Families are a source of influence on career choices, personal development, goal orientation, personality, and motivation to become entrepreneurial (Chlosta, et al, 2012). Socialization in a family business contributes toward the formation of values, attitudes toward business ownership, perceived control, credibility, desirability and consequently entrepreneurial intentions. The question remains, which factors influence career intentions among children from business families to follow in their parents’ example and become entrepreneurs or make other choices?

This study draws on insights from social cognitive theory. Roles impact both the perceived desirability and feasibility of the role for an individual. An entrepreneurial role shapes the outcome expectations and self-efficacy of the individual (Van Auken, et al, 2006), thus influencing intentions and entrepreneurial activity. Moreover, research shows that individuals with an internal locus of control are not strongly influenced by family norms and the effect of entrepreneurial role models tends to be weak for individuals with higher levels of human capital.

This study focuses on mediation of self-efficacy, social capital, attitudes towards starting a business, motivation, and locus of control on the relationships between parental role models and entrepreneurial intention as well as intentions to enter the family firm. The paper draws on data from three countries; Canada, Finland and Turkey as representing different levels of economic development and different institutional and cultural contexts.