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The relationship between individualism and entrepreneurial intention – a Finnish perspective

Teemu Rantanen (Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Vantaa, Finland)
Timo Toikko (School of Health Care and Social Work, Seinäjoki University of Applied Sciences, Seinäjoki, Finland)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 8 May 2017




This study aims to analyze the relationship between individualist values and entrepreneurial intentions. Previous surveys have shown that major national differences in entrepreneurial intentions can be observed within Europe and that part of this variation can be explained by cultural values, especially the individualism–collectivism dimension. However, previous findings about the relationship between individualism and entrepreneurship remain contradictory.


This study is a micro-level analysis of the influence of individualistic values. The theoretical framework of the study is based on the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1991, 2001) and theories of individualism advanced by Hofstede (1980) and Triandis and Gelfand (1998). The research data were gathered from a survey of Finnish students (N = 725).


The results show that the relationship between cultural values and entrepreneurial intention is very complex. In contrast to Hofstede (1980), the study assumes individualism and collectivism to be two separate and independent dimensions of cultural values, both of which have a positive, indirect effect on entrepreneurial intention by way of subjective norms and perceived control.

Practical implications

Both individualist and collectivist values promote entrepreneurial intentions. From this point of view, general citizenship education, which supports the development of young people’s cultural values, can be seen as a significant element in entrepreneurship education. This suggests an instance of holistic education, the aim of which is for individuals’ autonomy and contestability to be combined with community and collective responsibility.


The analysis of Triandis and Gelfand (1998) has not been systematically utilized in the previous studies on entrepreneurial intentions. The findings of this study address not only the influence of psychological factors over entrepreneurial intentions but also the impact of individualist and collectivist values. The results complement the results of previous studies.



Rantanen, T. and Toikko, T. (2017), "The relationship between individualism and entrepreneurial intention – a Finnish perspective", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 11 No. 2, pp. 289-306.



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