Interest in entrepreneurship is growing in many countries due to the close link between new venture creation and economic development (Reynolds, Bygrave, Autio, Cox and Hay, 2002). From a psychological standpoint, the entrepreneurship research resorts to psychosocial variables, such as motivations, personality traits, attitudes, abilities, and others, to account for the entrepreneurial behavior. Psychological literature has shown that intentions are the best predictor of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991). Venture creation emerges over time and involves a considerable planning, making entrepreneurship a type of planned behavior (Bird, 1988; Katz and Gartner, 1988; Krueger, Reilly and Carsrud, 2000) for which intention models are ideally suited.
In this study the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991) is the framework to explain the entrepreneurial intention. A sample of 2195 Spanish students (57.9% female), with an average age of 22 years and currently facing important career decisions, filled out a survey with different scales tapping intentions, attitudes, social norms and self-efficacy.
Relationships between attitudes, social norms, self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intention were examined through SEM (Structural Equation Modeling). Although, only 13.5% of the students showed more intention to work as self-employees than as employees, attitudes, subjective norms and self-efficacy explained about 25% of the variance of entrepreneurial intention, thus confirming the validity of the proposed model.