Purpose: The purpose of this research is to analyze whether self-efficacy and entrepreneurial characteristics (e.g., risk-taking, planning, opportunity recognition, persistence, sociability, innovation, and leadership) differ in the explanation of entrepreneurial intention models, having entrepreneurial education as a moderator of relationships.
Originality/value: This paper offers an in-depth perspective on which behavioral characteristics fit best into entrepreneurial intention models and helps to fill a theoretical and practical gap on the need for university education to increase its positive impact on human capital, particularly on students’ professional skills, demonstrating which characteristics are most impacted by entrepreneurial education.
Design/methodology/approach: Quantitative methodology was employed, and data were analyzed with structural equation modeling. The sample consisted of 1,004 Brazilian university students from public and private universities. The research was conducted in a non-probabilistic way and with a convenience sample. In order to address the research hypothesis and objectives, all constructs were adapted from relevant literature on entrepreneurship.
Findings: The results indicate it seems more appropriate to use a set of entrepreneurial characteristics when investigating an entrepreneurial intention model if you are looking for a higher explanatory factor and a more robust model; also, entrepreneurial characteristics represent a more sensitive model, which brings accurate assessments on factors that affect entrepreneurial intention. With these findings, entrepreneurial education can be planned to shape certain characteristics through actions in the university environment, making it possible to measure the impact of education on entrepreneurial intention.
Keywords: self-efficacy; entrepreneurial characteristics; entrepreneurial intention; entrepreneurial education; Brazil