Barton, M., Schaefer, R., & Canavati, S. (2018). To be or not to be a social entrepreneur: Motivational drivers amongst American business students. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 61, 9-35. https://doi.org/10.15678/EBER.2018.060101

Bobbio, A., & Manganelli, A.M. (2009). Leadership Self-Efficacy Scale: A new multidimensional instrument. TPM-Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 16(1), 3-24. https://doi.org/10.4473/TPM.16.1.1

Borghans, L., Duckworth, A.L., Heckman, J.J., & Ter Weel, B. (2008). The economics and psychology of personality traits. Journal of Human Resources, 43(4), 972-1059. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00019387

Bowman, N.A., Miller, A., Woosley, S., Maxwell, N.P., & Kolze, M.J. (2019). Understanding the link between noncognitive attributes and college retention. Research in Higher Education, 60(2), 135-152. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-018-9508-0

Carlsson, B., Braunerhjelm, P., McKelvey, M., Olofsson, C., Persson, L., & Ylinenpää, H. (2013). The evolving domain of entrepreneurship research. Small Business Economics, 41(4), 913-930. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-013-9503

Chen, C.C., Greene, P.G., & Crick, A. (1998). Does entrepreneurial self-Efficacy distinguish entrepreneurs from managers?. Journal of Business Venturing, 13, 295-316. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(97)00029-3

Coleman, S., & Kariv, D. (2014). Deconstructing entrepreneurial self-efficacy: A gendered perspective on the impact of ESE and community entrepreneurial culture on the financial strategies and performance of new firms. Venture Capital, 16(2), 157-181. https://doi.org/10.1080/13691066.2013.863063

Dempsey, D., & Jennings, J. (2014). Gender and entrepreneurial self-efficacy: A learning perspective. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 6(1), 28-49. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-02-2013-0013

Díaz-García, M.C., & Jiménez-Moreno, J. (2010). Entrepreneurial intention: The role of gender. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 6(3), 261-283. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-008-0103-2

Dwyer, L.P. (2019). Leadership self-efficacy: Review and leader development implications. Journal of Management Development, 38(8), 637-650. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMD-03-2019-0073

Edwards-Schachter, M., García-Granero, A., Sánchez-Barrioluengo, M., Quesada-Pineda, H., & Amara, N. (2015). Disentangling competences: Interrelationships in creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 16, 27-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2014.11.006

European Union. (2019). Key competences for lifelong learning. Publications Office of the European Union. https://doi.org/10.2766/291008

Faul, F., Erdfelder, E., Lang, A.-G., & Buchner, A. (2007). G*Power 3: A flexible statistical power analysis program for the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences. Behavior Research Methods, 39(2), 175-191. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03193146

Fuller, B.B., Liu, Y., Bajaba, S., Marler, L.E., & Pratt, J. (2018). Examining how the personality, self-efficacy, and anticipatory cognitions of potential entrepreneurs shape their entrepreneurial intentions. Personality and Individual Differences, 125, 120-125. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2018.01.005

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2019). 2018/19 Global Report. Retrieved from https://www.gemconsortium.org/report on November 20, 2022.

Giones, F., Brem, A., Pollack, J.M., Michaelis, T.L., Klyver, K., & Brinckmann, J. (2020). Revising entrepreneurial action in response to exogenous shocks: Considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 14, e00186. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbvi.2020.e00186

Gutman, L., & Schoon, I. (2013). The impact of non-cognitive skills on outcomes for young people. A literature review. Education Endowment Foundation.

Halberstadt, J., Timm, J., Kraus, S., & Gundolf, K. (2019). Skills and knowledge management in higher education: How service learning can contribute to social entrepreneurial competence development. Journal of Knowledge Management, 23(10), 1925-1948. https://doi.org/10.1108/JKM-12-2018-0744

Henry, C., Foss, L., & Ahl, H. (2016). Gender and entrepreneurship research: A review of methodological approaches. International Small Business Journal, 34(3), 217-241. https://doi.org/10.1177/0266242614549779

Higgins, D., Refai, D., & Keita, D. (2018). Focus point: The need for alternative insight into the entrepreneurial education paradigm. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 31(3), 225-242. https://doi.org/10.1080/08276331.2018.1466851

Hmieleski, K.M., & Corbett, A.C. (2007). The contrasting interaction effects of improvisational behavior with entrepreneurial self-efficacy on new venture performance and entrepreneur work satisfaction. Journal of Business Venturing, 23(4), 482-496. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2007.04.002

Huszczo, G., & Endres, M.L. (2017). Gender differences in the importance of personality traits in predicting leadership self-efficacy. International Journal of Training and Development, 21(4), 304-317. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijtd.12113

Ip, C.Y., Liang, C., Wu, S.C., Law, K.M.Y., & Liu, H.C. (2018). Enhancing social entrepreneurial intentions through entrepreneurial creativity: A comparative study between Taiwan and Hong Kong. Creativity Research Journal, 30(2), 132-142. https://doi.org/10.1080/10400419.2018.1446744

Karwowski, M. (2011). It doesn’t hurt to ask... but sometimes it hurts to believe: Polish students’ creative self-efficacy and its predictors. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 5(2), 154-164. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021427

Karwowski, M., Lebuda, I., & Wisniewska, E. (2018). Measuring creative self-efficacy and creative personal identity. The International Journal of Creativity and Problem Solving, 28(1), 45-57.

Kickul J., Wilson, F., Marlino, D., & Barbosa, S. D. (2008). Are misalignments of perceptions and self-efficacy causing gender gaps in entrepreneurial intentions among our nation’s teens?. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 15(2), 321-335. https://doi.org/10.1108/14626000810871709

Ko, S., & Butler, J.E. (2007). Creativity: A key link to entrepreneurial behavior. Business Horizons, 50(5), 365-372. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2007.03.002

Lanero, A., Vázquez, J.L., & Aza, C.L. (2016). Social cognitive determinants of entrepreneurial career choice in university students. International Small Business Journal: Researching Entrepreneurship, 34(8), 1053-1075. https://doi.org/10.1177/0266242615612882

Lans, T., Blok, V., & Wesselink, R. (2014). Learning apart and together: Towards an integrated competence framework for sustainable entrepreneurship in higher education. Journal of Cleaner Production, 62, 37-47. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.03.036

Lent, R.W., & Brown, S.D. (2019). Social cognitive career theory at 25: Empirical status of the interest, choice, and performance models. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 115. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2019.06.004

Mathisen, G.E., & Bronnick, K.S. (2009). Creative self-efficacy: An intervention study. International Journal of Educational Research, 48(1), 21-29. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2009.02.009

Mauer, R., Neergaard, H., & Linstad, A.K. (2017). Self-Efficacy: Conditioning the Entrepreneurial Mindset. In Revisiting the Entrepreneurial Mind, 293-317. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0443-0

McCormick, M.J. (2001). Self-efficacy and leadership effectiveness: Applying social cognitive theory to leadership. Journal of Leadership Studies, 8(1), 22-33. https://doi.org/10.1177%2F107179190100800102

McCormick, M.J., Tanguma, J., & López-Forment, A.S. (2002). Extending self-efficacy theory to leadership: A review and empirical test. Journal of Leadership Education, 1(2), 34-49. https://doi.org/10.12806/V1/I2/TF1

Mueller, S.L., & Conway Dato-on, M. (2013). A cross cultural study of gender-role orientation and entrepreneurial self-efficacy. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 9(1), 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-011-0187-y

Mueller, S.L., & Conway Dato-On, M. (2008). Gender-role orientation as a determinant of entrepreneurial self-efficacy. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 13(1), 3-20. https://doi.org/10.1142/S108494670800082X

Muthén, L.K., Muthén, B., & Asparouhov, T. (2016). Regression and mediation analysis using Mplus. Muthén and Muthén.

Nabi, G., Walmsley, A., & Holden, R. (2015). Pushed or pulled? Exploring the factors underpinning graduate start-ups and non-start-ups. Journal of Education and Work, 28(5), 481-506. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2013.805189

Naz, S., Li, C., Zaman, U., & Rafiq, M. (2020). Linking proactive personality and entrepreneurial intentions: A serial mediation model involving broader and specific self-efficacy. Journal of Open Innovation: Technology, Market, and Complexity, 6(4), 1-21. https://doi.org/10.3390/joitmc6040166

Newman, A., Obschonka, M., Schwarz, S., Cohen, M., & Nielsen, I. (2019). Entrepreneurial self-efficacy: A systematic review of the literature on its antecedents and outcomes, and an agenda for future research. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 110, 403-419. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2018.05.012

Nowiński, W., Haddoud, M.Y., Lančarič, D., Egerová, D., & Czeglédi, C. (2019). The impact of entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial self-efficacy and gender on entrepreneurial intentions of university students in the Visegrad countries. Studies in Higher Education, 44(2), 361-379. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2017.1365359

Obschonka, M., Hakkarainen, K., Lonka, K., & Salmela-Aro, K. (2017). Entrepreneurship as a twenty-first century skill: Entrepreneurial alertness and intention in the transition to adulthood. Small Business Economics, 48(3), 487-501. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11187-016-9798-6

Obschonka, M., Silbereisen, R.K., Schmitt-Rodermund, E., & Stuetzer, M. (2011). Nascent entrepreneurship and the developing individual: Early entrepreneurial competence in adolescence and venture creation success during the career. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 79(1), 121-133. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2010.12.005

OECD. (2017). Social and emotional skills: Well-being, connectedness and success. http://www.oecd.org/education/school/UPDATED Social and Emotional Skills – Well-being, connectedness and success.pdf (website).pdf

OECD. (2019a). The future of work. OECD Employment Outlook 2019. https://doi.org/10.1787/2e9fb244-nl

OECD. (2019b). Transformative competencies for 2030. www.oecd.org/education/2030-project

OECD/European Union. (2019). The missing entrepreneurs 2019: Policies for inclusive entrepreneurship. OECD Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264188167-en

Paglis, L.L., & Green, S.G. (2002). Leadership self-efficacy and managers’ motivation for leading change. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 23(2), 215-235. https://doi.org/10.1002/job.137

Peixoto, F., & Almeida, L.S. (2010). Self-concept, self-esteem and academic achievement: Strategies for maintaining self-esteem in students experiencing academic failure. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 25(2), 157-175. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10212-010-0011-z

Pilegaard, M., Moroz, P.W., & Neergaard, H. (2010). An auto-ethnographic perspective on academic entrepreneursnip: Implications for research in the social sciences and humanities. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(1), 46-61. https://doi.org/10.5465/amp.24.1.46

Rafiei, N., Yarmohammadian, M.H., & Keshtiaray, N. (2019). Defective cycle of entrepreneurship education in humanities in higher education. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 22(2), 1-16.

Redmond, P., Gutke, H., Galligan, L., Howard, A., & Newman, T. (2017). Becoming a female leader in higher education: Investigations from a regional university. Gender and Education, 29(3), 332-351. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540253.2016.1156063

Robbins, T.L., & Kegley, K. (2010). Playing with Thinkertoys to build creative abilities through online instruction. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 5(1), 40-48. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tsc.2009.07.001

Sax, L.J., & Newhouse, K.N.S. (2019). Disciplinary field specificity and variation in the STEM gender gap. New Directions for Institutional Research, 179, 45-71. https://doi.org/10.1002/ir.20275

Schediwy, L., Loots, E., & Bhansing, P. (2018). With their feet on the ground: a quantitative study of music students’ attitudes towards entrepreneurship education. Journal of Education and Work, 31(7-8), 611-627. https://doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2018.1562160

Sheppard, L.D. (2018). Gender differences in leadership aspirations and job and life attribute preferences among U.S. undergraduate students. Sex Roles, 79(9-10), 565-577. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-017-0890-4

Shin, Y., & Eom, C. (2014). Team proactivity as a linking mechanism between team creative efficacy, transformational leadership, and risk-taking norms and team creative performance. Journal of Creative Behavior, 48(2), 89-114. https://doi.org/10.1002/jocb.42

Singer, M. (1991). The relationship between employee sex, length of service and leadership aspirations: A study from valence, self-efficacy and attribution perspectives. Applied Psychology, 40(4), 417-436. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-0597.1991.tb01001.x

Sorgner, A. (2015). Non-cognitive skills, occupational choices, and entrepreneurship: An empirical analysis of entrepreneurs’ career choices. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 25(2), 208-230. https://doi.org/10.1504/IJESB.2015.069286

Tantawy, M., Herbert, K., McNally, J.J., Mengel, T., Piperopoulos, P., & Foord, D. (2021). Bringing creativity back to entrepreneurship education: Creative self-efficacy, creative process engagement, and entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing Insights, 15. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbvi.2021.e00239

Teixeira, A.A.C., & Forte, R.P. (2017). Prior education and entrepreneurial intentions: the differential impact of a wide range of fields of study. Review of Managerial Science, 11(2), 353-394. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11846-015-0188-2

Tellhed, U., Bäckström, M., & Björklund, F. (2017). Will I fit in and do well? The importance of social belongingness and self-efficacy for explaining gender differences in interest in STEM and HEED majors. Sex Roles, 77(1-2), 86-96. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-016-0694-y

Tierney, P., & Farmer, S.M. (2002). Self-efficacy: Its potential antecedents and relationship to creative performance. Academy of Management Journal, 45(6), 1137-1148. https://doi.org/10.5465/3069429

Tsang, T.L. (2019). A quantitative analysis examining differences between US humanities and STEM students’ propensity toward innovation. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 43(2), 149-165. https://doi.org/10.1080/0309877X.2017.1357069

Vázquez-Burgete, J.L., Lanero, A., & Raisiene, A.G. (2012). Entrepreneurship education in humanities and social sciences. Are students qualified to start a business?. Business: Theory and Practice, 13(1), 27-35. https://doi.org/10.3846/btp.2012.03

Wardana, L.W., Narmaditya, B.S., Wibowo, A., Mahendra, A.M., Wibowo, N.A., Harwida, G., & Rohman, A.N. (2020). The impact of entrepreneurship education and students’ entrepreneurial mindset: The mediating role of attitude and self-efficacy. Heliyon, 6(9), e04922. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04922

Wegemer, C.M., & Eccles, J.S. (2019). Gendered STEM career choices: Altruistic values, beliefs, and identity. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 1.110, 28-42. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2018.10.020

Wieland, A.M., Kemmelmeier, M., Gupta, V.K., & McKelvey, W. (2019). Gendered cognitions: A socio-cognitive model of how gender affects entrepreneurial preferences. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 31(3-4), 178-197. https://doi.org/10.1080/08985626.2018.1551787

Wilson, F., Kickul, J., Marlino, D., Barbosa, S.D., & Griffiths, M.D. (2009). An analysis of the role of gender and self-efficacy in developing female entrepreneurial interest and behavior. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 14(2), 105-119. https://doi.org/10.1142/S1084946709001247

Zhang, X., & Zhou, J. (2014). Empowering leadership, uncertainty avoidance, trust, and employee creativity: Interaction effects and a mediating mechanism. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 124(2), 150-164. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.obhdp.2014.02.002

Zhang, Z., & Arvey, R.D. (2009). Rule breaking in adolescence and entrepreneurial status: An empirical investigation. Journal of Business Venturing, 24(5), 436-447. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2008.04.009

Zhao, H., Hills, G.E., & Seibert, S.E. (2005). The mediating role of self-efficacy in the development of entrepreneurial intention. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90( 6), 1265-1272. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.90.6.1265

Zhou, Q., Hirst, G., & Shipton, H. (2012). Promoting creativity at work: The role of problem-solving demand. Applied Psychology, 61(1), 56-80. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-0597.2011.00455.


Published : 2022-12-30


Alvarez-HuertaP., MuelaA., & LarreaI. (2022). Entrepreneurial self-efficacy among first-year undergraduates: Gender, creative self-efficacy, leadership self-efficacy, and field of study. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 10(4), 73-89. https://doi.org/10.15678/EBER.2022.100405

Paula Alvarez-Huerta  palvarez@mondragon.edu
Mondragon Unibertsitatea  Spain
http://orcid.org/0000-0002-6179-7899

Researcher at Mondragon University. Her Ph.D. dealt with higher education students' perceptions towards innovation. Her research interests include the topics of entrepreneurial education and the construction of the university student social identity.


Alexander Muela 
University of the Basque Country  Spain
http://orcid.org/0000-0001-9854-9410

Professor at the  University of the Basque Country. His areas of research interest include social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial education, and organizational psychology.


Inaki Larrea 
Mondragon Unibertsitatea  Spain
https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8190-5001

Professor at Mondragon University. He has lead different research projects related to educational quality and its impact on various educational stages. He is currently involved in a major research project aimed at the analysis of the personal and professional profiles of university students.






Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

  1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a CC BY-ND licence that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
  2. Authors are asked to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

 Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) only the final version of the article, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access). We advise using any of the following research society portals: