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Working paper

Is individual social capital linked to the implementation of entrepreneurial intentions?

  The present study reveals the role of individual social capital in the implementation of a person’s intention to start their own business and reveals how individual social capital contributes to this action. The basic premise of our study is that individual social capital facilitates people’s implementation intention to start their own business. The sample consists of a group of respondents (N=269) who intended to start their own business (intenders) and another group (non-intenders) who did not intend to (N=270). We combined the reasoned action approach (Fishbein & Aizen, 2010) with the individual social capital approach (Van Der Gaag & Snijders, 2004) to study intention and implementation. The study showed that the intenders had more resources provided by formal (organizations and associations) and informal networks and relationships. These resources had a direct and indirect impact (through the perceived behavioral control) on their intention to start their own business. We concluded, that individual social capital can facilitate the implementation of entrepreneurial intention. A year later, we performed panel research and carried out another study by re-interviewing respondents who had expressed their intention to start their own business in the next 2 years. It was found that respondents who opened a business only a year later had higher social capital than those who did not. To explain the psychological mechanism underling the relation between intention and implementation, we use the term “the buffering effect of social support”, which means that people who feel potential support are less susceptible to stressful situations and circumstances than people who do not feel potential support. Key words: individual social capital, entrepreneurial intention, theory of planned behavior, the buffering effect of social support, perceived behavioral control. JEL Classification: Z13.