Entrepreneurial intentions in a nation of employees

Lars Peter Nielsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates the cross-­‐national differences in entrepreneurial intentions by focusing on the motivations influencing the decision to become entrepreneur. The positive effects of entrepreneurship on a society emphasize why entrepreneurial intentions are important. The research is divided into two parts covering the two forms of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. The intrinsic motivations from one’s self is explored in the context of national culture, where differences in personal values make the culture more or less inclined of entrepreneurship. Extrinsic motivations as incentives, are external rewards related to the entrepreneurial occupation and are compared to the rewards from employment. The culture and incentives are objects for comparing the conditions in Denmark, where the entrepreneurial intentions are lowest, with the conditions in neighbouring countries Sweden and Germany. The three entrepreneurial values, Self-­‐Direction, Stimulation and Achievement, are not all present in the Danish culture. Self-­‐Direction covering motives of independence and creativity is highly preferred, whereas motives of Stimulation (daring and varied life) and Achievement (ambition and personal success) are missing in the Danish culture. The feminine characteristic of the Danish culture contributes to explain the low entrepreneurial intentions. Sweden has a similarly culture, however Germans rate motives of Achievement higher and the culture is masculine, possibly explaining the higher entrepreneurial intentions in Germany. Investigating the income and working conditions in the employment position as opportunity cost of entrepreneurship, reveal that the Danes experience relatively high opportunity costs, decreasing the entrepreneur intentions. Additionally, entrepreneurial activities in the Danish workplaces keep potential entrepreneurs in the secure employment occupation. Sweden has lower opportunity costs of entrepreneurship caused by lower incomes and relatively worse working conditions in the employment position, explaining the higher entrepreneurial intentions in Sweden. Germany with worse working conditions in the employment occupation, has lower opportunity costs of entrepreneurship than Denmark.

EducationsMSc in Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages94