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Psychological capital and entrepreneurship: gender differences

Mercedes Villanueva-Flores (Cadiz University Bay of Algeciras Campus, Algeciras, Spain)
Mirta Diaz-Fernandez (Pablo de Olavide University, Sevilla, Spain)
Dara Hernandez-Roque (Cadiz University Bay of Algeciras Campus, Algeciras, Spain)
Marloes van Engen (Tilburg University, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 10 March 2021

Issue publication date: 3 April 2021




This study aims to examine whether the psychological capital of male and female university students explains the intention to undertake entrepreneurism. Following Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour, the aim was to study whether perceived behavioural control and subjective norms influence entrepreneurial intention and if subjective norms moderate established relationships, in both genders.


Structural equation modelling and analysis of variance was applied to test the hypotheses amongst students at a Spanish university.


The results showed that gender differences in psychological capital, in perceived behavioural control and in subjective norms existed between the male and female population, which explain gender differences in entrepreneurial intention. Similarly, subjective norms acted as a moderator in the relationship between psychological capital, the perceived behavioural control and entrepreneurial intention, with the moderating impact being higher on the female population.

Practical implications

The results obtained in this paper indicate that developing perceived behavioural control and the psychological capital of university students in training programmes of male and female students helps to promote their entrepreneurial intention. Similarly, the results suggest that building a support network, for instance of family and groups of friends is key to fostering entrepreneurial intention, particularly for women.


Entrepreneurship is key to the successful employability of current and future generations in the labour market. This study examined key antecedents of student’s entrepreneurial intention and how these are gendered. For both men and women (investing in) psychological capital is important. Informal social support was shown to play a key role in women’s entrepreneurial intention.



Villanueva-Flores, M., Diaz-Fernandez, M., Hernandez-Roque, D. and van Engen, M. (2021), "Psychological capital and entrepreneurship: gender differences", Gender in Management, Vol. 36 No. 3, pp. 410-429.



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