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Determinants of Translating Entrepreneurial Intention to Action: A Study of Undergraduate Students of the University of Peradeniya


Entrepreneurs are the wealth creators of an economy, and hence, business start-ups are always encouraged. Although it is often suggested that entrepreneurial intentions are strong predictors of entrepreneurial action, all intentions do not necessarily translate into action as there is an “intention-action gap” when nascent entrepreneurs fail to act on their intentions. This study aimed to explain the gap between entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial action and identify the determinants of the intention to action translation by surveying the final year undergraduates from different degree programmes at a major public university in Sri Lanka. The research focused on the effects of demographic, psychographic, and environmental factors to explain the intention-action gap. Data were collected using a pre-tested self-administered questionnaire. The questionnaire was circulated online among the entire final year undergraduate student population of the University of Peradeniya. Four hundred and fifty-three undergraduate students (n=453) responded to the survey. Hierarchical OLS regression with the main effect model and an interactions model was used for the data analysis. Results found that of the respondents who had entrepreneurial intentions, 32% had taken some actions towards starting a business. The results also revealed a positive relationship between entrepreneurial intention and action and there were positive effects of gender, perceived competence in entrepreneurial skills, entrepreneurial environment in the faculty, and entrepreneurial education on entrepreneurial actions. Furthermore, it was found that progressing from entrepreneurial intention to action was more robust for male undergraduates compared to female undergraduates. Therefore, to promote entrepreneurship, introducing entrepreneurship courses, introducing programmes to improve entrepreneurial skills and competencies and promoting an entrepreneurial culture in the faculties could be recommended.

Keywords: Entrepreneurial Intention, Entrepreneurial Action, Hierarchical OLS Regression, Students