Original Research

The bidirectional relationship between entrepreneurial intention and entrepreneurial competencies for nascent and existing entrepreneurs

Melodi Botha, Amorie Taljaard
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 22, No 1 | a2230 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v22i1.2230 | © 2019 Melodi Botha, Amorie Taljaard | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 November 2017 | Published: 29 May 2019

About the author(s)

Melodi Botha, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Amorie Taljaard, Department of Business Management, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Although many scholars focus their research efforts on predicting entrepreneurial intention, these scholars have not determined the bidirectional relationship between entrepreneurial intention and competencies.

Aim: This article investigates whether entrepreneurial intention and various individual entrepreneurial competencies influence each other. The human agency and social cognitive theories suggest that these constructs have bidirectional relationships. Furthermore, the direction and strength of these relationships are established.

Setting: Results from a sample of 342 nascent and existing entrepreneurs from South Africa are drawn.

Method: A quantitative research study is undertaken and structural equation modelling conducted. As far as could be determined, this study is the first to test the model fit between entrepreneurial intention and the individual entrepreneurial competencies in one model.

Results: The findings provide evidence of a bidirectional relationship between entrepreneurial intention and various entrepreneurial competencies, and the outcome thereof might lead to an increased business start-up. The strongest positive relationships were observed between entrepreneurial intention and self-efficacy, opportunity recognition, conveying a compelling vision, value creation through innovation (observing customer usage) and perseverance. Previous scholars confirmed that self-efficacy is a strong predictor of entrepreneurial intention. The article found a moderate positive significant bidirectional relationship between entrepreneurial intention and self-efficacy.

Conclusion: The findings could assist policy-makers, educators, as well as potential, nascent and start-up entrepreneurs with the understanding that these specific entrepreneurial competencies are necessary for a successful business venture or for moving to the next stage of the venture life cycle. In addition to the previously mentioned practical implications, this study also shows educators, policy-makers and academics that they need to adapt their entrepreneurial training programmes to ensure that self-efficacy and entrepreneurial intention are taught simultaneously as these constructs influence each other.


Entrepreneurial intention; individual entrepreneurial competencies; bidirectional relationship; self-efficacy; nascent and existing entrepreneurs.


Total abstract views: 2831
Total article views: 4111


Crossref Citations

1. The impact of entrepreneurship education on tourism students’ entrepreneurial intention in South Africa
Sibusiso D. Ntshangase, Ikechukwu O. Ezeuduji
Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism  vol: 23  issue: 3  first page: 287  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1080/15313220.2022.2132343