Abstract

Using insights derived from Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), researchers have shown that the two main factors affecting entrepreneurial intentions are perceived desirability and perceived feasibility (Krueger et al., 2000). The impact of a third factor – social environment – has received mixed evidence (Kolvereid and Isakson, 2006). To address this, we expand the social environment component using insights from social capital theory. More specifically, we distinguish between strong and weak ties in the social environment and argue that their effect on entrepreneurial intentions is mainly indirect (Miniard and Cohen, 1981). Building further on social capital theory, we note important distinctions in operational measures of the impact of the social environment. On the one hand, we follow the guidelines set out by Ajzen (2006) and measure the cognitive “perceived pressure” social capital of both strong and weak social ties. On the other hand, we follow the structural “available networks” social capital from both bonding and bridging ties. We hypothesize that whereas cognitive social capital will be more important to demonstrate the link to personal desirability, structural social capital demonstrates the link to perceived feasibility (Uphoff, 2000).

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