What Drives Engineering Students To Be Entrepreneurs? Evidence of Validity for an Entrepreneurial Motivation Scale

Soohyun Yi, Nathalie Duval-Couetil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Educators and policymakers are increasingly interested in making entrepreneurship education accessible to engineering students given engineers' potential contributions to innovation and the economy. However, what motivates engineering students to choose entrepreneurial careers and how this could be influenced through education have not been fully explored in the literature. Purpose: The study develops and tests an entrepreneurial motivation scale for engineering students. It required providing initial evidence of validity for the scale based on guidelines for developing educational and psychological tests. Design/Method: Following a comprehensive literature review, we chose to modify an existing scale and administer it to engineering students. Here we present two sources of evidence of validity for examining how entrepreneurial motivation relates to variables commonly used to measure the impact of entrepreneurship education. They were developed by examining factor structure and psychometric properties as well as conducting mediation analysis. Results: Data obtained from 460 engineering students supported three factors underlying the construct of entrepreneurial motivation: Motivation for Creation and Solution (MCS), Motivation for Personal Interests (MPS), and Managerial Motivation (MM). MCS and MM effectively explained intention to become an entrepreneur with mediation effects of venturing and technology self-efficacy. Conclusion: These findings resulted in a more parsimonious categorization of factors underlying the construct of entrepreneurial motivation than identified in prior studies, providing a foundational understanding of entrepreneurial motivation among engineering students. The results can be useful in assessment, research, and/or policy decisions related to delivering entrepreneurship education to engineering students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-317
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Engineering Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2018


  • entrepreneurship
  • factor analysis
  • motivation
  • structural equation modeling
  • validity


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