Assessing entrepreneurial career intentions of family and consumer sciences students in higher education: a model testing approach

Mhango, Mary
Major Professor
Linda S. Niehm
Committee Member
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Textiles and Clothing

The study explains college students' entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions as they prepare for careers in the field of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS). It examined relationships between leadership behavior, entrepreneurial intensity, and attitudes as variables explaining and predicting entrepreneurial intentions of FCS students in early stages of their college education. The fundamental assumption was that how FCS students reach program of study and career decisions is inconclusive. A review of relevant theoretical perspectives of entrepreneurial intentions and antecedents guided the development of hypotheses for the study. Entrepreneurial intentions were hypothesized to be the function of FCS students' perceptions of leadership behavior, entrepreneurial intensity, and attitude toward entrepreneurship;A Web-based survey was developed and administered to 233 FCS undergraduate students, enrolled in FCS apparel and textiles classes at three public universities in the Midwestern U.S. Structural equation modeling (SEM) using confirmatory factor analysis and path analysis with LISREL 8.50 were employed to test the model;Results of this study confirm prior findings that attitudes predict intentions (Ajzen, 1987; Krueger et al., 2000; Shapero, 1982). This study substantiates that perceived desirability, perceived feasibility, and propensity to act explain a significant portion of entrepreneurial intentions for FCS students in the early stages of their university education. Findings indicate that entrepreneurial intensity and leadership behavior provide additional insight concerning why FCS students intend to study and pursue business ownership as a career path;This study represents an initial test of an entrepreneurial intentions model that includes entrepreneurial intensity and leadership behavior for FCS students. It provides a plausible representation of the entrepreneurial intentions theory as conceptualized and serves as the basis for final conclusions. Implications and future research ideas are suggested. Further testing of the theory is necessary for generalization of results beyond this study.