My future entrepreneurial self: antecedents of entrepreneurial identity aspiration

Patrick Gregori*, Patrick Holzmann, Erich J. Schwarz

*Corresponding author for this work

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Purpose: Entrepreneurial identity aspiration refers to the desire to occupy an entrepreneurial role in the future and is an essential impetus for initially engaging in entrepreneurial activities. Building on identity theory, the article investigates the effects of personal attitudes, experiences and inclination towards specific practices on the strength of entrepreneurial identity aspiration. Design/methodology/approach: This article applies multiple linear regression analysis to test the developed hypotheses on an original sample of 127 vocational college students in Austria. Findings: Results show that risk-taking propensity, proactiveness, entrepreneurial self-efficacy and competitiveness drive entrepreneurial identity aspiration. The effects of innovativeness and need for achievement motivation are nonsignificant. Data further suggest that entrepreneurial identity aspiration is related to gender, while entrepreneurial exposure and previous entrepreneurship education show no or adverse effects. Practical implications: Based on our findings, the authors argue that education should focus on teaching and discussing the identified attitudes and inclinations to foster the formation of entrepreneurial identities. Doing so increases students' aspirations and provides them with the necessary cognitive underpinnings for subsequent entrepreneurial action. The article suggests action-based teaching to achieve this goal. Originality/value: This article is the first to investigate antecedents of entrepreneurial identity aspiration by connecting it to essential concepts of entrepreneurship research. The authors extend previous work on entrepreneurial identity and add to the theoretical approaches for research in entrepreneurship education. Furthermore, the article points out central aspects that should receive additional attention in educational settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1175-1194
Number of pages20
JournalEducation and Training
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Patrick Gregori, Patrick Holzmann and Erich J. Schwarz.


  • Competitiveness
  • Entrepreneurial identity aspiration
  • Entrepreneurial orientation
  • Entrepreneurial self-efficacy
  • Need for achievement
  • Role identity

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