Original Research

The relationship between entrepreneurial competencies and the recurring entrepreneurial intention and action of existing entrepreneurs

Melodi Botha, Tom J. Carruthers, Marc W. Venter
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 11, No 1 | a191 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v11i1.191 | © 2019 Melodi Botha, Tom J. Carruthers, Marc W. Venter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 09 May 2018 | Published: 23 May 2019

About the author(s)

Melodi Botha, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Tom J. Carruthers, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Marc W. Venter, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Many scholars focus their research efforts on the entrepreneurial intention of students and non-entrepreneurs, yet most of these scholars found empirical evidence that intention does not necessarily lead these individuals to start businesses (entrepreneurial action). Possible explanations for this could be that: (1) previous studies focused on the wrong samples; (2) they measured entrepreneurial intention as a single construct; and (3) there is a missing link between intention and action.

Aim: To address these gaps, we determine the relationship between recurring entrepreneurial intention attitudes and action as well as entrepreneurial intention behaviours and action of 154 existing entrepreneurs in South Africa. By focusing on a sample of existing entrepreneurs who have already started a business, we shed light on the set of entrepreneurial competencies as a missing link between intention and action. This article is of academic importance as it focuses on the recurring process that entrepreneurs follow instead of the initial intention that is often overemphasised in literature. As far as could be determined, no other studies have investigated the relationships between entrepreneurial competencies, recurring entrepreneurial intention attitudes, recurring entrepreneurial intention behaviours and recurring entrepreneurial action.

Setting: The research was conducted on 154 existing entrepreneurs in South Africa.

Methods: A self-administered survey was used and the findings indicate that entrepreneurial competencies have a positive relationship with recurring entrepreneurial action, recurring entrepreneurial intention behaviours and recurring entrepreneurial intention attitudes.

Results: There was no significant relationship between entrepreneurial action and recurring entrepreneurial intention behaviours. This is an unexpected finding as a positive relationship was expected for a sample that had prior entrepreneurial experience and already engaged in prior behaviours. However, this study contributes to the entrepreneurial intention–action literature by suggesting that existing entrepreneurs with recurring intention should also be measured in these relationships, in comparison to other research that mainly focused on the intentions of students and non-entrepreneurs.

Conclusion: The practical contribution of this article is in the identification of specific entrepreneurial competencies, such as creative problem-solving, opportunity recognition and value creation that existing entrepreneurs relied on the most when engaging in entrepreneurial action. Potential, nascent, existing and serial entrepreneurs could focus on these competencies if they wish to engage in entrepreneurial action as well as recurring entrepreneurship.


Keywords

Entrepreneurial competencies; recurring entrepreneurial intention behaviours; recurring entrepreneurial intention attitudes; recurring entrepreneurial action; survey; South Africa.

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