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Perceived social norms, psychological capital and entrepreneurial intention among undergraduate students in Bukavu

Akilimali Ndatabaye Ephrem (Université Officielle de Bukavu, Bukavu, The Democratic Republic of the Congo)
Rebecca Namatovu (Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda)
Edith Mwebaza Basalirwa (Makerere University Business School, Kampala, Uganda)

Education + Training

ISSN: 0040-0912

Article publication date: 3 May 2019

Issue publication date: 13 August 2019




Entrepreneurship is important for economic growth, through its role in the provision of employment. In the recent past, a number of African universities have developed entrepreneurship education courses to facilitate the growing demand for entrepreneurs in the market. An immediate outcome anticipated from entrepreneurship education is to increase entrepreneurial intention (EI) among the participants. Unfortunately, most of the entrepreneurship education in developing economies has not been linked to an increase in the EI of students. This paper thus proposes that it is when students possess high levels of psychological capital and perceive positive social norms that entrepreneurship education will lead to positive EI. The purpose of this paper is to establish the relationship between perceived social norms (PSN), psychological capital and EI of university students.


Quantitative data were collected through a self-administered questionnaire on a random sample of 196 final year entrepreneurship and business management students, from three universities in Bukavu (East of DRC). Structural equation modeling was used to test the research hypotheses.


The paper provides four main findings. First, PSN and psychological capital have a positive significant effect on EI. Second, PSN contribute more to this effect than psychological capital. Third, PSN make a positive and significant effect on psychological capital. Lastly, psychological capital positively mediates the relationship between PSN and EI.

Research limitations/implications

This study could have benefited from a qualitative approach to have a more in-depth explanation of these relationships. The study is conducted amongst students who operate in a controlled environment. This may not reflect the actual behavior of entrepreneurs.

Practical implications

This work provides cues of what entrepreneurship educators should consider as they recruit and train students. Specifically, the study highlights the importance of students’ psychological capital and positive social norms in transforming entrepreneurial education into intention.


This study adds value to knowledge by highlighting the mediating role of psychological capital on the relationship between PSN and EI.



The first author is immensely grateful for the generous financial support from Förderverein Uni Kinshasa e.V, through the BEBUC scholarship program. This work is the view of the authors and cannot be used against Förderverein Uni Kinshasa e.V.


Ephrem, A.N., Namatovu, R. and Basalirwa, E.M. (2019), "Perceived social norms, psychological capital and entrepreneurial intention among undergraduate students in Bukavu", Education + Training, Vol. 61 No. 7/8, pp. 963-983.



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