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Entrepreneurial Potential Scale: evidence on confirmatory factor validity, dimensional structure and predictive effectiveness

Gustavo Henrique Silva de Souza Paulo da Cruz Freire dos Santos Nilton Cesar Lima Nicholas Joseph Tavares da Cruz Álvaro Guillermo Rojas Lezana Jorge Artur Peçanha de Miranda Coelho About the authors

Resumo:

Pesquisas no mundo vêm mostrando que indivíduos empreendedores compartilham características particulares e idiossincráticas em relação ao resto da população, o que têm estimulado estudos específicos sobre a mensuração desse comportamento. Dentre as abordagens de mensuração recentes e de maior relevância para a área do empreendedorismo no Brasil, teve-se o desenvolvimento da “Escala de Potencial Empreendedor”. Apesar disso, alguns parâmetros psicométricos de validação mais rigorosos não foram encontrados na apresentação original deste instrumento e os estudos correlatos ainda não se mostram suficientes. Assim, o objetivo deste artigo é verificar evidências de validade fatorial confirmatória, estrutura dimensional e validade de critério (eficácia preditiva) da Escala de Potencial Empreendedor. Para tanto, foram realizados dois estudos. O estudo 1 (um) contou com a participação de 455 estudantes universitários para a realização da validade de constructo por meio da análise fatorial confirmatória e do escalonamento multidimensional (MDS). Por sua vez, o estudo 2 (dois) contou com a participação de 654 estudantes universitários e 148 empresários para a realização da validade de critério por meio do teste t de Student e do Tamanho do Efeito (d). Os resultados mostram que a Escala de Potencial Empreendedor apresenta um modelo fatorial com boa qualidade de ajuste e altos níveis de precisão, indicando que este é um instrumento que converge confiantemente para a predição do potencial empreendedor.

Palavras-chave:
Potencial empreendedor; Escala; Validação fatorial confirmatória; Validade de critério

Abstract:

Researches worldwide show that entrepreneurs share idiosyncratic characteristics compared with the rest of the population, which have stimulated specific studies on measurement of this behaviour. Among the most relevant and recent measurement approaches to the area of entrepreneurship in Brazil, there was the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. Nevertheless, the original presentation of this instrument failed to find psychometric properties of stricter validation, and the related studies are not yet sufficient. This article aimed to check evidence of confirmatory factor validity, parameters of dimensional structure and criterion validity (predictive efficacy) of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. Two studies were conducted for this purpose. Study 1 (one) included the participation of 455 university students to carry out the construct validity through confirmatory factor analysis and multidimensional scaling (MDS). In turn, study 2 (two) included the participation of 654 college students and 148 entrepreneurs to perform the criterion validity by Student’s t test and effect size (Cohen’s d). Results show that the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale presents a factorial design with good quality adjustment and high levels of precision, indicating that it is a tool which converges reliably to predict the entrepreneurial behaviour.

Keywords:
Entrepreneurial potential; Psychometrics scale; Confirmatory factor validity; Criterion validity

1 Introduction

Studies on entrepreneurship have turned to the central figure of this phenomenon: the entrepreneur. These studies start from the same point of analysis, the measurement of idiosyncratic behaviours usual among entrepreneurs and the convention that the entrepreneurship is not only linked to the opening of business, but to the individual dispositional traits, related to personality, attitudes, beliefs, interests, values, self-concept, capacity and emotional patterns (Rauch & Frese, 2007Rauch, A., & Frese, M. (2007). Born to be an Entrepreneur? Revisiting the personality approach to entrepreneurship. In J. R. Baum, M. Frese, & R. A. Baron (Eds.), The psychology of entrepreneurship: the organizational frontiers (pp. 41-65). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.; Gelderen et al., 2008Gelderen, M., Brand, M., Praag, M., Bodewes, W., Poutsma, E., & Gils, A. (2008). Explaining entrepreneurial intentions by means of the theory of planned behavior. Career Development International, 13(6), 538-559. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13620430810901688.
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; Wu & Wu, 2008Wu, S., & Wu, L. (2008). The impact of higher education on entrepreneurial intentions of university students in China. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 15(4), 752-774. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14626000810917843.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14626000810917...
; Santos et al., 2009Santos, P. C. F., Minuzzi, J., Lezana, A. G. R., & Grzybovski, D. (2009). Intenção empreendedora: um estudo com empretecos catarinenses. Revista de Estudos de Administração, 9(19), 7-26.; Schmidt & Bohnenberger, 2009Schmidt, S., & Bohnenberger, M. C. (2009). Perfil empreendedor e desempenho organizacional. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 13(3), 450-467. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552009000300007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552009...
; Nascimento et al., 2010Nascimento, T. C., Dantas, A. B., Santos, P. C. F., Sousa, M. V., No., & Costa, A. G., Jr. (2010). A metodologia de Kristiansen e Indarti para identificar intenção empreendedora em estudantes de ensino superior: comparando resultados obtidos na Noruega, Indonésia e Alagoas. Revista de Negócios, 15(3), 67-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2010v15n3p67-86.
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; Obschonka et al., 2010Obschonka, M., Silbereisen, R. K., & Schmitt-Rodermund, E. (2010). Entrepreneurial intention as developmental outcome. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 77(1), 63-72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2010.02.008.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2010.02....
; Alves & Bornia, 2011Alves, L. R. R., & Bornia, A. C. (2011). Desenvolvimento de uma escala para medir o potencial empreendedor utilizando a Teoria da Resposta ao Item (TRI). Gestão & Produção, 18(4), 775-790. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011000400007.
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; Brandstätter, 2011Brandstätter, H. (2011). Personality aspects of entrepreneurship: a look at five meta-analyses. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 222-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.07.007.
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; Abebe, 2012Abebe, M. A. (2012). Social and institutional predictors of entrepreneurial career intention: evidence from Hispanic adults in the U.S. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 20(1), 1-23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849581250001X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495812500...
; Karabey, 2012Karabey, C. N. (2012). Understanding entrepreneurial cognition through thinking style, entrepreneurial alertness and risk preference: do entrepreneurs differ from others? Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 58, 861-870. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.1064.
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; Minello & Scherer, 2012Minello, I. F., & Scherer, L. A. (2012). Mudança de comportamento de empreendedores: Uma análise dos tipos de empreendedor antes, durante e depois do insucesso empresarial. Revista Pensamento Contemporâneo em Administração, 6(4), 144-165. http://dx.doi.org/10.12712/rpca.v6i4.215.
http://dx.doi.org/10.12712/rpca.v6i4.215...
; Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013Mathieu, C., & St-Jean, É. (2013). Entrepreneurial personality: the role of narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 527-531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.04.026.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.04...
; Moraes et al., 2013Moraes, M. J., Hashimoto, M., & Albertine, T. Z. (2013). Perfil Empreendedor: estudo sobre características empreendedoras de motoristas funcionários, agregados e autônomos do transporte rodoviário de cargas. Revista de Empreendedorismo e Gestão de Pequenas Empresas, 2(1), 132-157.; Tajeddini et al., 2013Tajeddini, K., Elg, U., & Trueman, M. (2013). Efficiency and effectiveness of small retailers: The role of customer and entrepreneurial orientation. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20(5), 453-462. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jretconser.2013.05.004.
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; Roxas & Chadee, 2013Roxas, B., & Chadee, D. (2013). Effects of formal institutions on the performance of the tourism sector in the Philippines: The mediating role of entrepreneurial orientation. Tourism Management, 37, 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012.10.016.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012...
).

Among the instruments that deal with the measurement of entrepreneurial behaviour (e.g., McClelland, 1972McClelland, D. C. (1972). A sociedade competitiva: realização e progresso social. Rio de Janeiro: Expressão & Cultura.; Carland et al., 1988Carland, J. W., Carland, J. A., & Hoy, F. S. (1988). Who is an entrepreneur? Is a question worth asking? American Journal of Small Business, 12(4), 33-39., 1992Carland, J. W., Carland, J. A., & Hoy, F. S. (1992). An entrepreneurship index: an empirical validation. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 25(3), 244-265.; Caird, 1991Caird, S. (1991). Testing enterprising tendency in occupational groups. British Journal of Management, 2(4), 177-186. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.1991.tb00025.x.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.19...
; Miner, 2000Miner, J. B. (2000). Testing a psychological typology of entrepreneurship using business founders. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 36(1), 43-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021886300361003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00218863003610...
; Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
; Gonçalves et al., 2007Gonçalves, C., Fo., Veit, M. R., & Gonçalves, C. A. (2007). Mensuração do perfil do potencial empreendedor e seu impacto no desempenho das pequenas empresas. Revista de Negócios, 12(3), 29-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007v12n3p29-44.
http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007...
; Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.; Cardon et al., 2013Cardon, M. S., Gregoire, D. A., Stevens, C. E., & Patel, P. C. (2013). Measuring entrepreneurial passion: conceptual foundations and scale validation. Journal of Business Venturing, 28(3), 373-396. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2012.03.003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.201...
; Souza et al., 2013Souza, E. C. L., Lopez, G. S., Jr., Bornia, A. C., & Alves, L. R. R. (2013). Atitude empreendedora: validação de um instrumento de medida com base no modelo de resposta gradual da teoria da resposta ao item. Revista de Administração Mackenzie, 14(5), 230-251. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-69712013000500009.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-69712013...
; Souza, 2014Souza, G. H. S. (2014). Inventário de barreiras e facilitadores ao empreendedorismo: construção e validação de uma medida psicométrica (dissertação de mestrado). Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió.), the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale, developed by Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis., is one of which has shown better functionality, theoretical support and satisfactory standards of factorial validity and internal consistency, also demonstrating broad relevance to the area of entrepreneurship in Brazil – instrument validated complementarily with the Item Response Theory (IRT) by Alves & Bornia (2011)Alves, L. R. R., & Bornia, A. C. (2011). Desenvolvimento de uma escala para medir o potencial empreendedor utilizando a Teoria da Resposta ao Item (TRI). Gestão & Produção, 18(4), 775-790. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011000400007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011...
.

This occurs because the related instruments have presented methodological and theoretical limitations, and inadequate or insipient psychometric parameters. The Personal Entrepreneur Competencies (PEC), McClelland’s (1972)McClelland, D. C. (1972). A sociedade competitiva: realização e progresso social. Rio de Janeiro: Expressão & Cultura. instrument, for example, did not meet psychometric parameters, neither criteria for psychological measures (see, Pasquali, 2010Pasquali, L. (2010). Escalas psicométricas. In L. Pasquali (Ed.), Instrumentação psicológica: fundamentos e práticas (pp. 116-135). Porto Alegre: Artmed.; Cohen et al., 2014Cohen, R. J., Swerdlik, M. E., & Sturman, E. D. (2014). Testagem e avaliação psicológica: introdução a testes e medidas (8. ed.). Porto Alegre: AMGH.), which limits their application.

Also, the Carland Entrepreneurship Index, (CEI) developed by Carland et al. (1988Carland, J. W., Carland, J. A., & Hoy, F. S. (1988). Who is an entrepreneur? Is a question worth asking? American Journal of Small Business, 12(4), 33-39., 1992Carland, J. W., Carland, J. A., & Hoy, F. S. (1992). An entrepreneurship index: an empirical validation. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 25(3), 244-265.), presents limitations due to its dichotomous response model, restricting the range of analyses to verify validation parameters, beyond an unjustifiably structure of behavioural identification that varies in a continuum from “micro-entrepreneur” to “macro-entrepreneur”. Likewise, it presents methodological problems, such as the improper use of principal components analysis (PCA) in dichotomous items, since, according to Hair et al. (2010)Hair, J. F., Jr., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2010). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education. and Tabachnick & Fidell (2007)Tabachnick, B. G., & Fidell, L. S. (2007). Using multivariate statistics (5. ed.). Boston: Pearson Education., for performing factor analyses with dichotomous variables (binary measure) should be used the tetrachoric correlation matrix.

Still, the Kristiansen & Indarti’s (2004)Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
scale presents limitations regarding to the factorial validity and internal consistency – for example, alphas coefficients of 0.33. In turn, the Gonçalves et al. (2007)Gonçalves, C., Fo., Veit, M. R., & Gonçalves, C. A. (2007). Mensuração do perfil do potencial empreendedor e seu impacto no desempenho das pequenas empresas. Revista de Negócios, 12(3), 29-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007v12n3p29-44.
http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007...
scale presents overall fit indices not satisfactory to validate the factorial model of the construct proposed (p = 0.000; χ2/df = 3.51; GFI = 0.87; AGFI = 0.85; CFI = 0.83).

In that regard, the Santos’ (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. Entrepreneurial Potential Scale arises as an instrument with satisfactory parameters of factorial validity and internal consistency, easy to apply, without restrictions on use and produced especially for the Brazilian context. Nevertheless, Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. explains that some psychometric stricter validation procedures have not been performed for this Scale, for example, confirmatory factor validity and criterion validity.

We argue that the presentation of such parameters can make the use of this instrument more widespread and bring clear contributions to the area of entrepreneurship, especially in relation to studies focused on entrepreneurial behaviour. Considering these conditions, we ask: Could the entrepreneurial potential be a predictor of the behaviour on business? Therefore, the objective of this article is verify evidence of confirmatory factor validity, parameters of dimensional structure and criterion validity (predictive efficacy) of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.).

This study converges to understand the factors that characterize a person potentially entrepreneur. Going beyond the approaches that seek to identify attitudes towards entrepreneurship (e.g., Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
; Souza et al., 2013Souza, E. C. L., Lopez, G. S., Jr., Bornia, A. C., & Alves, L. R. R. (2013). Atitude empreendedora: validação de um instrumento de medida com base no modelo de resposta gradual da teoria da resposta ao item. Revista de Administração Mackenzie, 14(5), 230-251. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-69712013000500009.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1678-69712013...
) or entrepreneurial characteristics (e.g., Carland et al., 1988Carland, J. W., Carland, J. A., & Hoy, F. S. (1988). Who is an entrepreneur? Is a question worth asking? American Journal of Small Business, 12(4), 33-39., 1992Carland, J. W., Carland, J. A., & Hoy, F. S. (1992). An entrepreneurship index: an empirical validation. Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research, 25(3), 244-265.; Caird, 1991Caird, S. (1991). Testing enterprising tendency in occupational groups. British Journal of Management, 2(4), 177-186. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.1991.tb00025.x.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8551.19...
; Gonçalves et al., 2007Gonçalves, C., Fo., Veit, M. R., & Gonçalves, C. A. (2007). Mensuração do perfil do potencial empreendedor e seu impacto no desempenho das pequenas empresas. Revista de Negócios, 12(3), 29-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007v12n3p29-44.
http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007...
) – approaches, so far, without satisfactory results –, we tend here to the mapping of individual (dispositional, behavioural and affective) and contextual (social and environmental) elements which together make up a possible successful entrepreneur.

2 Theoretical framework

2.1 Entrepreneurial behaviour aspects

The entrepreneurship – central axiom of enterprising phenomenon as socioeconomic and behavioural process that relates primarily to the opening of new businesses – was established as a thematic and more recently as subarea of knowledge, from a compendium of researches that enter on various aspects, having its importance for academia and for society (Markman & Baron, 2003Markman, G. D., & Baron, R. A. (2003). Person-entrepreneurship fit: why some people are more successful as entrepreneurs than others. Human Resource Management Review, 13(2), 281-301. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1053-4822(03)00018-4.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1053-4822(03)...
; Filion, 2004Filion, L. J. (2004). Operators and visionaries: differences in the entrepreneurial and managerial systems of two types of entrepreneurs. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 1(1-2), 35-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJESB.2004.005376.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1504/IJESB.2004.005...
; Hisrich & Peters, 2004Hisrich, R. D., & Peters, M. P. (2004). Empreendedorismo. Porto Alegre: Bookman.; Oliveira, 2004Oliveira, E. M. (2004). Empreendedorismo social no Brasil: atual configuração, perspectivas e desafios: notas introdutórias. Revista da FAE, 7(2), 9-18.; Markman et al., 2005Markman, G. D., Baron, R. A., & Balkin, D. B. (2005). Are perseverance and self-efficacy costless? Assessing entrepreneurs’ regretful thinking. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 26(1), 1-19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.305.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.305...
; Dolabela et al., 2008Dolabela, F., Santos, P. C. F., Dantas, A. B., & Nascimento, T. C. (2008). Cultura familiar e empreendedorismo na América Latina. In Anais do XXVIII Encontro Nacional de Engenharia de Produção (ENEGEP). Rio de Janeiro: ABEPRO.; Oliveira, 2008Oliveira, E. M. (2008). Empreendedorismo social: da teoria à prática, do sonho a realidade. Rio de Janeiro: Qualitymark.; Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.; Bessant & Tidd, 2009Bessant, J., & Tidd, J. (2009). Inovação e empreendedorismo. Porto Alegre: Bookman.; Dornelas, 2014Dornelas, J. C. A. (2014). Empreendedorismo: transformando ideias em negócios (5. ed.). São Paulo: LTC Editora.). Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. argues that entrepreneurship is a phenomenon which has strong social and economic implications.

In the literature, there are studies in various areas and dating from the eighteenth century that depict entrepreneurship’s cases. Initially, on the evolution of economic thought and business risks, Cantillon (1755)Cantillon, R. (1755). Essai sur la nature du commerce en général. Londres: Chez Fletcher Gylesdans Holborn. made a behavioural separation between the entrepreneur and the employee, which the first is an individual who exposes oneself to risks for undertaking uncertain businesses. In sequence, Say (2003)Say, J. B. (2003). Traité d’économie politique. Montreal: Éditions Weltanschauung. [originally published in 1832] established the importance of the entrepreneur to the economic development of a society, calling it “adventurer”.

Despite the constant use of behavioural approaches for explain the opening of new business [see Max Weber (1957)Weber, M. (1957). A ética protestante e o espírito do capitalismo. São Paulo: Pioneira., regarding to the motivating values of the entrepreneurial action within the protestant ethic], only in the twentieth century the entrepreneur (person) began to be studied, when: Schumpeter (1961)Schumpeter, J. A. (1961). The theory of economic development. New York: Oxford University Press. discussed the creative destruction in the construction of the entrepreneur; McClelland (1961)McClelland, D. C. (1961). The achieving society. Princeton: D. Van Nostrand. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14359-000.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14359-000...
investigated the characteristics and aspects of the need for achievement (N-Ach) of the entrepreneur; Maslow (1965)Maslow, A. H. (1965). Eupsychian management. Homewood: Richard D. Irwin. theorized the motivational aspects that lead a person to become an entrepreneur; Shapero & Sokol (1982)Shapero, A., & Sokol, L. (1982). Social dimensions of entrepreneurship. In C. A. Kent, D. L. Sexton & K. H. Vesper (Eds.), Encyclopedia of entrepreneurship. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall. studied the social role of the entrepreneur; Rotter (1990)Rotter, J. B. (1990). Internal versus external control of reinforcement: a case history of a variable. The American Psychologist, 45(4), 489-493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.45.4.489.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.45.4...
supposed the locus of control as a personality trait inherent to the entrepreneur; and Drucker (1993)Drucker, P. F. (1993). Innovation and entrepreneurship. New York: Harper Business. and Miner (1997a)Miner, J. B. (1997a). A psychological typology of successful entrepreneurs. Westport: Quorum Books. connected the entrepreneur to an innovative economic behaviour. Further clarification and deepening in the historical postulate of the entrepreneurship, Leite (2000)Leite, E. (2000). O fenômeno do empreendedorismo: criando riquezas. Recife: Bagaço., Hisrich & Peters (2004)Hisrich, R. D., & Peters, M. P. (2004). Empreendedorismo. Porto Alegre: Bookman. and Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. bring significant contributions in these directions.

Such studies have been benchmarks for a more specific behavioural discussion, which made the entrepreneurship an element of great interest, especially by the establishment of fundamental theories to explain this phenomenon. More than opening a business, the entrepreneurial action is directly related to aspects of personality [cognitive development, adaptation, traits, interests, impulses, self-concept, capacity and emotional patterns (see, Schultz & Schultz, 2006Schultz, D. P., & Schultz, S. E. (2006). Teorias da personalidade. São Paulo: Thompson Learning.)] and human values [guide for actions and cognitive expression of basic needs (see, Gouveia et al., 2014Gouveia, V. V., Milfont, T. L., & Guerra, V. M. (2014). Functional theory of human values: testing its content and structure hypotheses. Personality and Individual Differences, 60, 41-47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.12.012.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.12...
)] (Littunen, 2000Littunen, H. (2000). Entrepreneurship and the characteristics of the entrepreneurial personality. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior e Research, 6(6), 295-309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13552550010362741.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13552550010362...
; Miner, 2000Miner, J. B. (2000). Testing a psychological typology of entrepreneurship using business founders. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 36(1), 43-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021886300361003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00218863003610...
; Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
; Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.; Alves & Bornia, 2011Alves, L. R. R., & Bornia, A. C. (2011). Desenvolvimento de uma escala para medir o potencial empreendedor utilizando a Teoria da Resposta ao Item (TRI). Gestão & Produção, 18(4), 775-790. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011000400007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011...
; Brandstätter, 2011Brandstätter, H. (2011). Personality aspects of entrepreneurship: a look at five meta-analyses. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(3), 222-230. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.07.007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.07...
; Abebe, 2012Abebe, M. A. (2012). Social and institutional predictors of entrepreneurial career intention: evidence from Hispanic adults in the U.S. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 20(1), 1-23. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849581250001X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495812500...
; Barba-Sánchez & Atienza-Sahuquillo, 2012Barba-Sánchez, V., & Atienza-Sahuquillo, C. (2012). Entrepreneurial behavior: impact of motivation factors on decision to create a new venture. Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa, 18(2), 132-138. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1135-2523(12)70003-5.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1135-2523(12)...
; Karabey, 2012Karabey, C. N. (2012). Understanding entrepreneurial cognition through thinking style, entrepreneurial alertness and risk preference: do entrepreneurs differ from others? Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 58, 861-870. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.1064.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012....
; Minello & Scherer, 2012Minello, I. F., & Scherer, L. A. (2012). Mudança de comportamento de empreendedores: Uma análise dos tipos de empreendedor antes, durante e depois do insucesso empresarial. Revista Pensamento Contemporâneo em Administração, 6(4), 144-165. http://dx.doi.org/10.12712/rpca.v6i4.215.
http://dx.doi.org/10.12712/rpca.v6i4.215...
; Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013Mathieu, C., & St-Jean, É. (2013). Entrepreneurial personality: the role of narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 527-531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.04.026.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.04...
).

Within this line of thought, Bygrave (2004)Bygrave, W. D. (2004). The entrepreneurial process. In W. D. Bygrave & A. Zacharakis (Eds.), The portable MBA in entrepreneurship (pp. 6). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons. defines the entrepreneur as someone “in love” with what it does and points 10 attributes (10 Ds) concerning the entrepreneurial behaviour: Dream; Decisiveness; Doers; Determination; Dedication; Devotion; Details; Destiny; Dollars; Distribute.

In addition, Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. integrates definitions and conceptualizes the entrepreneur as one who:

Feels the need to create new products and services to meet the demands of society or innovate, improving which already exists. To perform these actions, you need to be proactive (have visions and anticipate the future) and be determined to act in the way that you deems appropriate to begin the activity proposed, i.e., undertake. In this context the entrepreneur acts and exercises the creative destruction (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis., p. 65-66).

In another analysis perspective, Drucker (2003)Drucker, P. F. (2003). Administrando para obter resultados. São Paulo: Pioneira Thomson Learning. supports the proposal that the company is a “Cost Centre”, because businesses only exist to produce results and profits for the market or the economy; i.e., for outside the company. In fact, there are only costs within the company that the entrepreneur perceives as restrictions and challenges. In this sense, entrepreneur is one who stands in front of a reality/situation to convert it into opportunity, targeting results and profits.

Undertake or being an entrepreneur is not just a way of being, which is limited to a behavioural model of creativity or innovation, for example. Undertake is, certainly, the development of a real action, in opening a business, in creating a new product or service, in an innovative activity (Drucker, 1993Drucker, P. F. (1993). Innovation and entrepreneurship. New York: Harper Business., 2003Drucker, P. F. (2003). Administrando para obter resultados. São Paulo: Pioneira Thomson Learning.) or in the attempt to keep the business or be persistent to try a new business if there was a failure in the previous business – undertake is a continuous cycle (Miner, 1997aMiner, J. B. (1997a). A psychological typology of successful entrepreneurs. Westport: Quorum Books., bMiner, J. B. (1997b). The expanded horizon for achieving entrepreneurial success. Organizational Dynamics, 25(3), 54-67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0090-2616(97)90047-4.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0090-2616(97)...
; Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.; Castor, 2009Castor, B. V. J. (2009). Estratégias para a pequena e média empresa. São Paulo: Atlas.; Santos et al., 2009Santos, P. C. F., Minuzzi, J., Lezana, A. G. R., & Grzybovski, D. (2009). Intenção empreendedora: um estudo com empretecos catarinenses. Revista de Estudos de Administração, 9(19), 7-26.).

Other psychosocial approaches (e.g., Sarasvathy, 2004Sarasvathy, S. D. (2004). The questions we ask and the questions we care about: reformulating some problems in entrepreneurship research. Journal of Business Venturing, 19(5), 707-717. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2003.09.006.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.200...
; Wu & Wu, 2008Wu, S., & Wu, L. (2008). The impact of higher education on entrepreneurial intentions of university students in China. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 15(4), 752-774. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14626000810917843.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14626000810917...
; Santos et al., 2010Santos, P. C. F., Dantas, A. B., & Milito, C. M. (2010). Cultura familiar empreendedora e dinâmica econômica na América Latina: contributos para sua representação. In R. Pereira (Ed.), A dinâmica nas ciências económicas e empresariais: contributos para uma visão abrangente (pp. 197-222). Lisboa: Escolar.; Karabey, 2012Karabey, C. N. (2012). Understanding entrepreneurial cognition through thinking style, entrepreneurial alertness and risk preference: do entrepreneurs differ from others? Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, 58, 861-870. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.09.1064.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2012....
; Roxas & Chadee, 2013Roxas, B., & Chadee, D. (2013). Effects of formal institutions on the performance of the tourism sector in the Philippines: The mediating role of entrepreneurial orientation. Tourism Management, 37, 1-12. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012.10.016.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tourman.2012...
; Souza, 2014Souza, G. H. S. (2014). Inventário de barreiras e facilitadores ao empreendedorismo: construção e validação de uma medida psicométrica (dissertação de mestrado). Universidade Federal de Alagoas, Maceió.) admit further that contextual and social factors also act as entrepreneurial behaviour predictors – logically, respecting the individual predisposition. That is, a person potentially entrepreneur may be influenced by economic changes (e.g., increased unemployment), marketing (e.g., emergence of a technology or trend) or individual factors (e.g., training or institutional incentives), and because of that, this person starts a business, as Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. defended.

2.2 Entrepreneurial potential

Psychological, behavioural, social and individual aspects that lead a person to undertake can be seen as converging elements of an entrepreneurial potential. The entrepreneurial potential links a number of features commonly found in successful entrepreneurs (Krueger & Brazeal, 1994Krueger, N. F. Jr, & Brazeal, D. V. (1994). Entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 18(3), 91-104.; Krueger et al., 2000Krueger, N. F. Jr, Reilly, M. D., & Carsrud, A. L. (2000). Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing, 15(5-6), 411-432. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(98)00033-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(98)...
). For Schmidt & Bohnenberger (2009)Schmidt, S., & Bohnenberger, M. C. (2009). Perfil empreendedor e desempenho organizacional. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 13(3), 450-467. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552009000300007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552009...
, the successful entrepreneur is basically someone who: (1) is self-efficacy, (2) detect opportunities, (3) plans, (4) takes calculated risks, (5) is sociable, (6) is a leader and (7) is persistent. In this analytic perspective, a person is likely to have all the attributes of an entrepreneur and does not undertake, and this is just a potential to undertake – the entrepreneurial potential.

As Krueger & Brazeal (1994)Krueger, N. F. Jr, & Brazeal, D. V. (1994). Entrepreneurial potential and potential entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 18(3), 91-104. and Krueger et al. (2000)Krueger, N. F. Jr, Reilly, M. D., & Carsrud, A. L. (2000). Competing models of entrepreneurial intentions. Journal of Business Venturing, 15(5-6), 411-432. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(98)00033-0.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(98)...
explain, entrepreneurship or entrepreneurial behaviour – while proactive and planned intention to business – have as latent predictor the potential to effectuation the entrepreneurial activity, that is, characteristics and dispositional traits that are similar to people who have achieved success in this activity.

Thus, based on the metacognitive McClelland’s (1972)McClelland, D. C. (1972). A sociedade competitiva: realização e progresso social. Rio de Janeiro: Expressão & Cultura. model, Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. proposed that the entrepreneurial potential is divided into three dimensions (clusters) – characteristics of the successful entrepreneur – namely: Achievement, Planning and Power; and an additional characteristic related to the desirable criteria, the Entrepreneurial Intention – criterion of inhibition or activation to the entrepreneurship in favourability conditions, for instance, easy access to capital, and therefore it considered complementary to the entrepreneurial potential.

Within each dimension there are factors that are established as entrepreneurial attributes. In the dimension of Achievement, the attributes Opportunities Recognition, Persistence, Search for Quality, Efficiency, and Risk Management are found. In the dimension of Planning, the attributes Goal Setting, Search for Information, Continuous Planning and Permanent Control are found. In the dimension of Power, the attributes Ability to Persuade Others, Ability to Organize Business Networking and Self-Reliance. And the dimension of Entrepreneurial Intention focuses on the desire to start or have a business (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.).

From this theoretical model, Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. conceived the trial version of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. When empirically tested, the factors Quality, Risk and Self-Reliance did not show satisfactory values of internal consistency, which it prevented the maintenance of these factors as underlying latent structure of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. Thus, Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. developed the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale taking into account that the factors are configured as latent observable behaviours, defining them as follows (Table 1).

Table 1
Entrepreneurial Potential Scale – factors definition.

In terms of operationalisation, the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.) is a self-reported psychometric test under a Likert-type scale of 11 continuous points [ranging from 0 (zero) = Strongly Disagree (no chance) to 10 = Strongly Agree (absolute certainty)], with 49 items based on priming (explanatory vignettes). Once the test aims to map characteristics that may indicate entrepreneurial potential, the participants are required to answer items as: “For sure one day I will have my own business”, “I am able to identify business opportunities and get profiting from it” and “I know I am able to lead a work team and achieve goals”. For the full and unrestricted access to the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale, as well as its norms and technical specifications, see Santos (2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis., p. 189).

Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. conducted a study with 664 college students to validate the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale [Portuguese version]. Firstly, the author carried out a principal component analysis (PCA) with 49 items of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale, extracting 10 components with 67.2% of variance explained. Initial measures, Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) = 0.917 and Bartlett’s Sphericity Test, χ2 (1,176) = 13,663.818; p = 0.000, both satisfactory, showed the sampling adequacy and the factorability of the correlation matrix among the scale items.

In sequence, the author found satisfactory parameters of factorial validity and internal consistency, and reported the following values for each factor (Table 2).

Table 2
Factorial Loads and Internal Consistency of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale.

Although Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. showed satisfactory parameters of factorial validity and internal consistency, the own author admits as limitation, in the development of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale, the lack of more robust validation analysis, for example, confirmatory factor validity and criterion validity. Therefore, the use of this instrument in other samples and the procedure of other validation techniques can demonstrate credibility and adequacy of the scale, beyond the dissemination of their use in various possible areas.

3 Empirical studies

In view of the objective proposed, we presented two empirical studies involving the confirmatory factor validity and dimensional structure (Study 1) and criterion validity (Study 2) of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.).

3.1 Study 1: confirmatory factor validity and dimensionality of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale

The study 1 aimed to verify the parameters of confirmatory factor validity and dimensionality (dimensional structure) of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.). Confirmatory factor validity, according to Pasquali (2009Pasquali, L. (2009). Psicometria. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 43, 992-999. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0080-62342009000500002.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0080-62342009...
, p. 996), “[...] is the direct way to verify the hypothesis of the legitimacy for the behavioural representation of latent traits”, establishing by the characterization of the instrument quality. In turn, the dimensional structure, according to Hair et al. (2010)Hair, J. F., Jr., Black, W. C., Babin, B. J., Anderson, R. E., & Tatham, R. L. (2010). Multivariate data analysis. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education., indicates, spatially, underlying patterns among the variables analysed, providing explanations of how these variables behave.

3.1.1 Methods

3.1.1.1 Procedures: participants and data collection

The application of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale [Portuguese version] (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.) was given individually and/or collectively, by accessibility, between March and November 2013, in a non-probabilistic sample of 455 college students (which 51.2% are male) from all eight periods of the Business Administration course (total of 480 students) of the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL). At first, the participants were informed about the anonymity and confidentiality of its answers. The voluntary nature of participation and the respect to ethical guidelines were assured. The participants were approached in the corridors and classrooms of the Business Administration Academic Department during the interval of the morning and night classes.

3.1.1.2 Analysis

To prove the factor structure of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.) and to explain its dimensional structure, the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) by the structural equation modelling (SEM) and the Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) were carried out.

We used the software AMOS 7 (Analysis of Structures) to perform the Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA), considering the covariance matrix and adopting the maximum likelihood estimation. The model fit indices are summed up following:

  • The Chi-square (χ2) confirms the probability that the model fits to the data and assumes the multivariate normality distribution of the set of variables. A statistically significant value indicates discrepancies between the data and the theoretical model tested, and the model must be rejected.

  • The Goodness-of-Fit Index (GFI) and Adjusted Goodness-of-Fit Index (AGFI) take into account the degrees of freedom of the model regarding to the number of variables considered. Values higher than or near 0.95 and 0.90, respectively for GFI and AGFI, are recommended (Hu & Bentler, 1999Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 1-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540...
    ).

  • The Comparative Fit Index (CFI) is an additional index for the model fit, with values closer to 1 (one) indicating better fit. A value from 0.90 is the reference to accept the model.

  • The χ2/degrees of freedom ratio (also referred as CMIN/DF) is considered a subjective and practical index of fit (Byrne, 2001Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with Amos: basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.). A value between 1.00 and 3.00 can be interpreted as an adjustment indicator of the theoretical model to describe the data.

  • The Root Mean Square Residual (RMR) is based on the average residual value (Byrne, 2001Byrne, B. M. (2001). Structural equation modeling with Amos: basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.), and a value close to zero means that the model fits the data, indicating that all residuals are closer to this value. We will consider the standardized RMR; a value around 0.05 is considered proof of model fit (Saris & Stronkhorst, 1984Saris, W., & Stronkhorst, H. (1984). Causal modelling in nonexperimental research. Amsterdam: Sociometric Research Foundation.).

  • The Root Mean Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) requires values near 0.08 with 90% confidence interval (Hu & Bentler, 1999Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling, 6(1), 1-55. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540118.
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10705519909540...
    ), interpreting the values below 0.08 as a model adjusted.

We also carried out the Multidimensional Scaling (MDS) [ALSCAL], considering the creation of two-dimensional distance matrix for all factors (sums of items) of Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.) in a Euclidean distance model. In order to assess the model fit, we use the RSQ – alternative to squared correlation coefficient – which ranges from 0 (zero) to 1 (one), considering values close to 1 (one) indicative of model adjusted; and the S-stress - measure that assesses the adequacy of the dimensionality – whose values below 0.100 indicate an acceptable dimensionality (Kruskal, 1964Kruskal, J. B. (1964). Nonmetric multidimensional scaling: a numerical method. Psychometrika, 29(2), 115-129. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02289694.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02289694...
). In addition, the Pearson’s correlation (r) was used to provide support in the explanation of the dimensional structure.

3.1.2 Results and discussion

To test the factor structure of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.) model with 10 factors (49 items) was prepared as predictor of the entrepreneurial potential – a second-order factor. Therefore, considering the covariance matrix and adopting the method of maximum likelihood estimation (MLE), we found the following model fitting parameters (Table 3).

Table 3
Model fit for the EPE1 with 10 factors.

The model fit indices show that the proposed model presents satisfactory, bringing psychometric information to confirm the factorial structure of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale with 10 factors. Aiming to find a model without discrepancies (that is, p > 0.05, not significant), we point that the value found shows adequate to data (p = 0.06), whereas a low accuracy analysis. In turn, the Comparative Fit Index (CFI = 0.965) proves this 10-factors model with respect to the construct evaluated. Regarding to the estimators and regression weights, we found that the best predictors of Entrepreneurial Potential are, respectively, the factors Goals (1.0/0.68; p ≤ 0.000), Control (0.99/0.57; p ≤ 0.000) and Persuasion (0.93/0.63; p ≤ 0.000), and the other are moderately satisfactory, namely: Persistence (0.88/0.77; p ≤ 0.000), Planning (0.88/0.51; p ≤ 0.000), Opportunity (0.87/0.63; p ≤ 0.000), Network (0.87/0.57; p ≤ 0.000), Efficiency (0.81/0.58; p ≤ 0.000), Entrepreneurial Intention (0.79/0.34; p ≤ 0.000) and Information (0.53/0.58; p ≤ 0.000).

Although the model appears satisfactory, it demonstrates multicollinearity among the items on several factors, i.e., covariation. This multicollinearity, in turn, stems from dimensional proximity of the factors, as can be seen in the model’s dimensional structure [RSQ = 0.964 e S-stress = 0.096] in Figure 1.

Figure 1
Dimensionality of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. Source: Research data.

As can be seen, the Multidimensional Scaling supports the theoretical framework proposed by Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. for the development of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. Factors such as Planning (P1), Control (C) and Goals (G) have moderate correlation [P1-C: r = 0.580; p = 0.000; C-G r = 0.464; p = 0.000; P1-G: r = 0.464; p = 0.000as well as the groups of factors Persuasion (P2), Network (N) e Opportunity (Op) [P2-N: r = 0.549; p = 0.000; N-Op: r = 0.416; p = 0.000; P2-Op: r = 0.504; p = 0.000], and Persistence (P3), Efficiency (E) and Information (I) [P3-E: r = 0.474; p = 0.000; E-I: r = 0.351; p = 0.000; P3-I: r = 0.446; p = 0.000]; which present, consequently, considerable dimensional proximity (Figure 1).

This type of correlation associated with the dimensionality can be explained, for example, by the semantic and theoretical proximity that items from these factors have, namely, the items “v27 - I define where I want to get and I detail all the steps that I must follow” (Planning), “v31 - I know where I want to get and how much I want to achieve” (Goals) and “v38 - I see the planning as a guide to control my actions” (Control). These items relate to some characteristics correspondent to the locus of control (McClelland, 1961McClelland, D. C. (1961). The achieving society. Princeton: D. Van Nostrand. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14359-000.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/14359-000...
; Rotter, 1990Rotter, J. B. (1990). Internal versus external control of reinforcement: a case history of a variable. The American Psychologist, 45(4), 489-493. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.45.4.489.
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), that is, predisposition to maintain personal control over the results, including planned and previously established behaviours (Littunen, 2000Littunen, H. (2000). Entrepreneurship and the characteristics of the entrepreneurial personality. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior e Research, 6(6), 295-309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/13552550010362741.
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; Mueller & Thomas, 2001Mueller, S. L., & Thomas, A. S. (2001). Culture and entrepreneurial potential: a nine country study of locus of control and innovativeness. Journal of Business Venturing, 16(1), 51-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(99)00039-7.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(99)...
; Paulino & Rossi, 2003Paulino, A. D., & Rossi, S. M. M. (2003). Um estudo de caso sobre Perfil Empreendedor – Características e traços de personalidade empreendedora. In Anais do III Encontro de Estudos sobre Empreendedorismo e Gestão de Pequenas Empresas (EGEPE). Brasília: UEM/UEL/UnB.; Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
; Moriano et al., 2004Moriano, J. A., Sánchez, M. L., & Palací, F. J.(2004). Un estudio descriptivo sobre los emprendedores en España, la República Checa y Bulgaria. In S. Roig Dobón (Ed.), El emprendedor innovador y la creación de empresas de I+D+I (pp. 161-178). Valencia: PUV.; Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.; Lima & Freitas, 2010Lima, R. C. R., & Freitas, A. A. F. (2010). Personalidade empreendedora, recursos pessoais, ambiente, atividades organizacionais, gênero e desempenho financeiro de empreendedores informais. Revista de Administração Pública, 44(2), 511-531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-76122010000200014.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-76122010...
), demonstrating that not only the items are semantically close, but the structure of these factors share theoretical relationship. The same applies to the other groups of factors, as Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. has predicted.

Moreover, Entrepreneurial Intention is in a separate dimension and distant of all other factors. Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. developed the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale taking into account that the Entrepreneurial Intention was a complementary element to the potential to be entrepreneur, influencing only indirectly the overall construct.

This occurs because results show that the desire or will to have the own business is not something private to entrepreneurs or potential entrepreneurs (Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
; Nascimento et al., 2010Nascimento, T. C., Dantas, A. B., Santos, P. C. F., Sousa, M. V., No., & Costa, A. G., Jr. (2010). A metodologia de Kristiansen e Indarti para identificar intenção empreendedora em estudantes de ensino superior: comparando resultados obtidos na Noruega, Indonésia e Alagoas. Revista de Negócios, 15(3), 67-86. http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2010v15n3p67-86.
http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2010...
). The Entrepreneurial Intention can be interpreted as an individual’s social disposition to want to be a “successful entrepreneur”. Gouveia et al. (2009)Gouveia, V. V., Guerra, V. M., Sousa, D. M. F., Santos, W. S., & Costa, J. M. (2009). Escala de desejabilidade social de Marlowe-Crowne: Evidências de sua validade fatorial e consistência interna. Avaliação Psicológica, 8(1), 87-98. argue that social norms and desirable standards often influence the person to give a supposedly correct answer. Thus, the person tends to believe that being a successful entrepreneur is something good and desirable, which makes him/her supposedly has the desire to be an entrepreneur, when, in fact, he/she really will not undertake a business. Therefore, since the Entrepreneurial Intention is a multifaceted element, it becomes complementary to the identification of the potential to be entrepreneur.

Empirically, the Multidimensional Scaling confirms that the Entrepreneurial Intention is part of a separated dimension from other factors. In this perspective, the intention of having a business exists independent of the person to be potentially entrepreneur or not, and can be considered a “catalyser” to the entrepreneurial potential in favourability conditions. Other authors have also treated the Entrepreneurial Intention as a complementary element (e.g., Kristiansen & Indarti, 2004Kristiansen, S., & Indarti, N. (2004). Entrepreneurial intention among Indonesian and Norwegian students. Journal of Enterprising Culture, 12(1), 55-78. http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S021849580400004X.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1142/S0218495804000...
) or with low influence (e.g., Lopes & Souza, 2005Lopes, G. S., Jr., & Souza, E. C. L. (2005). Atitude empreendedora em proprietários-gerentes de pequenas empresas: construção de um instrumento de medida. REAd.Revista Eletrônica de Administração, 11(6), 1-21.; Gonçalves et al., 2007Gonçalves, C., Fo., Veit, M. R., & Gonçalves, C. A. (2007). Mensuração do perfil do potencial empreendedor e seu impacto no desempenho das pequenas empresas. Revista de Negócios, 12(3), 29-44. http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007v12n3p29-44.
http://dx.doi.org/10.7867/1980-4431.2007...
) to build a universal entrepreneurial profile.

3.2 Study 2: criterion validity of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale

Study 2 aimed to verify the criterion validity parameters of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.). The criterion validity, according to Pasquali (2009)Pasquali, L. (2009). Psicometria. Revista da Escola de Enfermagem da USP, 43, 992-999. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0080-62342009000500002.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0080-62342009...
, is the degree of Predictive Effectiveness that an instrument has to identify the behaviour which it is intended to measure. In this case, we evaluate the criterion that the businessman (entrepreneur) has greater entrepreneurial potential than the overall population (non-entrepreneur). We define the “non-entrepreneur”, for operational purposes of empirical research, as the college student.

3.2.1 Method

3.2.1.1 Procedures: participants and data collection

The study included 802 participants, of which 148 entrepreneurs from Maceió City, State of Alagoas in Brazil (59% are male) and 654 college students (58.4% are male) from 8 (eight) Brazilian universities – most were coming from the Federal University of Alagoas - UFAL (49.5%). The data collection was carried out between December 2013 and June 2014, in a non-probabilistic sample, given by accessibility and individually, in which the participants were approached at their workplace or school and/or via e-mail and asked to answer the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale [Portuguese version] (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.). The participants were elucidated on the anonymity of their answers, the confidentiality and the voluntary participation, considering the ethical guidelines that govern research with human beings.

3.2.1.2 Analysis

We conducted the Student t test for independent samples and Effect size (Cohen’s d) for t-test, following the Cohen’s (1992)Cohen, R. J. (1992). A power primer. Psychological Bulletin, 112(1), 155-159. PMid:19565683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.112.1.155.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.112....
recommendations, in which, d = 0.20 denotes small effect, d = 0.50 denotes medium effect and d = 0.80 denotes large effect. According Dancey & Reidy (2006)Dancey, C. P., & Reidy, J. (2006). Estatística sem matemática para psicologia (3. ed.). Porto Alegre: Artmed., when evaluating the behavioural and psychological constructs between different groups - due to the interference of subjective and contextual elements - small and medium effects are more readily available, as is the case of the constructs disclosed herein.

The t test was used to compare the mean scores of entrepreneurs and college students for each of the factors of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale (Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.), from the assumption that the entrepreneur demonstrate an entrepreneurial potential more evident than the overall population, endorsing highest score on the scale than college students – with statistically significant difference at a probability level associated with p <0.05. Although the testing applies only to the universe in which the data were collected, results that support this hypothesis, denote also that the instrument may be able to predict the entrepreneurial behaviour.

3.2.2 Results and discussion

In order to test the predictive efficacy of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale, we proceeded to the criterion validity by Student’s t test for independent samples, verifying the existence of significant differences between the mean scores of entrepreneurs (businessmen) and the mean scores of college students in each of the factors (sum of items) of the instrument.

The parameters of the criterion validity of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale are shown in Table 4, which presents the means and standard deviations (SD), the t-test values, degrees of freedom (df), the p-value (statistical significance), the difference in means associated with a 95% confidence interval, and values of Cohen’s d for the effect size.

Table 4
Parameters of the Criterion Validity.

As we can see in Table 4, in all factors, on average, entrepreneurs scored higher than college students, with statistically significant differences at a p-value ≤ 0.05. Furthermore, the effect size (Cohen’s d) presents median for almost all factors, except the factor Persuasion, showing a large effect (d = 0.85). Medium effects show that there are a relevant difference between the mean scores of the entrepreneurs and the college students, indicating not only that the entrepreneurs score higher than the college students in these factors, but that this difference is real in empirical terms. In turn, the large effect size for the factor Persuasion denotes that it can be considered an important attribute to distinguish the entrepreneur from the college student.

Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis. establishes the Persuasion as the ability to influence others to execute activities and actions that can facilitate the achievement of organizational objectives. In personal terms, this factor indicates that the entrepreneur is able to convince and motivate people, i.e., to lead.

Some approaches associate specifically the entrepreneurial leadership style to narcissism traits (Mathieu & St-Jean, 2013Mathieu, C., & St-Jean, É. (2013). Entrepreneurial personality: the role of narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 55(5), 527-531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.04.026.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2013.04...
) and internal locus of control (Miner, 2000Miner, J. B. (2000). Testing a psychological typology of entrepreneurship using business founders. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, 36(1), 43-69. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0021886300361003.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00218863003610...
; Mueller & Thomas, 2001Mueller, S. L., & Thomas, A. S. (2001). Culture and entrepreneurial potential: a nine country study of locus of control and innovativeness. Journal of Business Venturing, 16(1), 51-75. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(99)00039-7.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0883-9026(99)...
). Beyond the personality traits, behavioural and psychological aspects related to the entrepreneurial leadership style probably lead the entrepreneur to the acquisition of management, communication and persuasion skills (Mueller & Goić, 2002Mueller, S. L., & Goić, S. (2002). Entrepreneurial potential in transition economies: a view from tomorrow’s leaders. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 7(4), 339-414.; Schmidt & Bohnenberger, 2009Schmidt, S., & Bohnenberger, M. C. (2009). Perfil empreendedor e desempenho organizacional. Revista de Administração Contemporânea, 13(3), 450-467. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552009000300007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-65552009...
; Nassif et al., 2010Nassif, V. M. J., Ghobril, A. N., & Silva, N. S. (2010). Understanding the entrepreneurial process: a dynamic approach. Brazilian Administration Review, 7(2), 213-226. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1807-76922010000200007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1807-76922010...
). Such elements are consensual in many theories of entrepreneurship, according to Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis., which, following the results found in this study, appear fundamental for the differentiation between the entrepreneur (businessman) and the college student.

In an analysis of the overall mean of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale between entrepreneurs and college students, the t test [(279.1) = 12.207; p = 0.000] showed a significant mean difference and large effect size (d = 0.93). In addition, the scores found for entrepreneurs here investigated proved be congruent with the scores of successful entrepreneurs from Santos (2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis., p. 187), as shown in Table 5.

Table 5
Entrepreneurs from research versus Successful Entrepreneurs from Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis..

According to Table 5, there was no difference between the scores of entrepreneurs from research carried out here and the scores of successful entrepreneurs from Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.. Empirically, these results help to confirm the model proposed by the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale regarding the instrument’s sensitivity in the mapping of the entrepreneurial behaviour, by the verification of their predictive effectiveness in (1) differentiate reliably the entrepreneur (characterised here as businessmen) from non-entrepreneur (in this case, college students of Business Administration) and (2) demonstrate convergence to characterize specific groups such as the case of entrepreneurs of this study compared to successful entrepreneurs from Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis..

4 Final considerations

The objective of this study was verify evidence of confirmatory factor validity, parameters of dimensional structure, and criterion validity of the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale developed by Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.. Two studies were performed, we got the confirmatory validity and the criterion validity of a low-cost instrument (self-administered) and easy to apply (self-report), which a priori already had satisfactory parameters of content and semantics validity, factor validity and internal consistency, as detailed in section 2.2 of this Article.

Confirmatory factor validity proved the latent structure of 10-factors model for the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale. Complementarily, we check that the dimensional structure showed how the factors behave, confirming the theoretical model of Santos (2008)Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis., by the covariance sharing between specific factors, which bring empirical and theoretical relevant implications.

Overall, the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale proved to be an effective tool for the discrimination of people potentially entrepreneur, and can be used in studies that aim to know the antecedents and consequences of entrepreneurial behaviour. Also, the prospects for use of this instrument include training, selection processes, entry into business incubators, entrepreneurial identification among employees (intrapreneurship), encouragement of people to follow the business career from previously identified skills, and studies among professions that commonly tend to take a person to opening a business, such as accountants, chemists, engineers, doctors, dentists etc.

In this sense, it is clear that this study presents advances in entrepreneurship literature, due the relevance of an instrument for the assessment of entrepreneurial potential to researches all over the world, as it provides a solid theoretical base, a structure empirically proven and practical functionality in their use.

We emphasize, finally, that, although results share the sample bias – i.e., we cannot generalize these results beyond the sample studied –, the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale has shown that is a measure that converges reliably to predict the potential to be an entrepreneur, from factors that make up behaviours and traits of a person typically entrepreneur, reinforcing previous studies with this instrument (e.g., Santos, 2008Santos, P. C. F. (2008). Uma escala para identificar potencial empreendedor (tese de doutorado). Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis.; Alves & Bornia, 2011Alves, L. R. R., & Bornia, A. C. (2011). Desenvolvimento de uma escala para medir o potencial empreendedor utilizando a Teoria da Resposta ao Item (TRI). Gestão & Produção, 18(4), 775-790. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011000400007.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0104-530X2011...
; Souza et al., 2014Souza, G. H. S., & Santos, P. C. F., Cruz, N. J. T., Lezana, A. G. R., & Lima, N. C. (2014). O potencial empreendedor e o sucesso empresarial: um estudo sobre elementos de convergência e explicação. In Anais do 17º Seminários em Administração – SEMEAD/FEA/USP (pp. 1-16). São Paulo: USP.). Hence the instrument presents validity, reliability and accuracy.

Future studies should attempt to test the Entrepreneurial Potential Scale in other contexts and other languages, and measure broader validity parameters, allowing the use of this instrument in several places and encouraging its dissemination.

  • Financial support: Fundação de Apoio à Pesquisa do Estado de Alagoas (FAPEAL).

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Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    23 Feb 2017
  • Date of issue
    Apr-Jun 2017

History

  • Received
    25 Mar 2016
  • Accepted
    20 July 2016
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