Social Entrepreneurial Intention among Business Undergraduates: An Emerging Economy Perspective

Ayob Noorseha(1*)

(1) Bank Rakyat School of Business and Entrepreneurship, Universiti Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia
(*) Corresponding Author


Social entrepreneurs are viewed as having the abilities to combat social and economic problems in which government, businesses, and non-profits may not be able to solve the problems alone. Consequently, with the collaboration among these sectors, more social enterprises can be established to create social values and development in a nation, specifically among the emerging economies. Therefore, it is timely to investigate what motivates undergraduates to develop social entrepreneurial intention. Drawing from the entrepreneurial models of Shapero and Sokol (1982) and Kruger and Brazeal (1994), this study aims to examine the social entrepreneurial intention among undergraduates from the perspective of an emerging economy. The proposed conceptual model differs from the existing entrepreneurial intention studies by adding the concepts of empathy and social entrepreneurship exposure as the antecedents to perceived desirability and perceived feasibility of social enterprising start-up, which in turn link to social entrepreneurial intention. Using the quota sampling technique, data were collected from 257 business and economics undergraduates from both public and private higher education institutions in Malaysia. The survey instrument was adapted from prior related studies, for instance, Davis (1983) for empathy; Shapero and Sokol (1982) for social entrepreneurship exposure; Krueger (1993) for perceived desirability and perceived feasibility; and Chen et al. (1998) for social entrepreneurial intention. Partial least squares path modelling was used to analyze the hypothesized relationships in the proposed conceptual framework. It is hoped that the findings of this study will shed light on the existing literature of social entrepreneurship, specifically the social entrepreneurial intention studies from the emerging economies perspective.    

Full Text:



Ajzen, I. 1991. The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes 50: 179-211.

Bandura, A., C. Barbaranelli, G. V. Caprara, and C. Pastorelli. 2001. Self-efficacy beliefs as shapers of children’s aspirations and career trajectories. Child Development 72 (1): 187-206.

Baron, R. M., and D. A. Kenny. 1986. The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 51: 1173–1182.

Basu, A., and M. Virick. 2008. Assessing entrepreneurial intentions amongst students: A Comparative study. Paper presented at the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance Conference.

Bernama. 2010. Varsities Urged to Pioneer Social Entrepreneurship. Retrieved January 2, 2013, from

Bird, B. 1988. Implementing entrepreneurial ideas: The case for intention. Academy of Management Review 13 (3): 442-453.

Brock, D. D., and S. Steiner. 2009. Social Entrepreneurship Education: Is It Achieving the Desired Aims? Retrieved from

Brouard, F., and S. Larivet. 2010. Social Entrepreneurs: Definitions and Boundaries. ANSER-ARES 2010 Conference, Association for Nonprofit and Social Economic Research (ANSER)/Association de recherche sur les organismes sans but lucratif et l’économie sociale (ARES), Montréal, Canada, June 2-4.

Carr, J. C., and J. M. Sequeira. 2007. Prior family business exposure as intergenerational influence and entrepreneurial intent: A theory of planned behavior approach. Journal of Business Research 60: 1090-1098.

Chen, C., R. Green, and A. Crick. 1998. The self-efficacy expectations and occupational

preferences of females and males. Journal of Business Venturing 13 (4): 295-316.

Davis, M. H. 1983. Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 44: 113- 126.

Decety, J., and P. L. Jackson. 2004. The functional architecture of human empathy. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews 3 (2): 71-100.

Dorado, S. 2006. Social entrepreneurial ventures: Different values so different process of creations, no? Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship 11: 319-343.

Fishbein, M. A., and I. Ajzen. 1975. Belief, Attitude, Intention and Behavior: An Introduction to Theory and Research. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley.

Ghulam, N., H. Rick, and W. Andreas. 2010. Entrepreneurial intentions among students: Towards a refocused research agenda. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 17 (4): 537-551.

Ismail, M., S. A. Khalid, M. Othman, K. Jusoff, N. A. Rahman, K. M. Kassim, and R. S. Zain. 2009. Entrepreneurial intention among Malaysian undergraduates. International Journal of Business and Management 4 (10): 54-60.

Keat, O. Y., C. Selvarajah, and D. Meyer. 2011. Inclination towards entrepreneurship among university students: An empirical study of Malaysian university students. International Journal of Business and Social Science 2 (4): 206-220.

Krueger, N. F., and D. V. Brazeal. 1994. Entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 18 (3): 91-104.

Krueger, N. F. 1993. The impact of prior entrepreneurial exposure on perceptions of new venture feasibility and desirability. Retrieved January 5, 2013, from;col1

Krueger, N. F., M. D. Reilly, and A. L. Carsrud. 2000. Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing 15: 411-432.

Kuehn, K. W. 2008. Entrepreneurial intentions research: Implications for entrepreneurship education. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education 11: 87-99.

Mair, J., and E. Noboa. 2003. Social entrepreneurship: How intentions to create a social enterprise get formed. Working Paper 521. IESE Business School-University of Navarra: Barcelona.

McDonald, N. M., and D. S. Messinger. 2010. The Development of Empathy: How, When, and Why. Department of Psychology, University of Miami: USA. Retrieved January 8, 2013, from

Mitchell, R., L. Busenitz, T. Lant, P. McDougall, F. Morse, and J. Smith. 2002. Toward a theory of entrepreneurial cognition. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 26: 93-104.

Nabi, G., R. Holden, and A. Walmsley. 2010. Entrepreneurial intentions among students: Towards a re-focused research agenda. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development 17 (4): 537-551.

Ooi, Y., K., S. Christopher, and M. Denny. 2011. Inclination towards entrepreneurship among university students: An empirical study of Malaysian university students. International Journal of Business and Social Science 2 (4): 206-220.

Pearce, J., and J. P. Doh. 2005. The high impact of collaborative social initiatives. MIT Sloan Management Review 46: 329-339.

Peterman, N. E., and J. Kennedy. 2003. Enterprise education: Influencing students’ perceptions of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 28 (2): 129-144.

Prabhu, G. N. 1999. Social entrepreneurial leadership. Career Development International 4 (3): 140-145.

Prieto, L. C. 2010. The influence of proactive personality on social entrepreneurial intentions among African American and Hispanic undergraduate students: The moderating role of hope. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College.

Sabrie, M. S. 2010. Entrepreneurship Survey among Malaysian Youths. Retrieved December 24, 2012, from

Scheiber, L. 2012. Social entrepreneurs in Rio de Janeiro: Learning experiences and social capital. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. Retrieved November 12, 2012 from

Shaker, A. Z., G. Eric, O. N. Donald and M. S. Joel. 2009. A typology of social entrepreneurs: Motives, search processes and ethical challenges. Journal of Business Venturing 24 (5): 519-532.

Shapero, A., and L. Sokol. 1982. The social dimensions of entrepreneurship. In C. Kent, D. Sexton and K. Vesper (Eds.), Encyclopaedia of Entrepreneurship: 72-90.

Shook, C. L., R. L. Priem, and J. E. McGee. 2003. Venture creation and the enterprising individual: A review and synthesis. Journal of Management 29 (3): 379-399.

Singh, I., T. Prasad, and R. D. Raut. 2012. Entrepreneurial intent – A review of literature. Proceedings of the Ninth AIMS International Conference on Management. Maharashtra, India.

Smith, A. 2006. Cognitive empathy and emotional empathy in human behavior and evolution. The Psychological Record 56: 3-21.

Sobel, M. E. 1982. A symptotic confidence intervals for indirect effects in structural equation models. In S. Leinhart (Ed.), Sociological Methodology: 290-312. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Spear, R. 2006. Social entrepreneurship: A different model? International Journal of Social Economics 33 (5/6): 399-410.

Stueber, K. 2008. Empathy. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall ed.). Retrieved from

Tenth Malaysia Plan. 2010. Tenth Malaysia Plan 2011-2015. Speech presented by the Prime Minister introducing the motion to table the Tenth Malaysia Plan at the Dewan Rakyat, Malaysia. Retrieved December 3, 2012, from:

Thompson, E. R. 2009. Individual entrepreneurial intent: Construct clarification and development of an internationally reliable metric. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice 33 (3): 669-94.

Tukamushaba, E. K., L. Orobia, and B. P. George. 2011. Development of a conceptual model to understand international social entrepreneurship and its application in the Ugandan context. Journal of International Entrepreneurship 9: 282-298.

Zahariah, M. Z., M. A. Amalina, and K. G. Erlane. 2010. Entrepreneurship intention among Malaysian business students. Canadian Social Science 6 (3): 34-44.

Zajonc, R. B. 1968. Attitudinal effects of mere exposure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 9 (2): 1-27.


Article Metrics

Abstract views : 1252 | views : 1242


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Gadjah Mada International Journal of Business

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