Entrepreneurial intentions and start-ups: Are women or men more likely to enact their intentions?

Rachel S. Shinnar, Dan K. Hsu, Benjamin C. Powell, Haibo Zhou

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


While empirical data clearly show that women are underrepresented among entrepreneurs, the causes of this gap are entirely not clear. This article explores one potential cause: that women might be less likely to act on their entrepreneurial intentions. Building on Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour, we propose that intentions predict start-up behaviours, that is, that there is an intention–behaviour link. We then apply social role theory to propose that the intention–behaviour link is moderated by sex. Analysing data drawn from a sample of US-based management students during their first session in an introductory entrepreneurship course, at the end of the course, on their graduation and at a point up to three years after graduation, we find support for the intention–behaviour link and moderation of this link by sex. We identify additional contributions from our study and implications of our findings for addressing the sex gap in entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-80
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • entrepreneurial behaviour
  • entrepreneurial intentions
  • gender stereotype
  • sex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management


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