A comparative study of motivation and entrepreneurial intentionality: Chinese and American perspectives

Robert Plant, Jen Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


In this paper, we compare the intentionality of students in graduate business programs in the United States and China toward becoming entrepreneurs. We utilize Amabile's Work Preference Inventory (WPI) to examine the motivational dimension of entrepreneurial intentionality and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to compare the impact of gender and family history of self-employment on employment intentionality. Our results suggest there is a positive relationship with entrepreneurial intent in both the intrinsic challenge characteristic and extrinsic compensation characteristic. Results also suggest the intrinsic enjoyment characteristic and extrinsic outward characteristic are negatively correlated to self-employment. In addition, the study found that males in China exhibited a significantly greater intentionality toward self-employment than females did. We also found that entrepreneurial intentionality is stronger in the U.S. study group than in the China group for those with prior self-employment experience, as well as when they have a background that includes a family history of self-employment. However, when there is no family background of self-employment, the Chinese show greater intentionality to become self-employed than the group located in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-204
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Developmental Entrepreneurship
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • China
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Work Preference Inventory
  • self-employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Strategy and Management


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