International Journal of Entrepreneurship (Print ISSN: 1099-9264; Online ISSN: 1939-4675)

Research Article: 2018 Vol: 22 Issue: 4

Impact of Social Networking Sites Use on Entrepreneurial Intention among Undergraduate Business Students: The Case of Saudi Arabia

Mahmoud Mohamed Alayis, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University

Nadia Abdelwahed, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University

Nermine Atteya, Madonna University


This paper investigates the impact of the use of Social Networking Sites (SNSs) on business undergraduate students' entrepreneurial inten tions in the Saudi context. The study is based on Shapero and Sokol's model of entrep reneurial intention and Ajzen's theory of planned behavior in measuring entrepreneur ial intention. A technology use and adoption and the technology acceptance model are used as the basis of the study model. The study questionnaire w as developed, validated, and distributed. The results of the study confirm the impact of SNS on students’ perc eived feasibility and partially support their impact on students' perceived desirabi lity. These remarkable findings have significant practical and academic im plications for policymakers and entrepreneurial education, such as how to di rect the use of new and popular communication and Internet technologies to foster entrepreneurship among the youth.


Entrepreneurial Intention, Social Networks Sites, Desirability, Feasibility, Students, Universities, Saudi Arabia.


Recently, there has been a surge of interest in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial intention as tools of national and international economic growth. Government and educational institutes have been paying significant intention to and putting focus on fostering entrepreneurship among the younger generation and potential entrepreneurs to encourage them to start their own companies. Recent studies have examined the factors behind the use of social media and Social Networking Sites (SNSs) as platforms for starting a new business. According to Kaplan and Haenlein (2010), SNSs are Internet-based applications and web 2.0 technologies that allow users to generate, amend, and produce content. Furthermore, today, social media and networking sites have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010) and have changed business and life practices (Hennig-Thurau et al., 2010). The intensity of social networking site usage and the growth in their popularity raises the question of whether social networking site usage increases entrepreneurial intention among young entrepreneurs as they recognize its power and potential. Bryer (2011) defines the adoption of social networking websites as the adoption of platforms to run and manage businesses that engender new business ideas and opportunities.

Although the use of the Internet has increased dramatically all over the world, in Saudi Arabia, there is little knowledge of its impact on entrepreneurship intention among young entrepreneurs. Nonetheless, SNSs, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, have become critical channels in the expansion of e-commerce (Brown et al., 2007; Chu and Kim, 2011). Furthermore, the development of social networking site usage and application has become obvious and current signs indicate continuous growth (Gaber and Wright, 2014). As a result of this growth, Nasir et al. (2017) point out that social media network websites have gained remarkable recognition among Internet users and have become a fundamental part of customers’ behaviour and everyday life. SNSs have turned out to be platforms for young entrepreneurs, for example, students who conduct entrepreneurial activities such as selling goods and services, and also network and connect with customers.

Nevertheless, there is not much known about the impact of the Internet and SNSs on an individual’s intention to start a new business. Thus, to understand entrepreneurial intention and the factors that drive the intention of future entrepreneurs to start a new business, this study attempts to assess the impact of social networks site usage on Saudi business students' intention towards entrepreneurship. The study uses Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) as a basis to measure entrepreneurial intention variables. In addition, the study employs IT adoption theories, for example, the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM1) by Davis et al. (1989), TAM2 by Venkatesh and Davis (2000), and the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) by Venkatesh et al. (2003), as the theoretical basis for the prognostic model used here. A quantitative survey was collected from undergraduate business students at Saudi universities in the eastern province. The findings of the hypothesis tests support Ajzen's (1991) entrepreneurial intention model as well as previous studies. However, in respect to the impact of social networking site usage on perceived desirability and feasibility, the study model is only partially supported, leaving room for further studies to investigate the nature of this impact using different sampling and research methods.

The rest of this paper presents the theoretical background of the study, the methodology, findings and a discussion, the implications and the conclusion.

Literature Review

Entrepreneurial Intention Models

Many researchers have discussed the concept of intention. Bird (1988) defines intentionality as a state inside the mind that shapes a person's interest in achieving his/her goals; then, internal interaction directs the person’s action through attention, which means that this opinion remains within the intellect and the person's acceptance of this opinion occurs via “selftalk”. In previous research, there is no stated consistent definition of entrepreneurship intention or a measure of it (Sweida and Reichard, 2013). Intention comes before action (Ajzen, 1991). Intention rather than attitude is considered a better determinant of behavior (Bagozzi et al., 1989; Bagozzi, 1981). By observing intention, planned behavior can be expected, not by understanding attitudes, beliefs and personality, or demographics, properties (Krueger et al., 2000).

Since the 1980s, entrepreneurship intention has been studied in the entrepreneurship literature. Shapero and Sokol (1982) provided one of the most famous models among intention studies called the Entrepreneurial Event Model (EEM). In addition, the Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), introduced by (Ajzen, 1991), discusses intention. The TPB proposes three antecedents of intention; these are: attitude toward the behaviour, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control (Ajzen, 1991; Ridha and Wahyu, 2017; Soomro and Shah, 2015). Moreover, the Shapero and Sokol (1982) model proposes perceived feasibility, likelihood to act, and perceived desirability as predictors of entrepreneurial intentions (Dabic et al., 2012; Urban and Kujinga, 2017).

In both Shapero and Sokol’s (1982) model and Ajzen's (1991), the element of perceived feasibility is similar to that of perceived behavioral control, and perceived desirability is similar to attitude towards the act (Dabic et al., 2012; Krueger and Brazeal, 1994). Both perceived feasibility and perceived behavioural control are compatible with self-efficacy (Krueger and Brazeal, 1994). Some studies suggest that high perceived feasibility or high perceived desirability may lead to high entrepreneurial intentions (Fitzsimmons and Douglas, 2011; Wang et al., 2011; Dabic et al., 2012). In addition, some previous studies investigate whether both perceived feasibility and perceived desirability have a positive influence and lead to strong entrepreneurial intentions (Krueger, 1993; Krueger and Brazeal, 1994; Fitzsimmons and Douglas, 2011). Such studies investigate the influence of interaction between perceived feasibility and perceived desirability on entrepreneurial intentions. In Schlaegel and Koenig's (2014) study, they compare the two models, Shapero and Sokol’s 1982 model (EEM) and Ajzen's 1991 model (TPB), in meta-analysis tests.

Factors Influencing the Development of Entrepreneurial Intentions

Intention is crucial for entrepreneurs to initiate ideas for their new ventures (Dutta et al., 2015). The creation or prevention of entrepreneurial intention depends on the perceptions of the individuals (Bhaskar and Garimella, 2017). The study of Bird (1988) explores some factors that influence intention, such as social, political, and economic factors, as well as the entrepreneurs' personal history, current personality, and abilities, and the entrepreneurs' rational, analytical cause-effect thinking and intuitive, holistic, and contextual thinking. Personal characteristics influencing the decision to start a new project, including creativity and risk-taking, have also been the focus of some early studies (Bhaskar and Garimella, 2017).

Some factors may have a positive effect on intention such as strong revenues, individual creativity, low market barriers or restrictions, and high independence; whereas other factors may have an adverse effect such as the capital of the project, little knowledge, and operational risks (Bhaskar and Garimella, 2017). Other studies have added factors to enhance a clear understanding of intention such as gender (Wilson et al., 2007; Van Gelderen et al., 2008; Haus et al., 2013; Díaz-García and Jiménez-Moreno, 2010; Sweida and Reichard, 2013; Miranda et al., 2017) and entrepreneurial education (Millman et al., 2010; Adekiya and Ibrahim, 2016; Dabic et al., 2012; Sánchez, 2013). Entrepreneurial education promotes university student interest in entrepreneurship, related knowledge and experience, and personal innovativeness in technology (Dutta et al., 2015). Furthermore, culture (Adekiya and Ibrahim 2016), work experience, parental role models, and personality traits have been recognized as predictors of intention (Adekiya and Ibrahim, 2016; Van Gelderen et al., 2008; Bhaskar and Garimella, 2017).

One of the factors used to predict entrepreneurial intention is entrepreneurial self-efficacy (Ajzen, 1991; Wilson et al., 2007; Díaz-García and Jiménez-Moreno, 2010; Krueger et al., 2000; Krueger and Brazeal, 1994). There is a difference between self-confidence and locus of control (Wilson et al., 2007). Self-Efficacy is defined as an individual's self-confidence in different situations. While locus of control, as a psychological variable that may affect the decision to start a new business (Bhaskar and Garimella, 2017), is the power of the person's actions in various situations the individual believes in (Wilson et al., 2007). According to the theory of planned behavior TPB and intentions, it is clear that perceived feasibility and perceived desirability affect the entrepreneurial intentions of the individual (Urban and Kujinga, 2017). Perceived desirability represents the factors that attract an individual to start a business, whether these factors are intrapersonal or extra-personal. While perceived feasibility represents the degree to which the individual feels comfortable beginning his/her project, taking into consideration attitudes and expected returns (Dabic et al., 2012; Krueger at al., 2000).

Based on the above discussion, the following hypothesizes are posited:

H1. Perceived desirability has a positive effect on entrepreneurial intentions.

H2. Perceived feasibility has a positive effect on entrepreneurial intention.

Social Networking Sites and Entrepreneurial Intention

In recent decades, the evolution of the Internet and SNS have changed the way in which people communicate and conduct business (Cooke and Buckley, 2008; Datis, 2014; Liu and Ying, 2010; Edosomwan et al., 2011). The SNS trend evolved and thrived during the 1970s, with such sites reaching their highest popularity in the 2000s as new forms of traditional offline human social networks and an offshoot of the Internet and computer technology era. Carton (2009) pointed out that over time, new technologies have been developed to make communications more efficient.

SNS are defined as custom websites and apps that allow for the interaction with other users or the ability to find other people with similar tastes, among other attributes. From an IT perspective, SNS are defined as social constructions in which technology influences communities, not only institutions, as well as a set of open web-based and user-friendly applications that enable users to network, share data, collaborate, and co-produce content (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Zheng and Zheng, 2014). In addition, Mayfield (2007) refers to SNS as a set of new types of online communication technologies, which are characterized by sharing and involvement, openness, exchanging information and chatting, groups of people, and connectedness. The idea of social networking is based on the fact that human beings tend to group socially with friends and other individuals who share the same interests or similar ideas. These groups of friends and followers on SNS can collaborate to produce art, ideas, thoughts, and business (Mayfield, 2007).

SNS, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Instagram, YouTube, and others, allow users to connect with each other by uploading personal information as well as posting photos, video, audio files, and profiles. In addition, users are able to invite acquaintances to access their profiles and exchange electronic-mail and instant messages (Kaplan and Haenlein, 2010; Kirakosyan, 2014). Furthermore, Usluel and Mazman (2009) refer to SNS as social media websites that facilitate group interactions, collaboration, social connections, and information exchange.

Kirakosyan (2014) noted that SNS could provide tools for a business’ rapid growth. As a result of their growing popularity, SNS have transformed business activities such as marketing, advertising, promotion, brand creation, and development, including as distribution channels (Hanna et al., 2011). In addition, there are many businesses that use SNS as important sources of information (Kirakosyan, 2014). Due to the recognized power of SNS and the applications, many nascent and young entrepreneurs and students use these website tools to operate their new businesses and spread their messages or test their products in new markets (Nasir et al., 2017).

Previous studies in the field, such as Liu and Ying (2010), assert that there is an increase in the recognition of the new social networking application technology. Therefore, companies make use of these technologies in many ways to develop their businesses such as online reputation management tools to raise awareness and build their brand. Furthermore, they use websites, such as LinkedIn, for recruiting and to improve their social capital. In addition, SNS are useful channels for entrepreneurs to learn about new technologies in their field and about their competitors as well as to discover and exploit opportunities. In his study, Hughes (2016) investigates the factors influencing entrepreneur intention to adopt social media as part of U.S. entrepreneurial activities. He found that the entrepreneurs with a strong Entrepreneurial Orientation (IEO) intended to increase their level of future entrepreneurial engagement and had more prior experience with social media and a stronger intent to adopt social media for use in their entrepreneurial activities. Seroka-Stolka and Tomski (2014) suggest that SNS utilization provide powerful tools that enable nascent entrepreneurs to reach out to not only national but also foreign contacts and to gather the required information easily.

The rapid growth of SNS popularity and intensive usage among the young raises the question of whether there is any impact of SNS usage on student inclination towards entrepreneurship. These websites empower users and give them the ability to access knowledge, resources, and social capital through their online relationships, which would be otherwise unavailable (Aldrich and Martinez, 2001; Burt, 2000; Hansen, 1995; Kirakosyan, 2014). Nevertheless, the adoption of SNS by nascent entrepreneurs may be influenced by many factors that may affect their intention towards entrepreneurship.

The reviewed literature on entrepreneurship reveals a lack of literature on SNS entrepreneurship specifically. However, the impact of SNS adoption on entrepreneurship intention may be assessed by applying the concepts and theories embedded in the IT-adoption literature. Based on the TAM (Davis et al., 1989), entrepreneurial intention to adopt social media, and factors that influence entrepreneurial intentions, this study identifies five factors deemed relevant for SNS influence on entrepreneur intention. These factors include perceived competitive usefulness (Hughes, 2016; Heinrichs et al., 2011), perceived ease of use (Ariff et al., 2014; Hughes, 2016; George et al., 2014; Venkatesh and Bala, 2008), perceived competitive pressure (Hughes 2016; Thong and Yap, 1995; Cragg and King, 1993; Harrison et al., 1997), perceived privacy risk (Hughes, 2016; Chai et al., 2011; Pavlou, 2003), and trust in social media sites (Brown et al., 2007; Hughes 2016; Chai et al., 2011). These five factors are considered the most likely to affect individual entrepreneurial intention to adopt SNS as a business platform for their entrepreneurial activities. Thus, these factors have been included to be tested here.

Therefore, the following is hypothesized:

H3: SNS usage has a significant effect on perceived desirability.

H3a: Perceived competitive usefulness of SNS has a significant effect on perceived desirability.

H3b: Perceived competitive pressure of SNS has a significant effect on perceived desirability.

H3c: Trust in SNS has a significant effect on perceived desirability.

H3d: Perceived ease of use of SNS has a significant effect on perceived desirability.

H3e: Perceived privacy risk of SNS has a significant effect on perceived desirability.

H4: SNS usage has a significant effect on perceived feasibility.

H4a: Perceived competitive usefulness of SNS has a significant effect on perceived feasibility.

H4b: Perceived competitive pressure of SNS has a significant effect on perceived feasibility.

H4c: Trust in SNS has a significant effect on perceived feasibility.

H4d: Perceived ease of use of SNS has a significant effect on perceived feasibility

H4e: Perceived privacy risk of SNS has a significant effect on perceived feasibility


This study’s aim is to contribute to the body of knowledge related to the intention of entrepreneurial individuals and the impact of SNS on their intentions to carry out entrepreneurial activities. Thus, the study investigates the impact of SNS on entrepreneurial intention among undergraduate business students in the Saudi context. It addresses the following questions:

1. To what extent does usage of SNSs impact undergraduate business students’ entrepreneurial intentions?

2. Do undergraduate business students appreciate the usefulness of SNSs for entrepreneurial activities?

3. Do negative perceptions about SNSs hinder undergraduate business students’ entrepreneurial intentions to start new businesses?

4. What factors influence undergraduate business students’ entrepreneurial intentions to employ SNSs in their entrepreneurial activities?


In light of previous studies, a structural model based on previous research is proposed (Figure 1) to examine the influence of the usage of SNS on university students’ entrepreneurial intentions in the Saudi context. This model is based on Shapero and Sokol's (1982) model of entrepreneurial intention and Ajzen's (1991) TPB, as both models overlap in terms of perceived desirability and perceived feasibility. In addition, according to the model of Krueger et al., (2000), perceived self-efficacy is considered a prerequisite of perceived feasibility. Thus, the model in this study consists of the entrepreneurial intentions of the students as the ultimate dependent variable measured through two main antecedents: perceived desirability and perceived feasibility.

Figure 1: Research Framework

The independent variable in this model is SNS usage measured by five main antecedents that affect technology use and adoption: Perceived Competitive Usefulness (PCU) and Perceived Ease Of Use (PEOU) related to the TAM (Davis, 1989:1993) and the UTAUT (Venkatesh et al., 2003; Hughes, 2016); Perceived Competitive Pressure (PCP) drawn from Premkumar et al. (1999) model; Perceived Privacy Risk (PPR) from Featherman et al. (2003) model; and Trust in Social Media (TRUST) extracted from Chai et al. (2011) model (Hughes, 2016) (Figure 1).

The questionnaire instrument was developed based on entrepreneurial intention questionnaires, which have been proven and tested in previous research. The instrument consists of four sections relating to intention and social media use. Validation procedures were employed in order to test the instrument and the scales. First, the questionnaire was reviewed by four independent expert colleagues. Second, the validation phase was a pilot test of the survey using a sample of 20 students, where the collected data were then cleaned and analysed; some questions were rephrased so that they were clear. Then, Cronbach’s α and exploratory factor analysis were conducted in order to check the internal consistency of the questions. As a result, the list was screened and the number of questions narrowed through standard validity and reliability testing. The remaining (31) items comprised the basis of the questionnaire in the main survey. Finally, a second validation phase of the survey data was done by applying Cronbach’s α and confirmatory factors analysis. The result of these validation tests was linked with the original pilot test leading to a correlation of 0.845. Therefore, a five-point scale ensured a high validity measurement of the individuals’ entrepreneurial intention for this study. The sample of this study was students in Saudi Arabia. The questionnaire used was first designed in English, slightly modified, and then carefully translated into Arabic by native speakers and back-translated in order to ensure accuracy and clarity of meaning. The translation was pre-tested with business and technical students at the Faculty of Applied Sciences and Community Service in Imam Abdul Alruhman Bin Faisal University and proved to be both comprehensible and clear.

Lüthje and Franke (2003) suggest that focus should be placed on the antecedents of students’ entrepreneurial intention since more information can be obtained from current students who consider an entrepreneurial career than from graduates who already have their businesses up and running. Information about undergraduates' attitude towards entrepreneurship may help foster and cultivate founding business spirit among students. Thus, the population consisted of undergraduate business students at Saudi Universities in the eastern province. Respondents were randomly selected according to their proportion at these universities. The respondents were students in various fields, for example, business administration, information system, financial management, accounting, and marketing.

In the beginning, researchers made sure that the participants were provided with information about the main topic of the survey and its aim and were re-informed that their contribution was voluntary and their answers would remain anonymous. Then, printed copies of the questionnaire were distributed to them and they were provided a few basic directions for completing it. In the end, approximately 772 questionnaires were received with a total number of valid questionnaires of 754. Some questionnaires (18) had to be disqualified due to incomplete information. The data were analyzed using SPSS and AMOS software. The respondent descriptive analysis and information are shown in Table 1.


Table 1 shows that the sample included 327 male (43.4%) and 427 female (56.6%) students. In regard to age, approximately 65% of the students were between 18 and 21 years old. The rest of the students were 22 to 30 years old. One part of the questionnaire asked about using SNSs. When respondents were asked how long they had been using SNSs, most said for more than three years (93%). In addition, the research examined the amount of time users spent daily on SNS. It found that about 42% of the respondents spent three to six hours per day on SNSs, with about 30% of them spending from 3 to 6 hours per day on SNSs.

Statistics Descriptive
Characteristics Total Sample Male Female
Sex 754 327 427
(%) 100 43.4 56.6
Age (%)      
Between 18 and less than 22 64.50% 53.5 72.8
Between 22 and less than 30 35.50% 46.5 26.9
How long have you been using S.N.S? (%)      
Less than 6 months 0.9 1.2 0.7
Between 6 months and less than 1 year 0.9 0.9 0.9
Between 1 year and less than 3 year 5.7 6.4 5.2
More than 3 year 92.4 91.4 93.2
Time spend daily on S.N.S (%)      
Less than 3 hours 12.6 16.5 9.6
Between 3 hours and less than 6 hours 41.8 42.2 41.5
Between 6 hours and less than 9 hours 28.1 26.3 29.5
More than 9 hours 17.5 15 19.4
Number of contacts/friends having on S.N.S (%)      
Less than 100 friends 30.8 26 34.4
Between 100 friends and less than 300 friends 31.2 27.5 34
Between 300 friends and less than 500 friends 16.7 16.2 17.1
Between 500 friends and less than 1000 friends 10.6 13.5 8.4
More than 1000 friends 10.7 16.8 6.1
Do you accept strangers who try to friend you in S.N.S (%)      
Yes 25.2 29.4 22
No 21.4 14.7 26.5
Sometimes 53.4 56 51.5

Table 2 shows the reasons the respondents were using SNS. The respondents said they used SNS for communicating with family and friends, searching for information, making new friends, representing 78.4%, 77.6%, 41.1% of the sample, respectively.

Table 2
Reasons Of Using S.N.S
The reasons for using S.N.S Total Male Female
Yes No Yes No Yes No
Searching for information (%) 77.6 22.4 81.3 18.7 74.7 25.3
Playing e-games (%) 37 63 44 56 31.6 68.4
Forming professional relationships with the business environment (%) 26.9 73.1 31.2 68.8 23.7 76.3
Communicating with family and friends (%) 78.4 21.6 79.5 20.5 77.5 22.5
Making new friends (%) 41.1 58.9 45.6 54.4 37.7 62.3
Getting feedback (%) 35.5 64.5 38.5 61.5 33.3 66.7
Posting videos, photos …etc (%) 37.7 62.3 36.7 63.3 38.4 61.6
Sharing my experience (%) 18.3 81.7 16.2 83.8 19.9 80.1

Tables 3 A-C shows the most popular SNSs among the Saudi business school students. Snapchat Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter were among the most commonly used sites, with some variations in gender usage for these same sites; with more males using YouTube and more females Snapchat. MySpace, Digg, Salesforce Chatter, Flickr, Reddit, and Templer were among the least commonly used sites among the respondents in our sample.

Table 3A
Access To S.N.Ss
How often do you access your business and/or social networking accounts Total
Never Monthly Weekly Daily Hourly
Twitter 10.7 9.9 20.8 39.8 18.7
Facebook 79.6 12.6 5.6 2 0.3
YouTube 2.9 5.3 23.2 59.5 9
Google+ 44 12.2 13.8 26.3 3.7
LinkedIn 90.2 5.4 2.1 1.3 0.9
Snapchat 17.8 1.7 3.4 35.3 41.8
Instagram 7.6 4.8 13.5 49.2 24.7
Salesforce Chatter 98.4 0.9 0.1 0.4 0.1
Skype 87.7 10.1 1.7 0.4 0.1
MySpace 99.3 0.5 0.1 0 0
path 91.2 1.6 0.8 3.1 3.3
Digg 99.2 0.5 0.1 0.1 0
Flickr 97.9 1.5 0.5 0.1 0
Reddit 97.1 2 0.5 0.4 0
Tumblr 97.1 0.4 0.5 1.5 0.5
Table 3B
Access To S.N.Ss
How often do you access your business and/or social networking accounts Male
Never Monthly Weekly Daily Hourly
Twitter 10.1 8.3 17.4 42.2 22
Facebook 70.3 19.3 8 2.1 0.3
YouTube 1.5 4.3 18.3 63.3 12.5
Google+ 44.3 15.3 15.6 21.4 3.4
LinkedIn 91.4 5.8 1.8 0.3 0.6
Snapchat 3.1 2.4 4.3 34.9 55.4
Instagram 5.8 6.1 15 44 28.7
Salesforce Chatter 99.1 0.6 0.3 0 0
Skype 82.6 14.7 1.8 0.6 0.3
MySpace 99.1 0.6 0.3 0 0
path 90.2 0.9 0.3 2.4 6.1
Digg 98.8 0.6 0.3 0.3 0
Flickr 96.9 1.5 1.2 0.3 0
Reddit 95.1 3.1 0.9 0.9 0
Tumblr 98.8 0.3 0.3 0.6 0
Table 3C
Access To S.N.Ss
How often do you access your business and/or social networking accounts Female
Never Monthly Weekly Daily Hourly
Twitter 11.2 11.2 23.4 37.9 16.2
Facebook 86.7 7.5 3.7 1.9 0.2
YouTube 4 6.1 26.9 56.7 6.3
Google+ 43.8 9.8 12.4 30 4
LinkedIn 89.2 5.2 2.3 2.1 1.2
Snapchat 29 1.2 2.8 35.6 31.4
Instagram 8.9 3.7 12.4 53.2 21.5
Salesforce Chatter 97.9 1.2 0.7 0.2 0
Skype 91.6 6.6 1.6 0.2 0
MySpace 99.5 0.5 0 0 0
path 92 2.1 1.2 3.5 1.2
Digg 99.5 0.5 0 0 0
Flickr 98.6 1.4 0 0 0
Reddit 98.6 1.2 0.2 0 0
Tumblr 95.8 0.7 0.7 2.3 0.5

Factor Analysis of Entrepreneurial Intention, Its Drivers and SNS Use Factors

Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA) was conducted to understand the construct variables of entrepreneurial intention, the drivers, and SNS usage variables, and to assess the structure of the observed measures for the five independent variables and the other variables. The study use Amos 24 to carry out the EFA with maximum likelihood as the estimation method. All measurement items were examined for assumptions of factor analysis such as normality, sufficient correlations, and impact of influential observations (Hair et al., 1998). In total, there were 27 items. The researchers excluded during the EFA three weak items and seven factors were extracted from these 24 items using the method of maximum likelihood analysis and rotation method of Promax, with criteria of eigenvalues greater than one (Table 4).

Table 4
Validity And Reliability Results
Construct Items Factor Loading Total variance explained by construct Cronbach’s α
Entrepreneurial Intention Starting my own Business sounds attractive to me. 0.962 51.95 0.809
I would be enthusiastic about running a business. 0.725
Have you ever considered founding your own firm? 0.557
I would love to run my own business. 0.535
Nothing is more exciting than seeing my ideas turn into reality. 0.488
I would rather found a new venture than be the manager of an existing one. 0.475
Perceived Feasibility It would be very easy to do. 0.727 54.73 0.601
I am certain that I would be successful. 0.354
I know enough to start a business. 0.344
Perceived I would love to be an entrepreneur. 0.869 75.54 0.67
Desirability I trust myself. 0.432
Perceived Using social media will increase my productivity as an entrepreneur. 0.96 63.35 0.853
Usefulness of S.N.S use Using social media will enhance my effectiveness as an entrepreneur. 0.949
Using social media will improve my performance as an entrepreneur. 0.707
I will find social media useful in my entrepreneurial activities. 0.598
I find it easy to get social media to do what I want it to do. 0.353
Competitive Pressure of S.N.S use I feel it is a strategic necessity to use social media to compete in the marketplace. 0.826 62.81 0.685
I believe I will lose customers/supporters to my competitors if I do not adopt social media in my entrepreneurial activities. 0.566
Assuming I have access to social media, I intend to use it in my entrepreneurial activities. 0.523
Trust of S.N.S use Social media users are truthful in dealing with one another. 0.768 75.25 0.671
The knowledge that comes from social media users is trustworthy. 0.639 46.45
Privacy & Ease of use I think privacy policies are effective in social networking sites. 0.477 0.421
I think social networking sites are important. 0.48
I find social media to be easy to use. 0.41

Testing Student Entrepreneurial Intention-SNS Usage Model with SEM

There are several main considerations in interpreting the analysed results. One is the importance of intention in demonstrating and forecasting behaviour. In addition, the fit of the models relates to entrepreneurial intention and SNS usage. The primary objective of the study is to test a model relating the dependent variable (student entrepreneurial intention) to the predictors (perceived feasibility and perceived desirability); in addition, the model tests the impact of SNS usage on perceived feasibility and perceived desirability. The Structural Equation Model (SEM) is used to test the model.

The model here is consistent with Shapero and Sokol's (1982), testing the influence of perceived feasibility and perceived desirability on the development of entrepreneurial intentions, including the presence of a new variable in this model: "social networking sites usage." Many researchers encourage using multiple indexes for model overall fit (Solymossy, 1998; Tanaka, 1993). However, there is no agreement at present on what is the best indicator of overall fit of the SEM (Hair et al., 1998), yet, the results should fit the SEM. In our study, we evaluate the fit of the model by multiple criteria such as the Comparative Fit Index (CFI), the normed fit index (NFI), the Goodness of Fit Index (GFI), the Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI), the RMSEA HI 90, and Degrees of Freedom (DF). Those indicators are shown in Table 5, while Figure 2 shows the hypothesized model for sample responses with the standardized path estimation. As shown in Table 5, the model offers good overall fit and is suitable for interpretation. In reference to Hair et al. (1998), all indexes come close to the acceptable range, except for RMSEA and RMSEA HI 90. The value of χ2 is 556.513 with degrees of freedom 4.

Figure 2: Results Of Entrepreneurial Intention-Sns Usage Model

Table 5
Fitness Statistics For The Model
Hypothesized Model 556.513 4 0.842 0.428 0.459 0.82 0.82 0.326

The SEM path analysis was not run with perceived ease of use and perceived privacy. Once they were excluded, the model was run. The SEM path analysis generates regression weights to test the hypotheses, as shown in Table 6. The effects hypothesized by H1, H2, H3a, H4a, H4b, H4c were significant at p>0.001 level, whereas H3b and H3c were not significant.

Table 6
Regression Weights For Entrepreneurial Intention-Sns Usage Model
Hypotheses Relationship Estimate S.E. C.R. P Supported
H1 Int <--- Desir 0.547 0.011 50.812 - Yes
H2 Int <--- Feasi 0.668 0.018 37.846 - Yes
H3a Desir <--- Useful 0.236 0.047 5.046 - Yes
H3b Desir <--- Comp 0.102 0.063 1.631 0.103 No
H3c Desir <--- Trust -0.042 0.041 -1.017 0.309 No
H4a Feasi <--- Useful 0.133 0.027 4.895 - Yes
H4b Feasi <--- Comp 0.126 0.036 3.463 - Yes
H4c Feasi <--- Trust 0.123 0.024 5.101 - Yes

Perceived desirability and Perceived feasibility had a significant effect on entrepreneurial intentions. In addition, perceived competitive usefulness of SNS had a significant effect on perceived desirability at p>0.001. Neither competitive pressure nor trust in SNS was significant in explaining variations in desirability (p=0.103, and 0.309, respectively). However, perceived competitive usefulness, competitive pressure, and trust in SNS had a significant effect on perceived feasibility at p>0.001.


This study examines the influence of social networking use among students on their entrepreneurial intention. The suggested study model presents a framework for understanding the impact of the new communication technology and networking on young entrepreneurs’ intent to run their own businesses based on the advantages provided by these technologies. The findings show that the proposed hypotheses H1 and H2 are supported. That result is consistent with previous Entrepreneurial Intention (EI) models in the context of Saudi Arabia. The significant relationship between perceived desirability and perceived feasibility and EI, respectively, not only confirms the results of previous studies based on the TPB model by Ajzen (1991) and the model by Krueger et al. (2000) but also ensures the validation of these models across different cultures and contexts. The findings also collaborate the results of various studies of universities in other regions of Saudi Arabia, for example, Aloulou (2016), Ali (2016), Almobaireek and Manolova (2012), and Naushad (2018), as well as similar studies in other Arabian countries in the Middle East, for example, Al-Bakri, and Mehrez (2017) and Hattab, (2014). Thus, the study affirms the generalizability and applicability of the EI models in measuring entrepreneurial students’ intention in the Saudi context.

In respect to SNS, the results from the hypothesis testing show that four (H3a, H4a, H4b, and H4c) out of six hypotheses were supported, while two (H3b, and H3c) were rejected. That is, the study model is partially supported concerning the impact of social media on students' entrepreneurial intentions. The hypotheses tests indicate that the perceived competitive usefulness of SNS has a significant effect on perceived desirability; however, there is no significant impact of competitive pressure and trust in SNS on the perceived desirability affecting students’ entrepreneurial intention. In other words, the perceived competitive usefulness of SNS may increase Saudi business students’ entrepreneurial intentions. However, perceived competitiveness pressure and perceived trust in SNSs have no impact on Saudi business students’ inclination towards entrepreneurship activities. These results are associated with previous IT and social media intent research such as Davis et al. (1989) and Cho & Sagynov (2015). On the other hand, the findings are not consistent with Hughes (2016), where perceived competitive usefulness of social networks sites seems to be a pull factor for entrepreneurial intention to gain market share for nascent entrepreneurs. In contrast to previous research, such as Lorenzo-Romero et al. (2013) and Hughes (2016), this research suggests that negative perceptions of trust in SNS’ and competitive pressure are serious impediments to foster students’ entrepreneurial intention. Thus, this may call for further investigation on the impact of SNS’ trust and competitive pressure on perceived entrepreneurial desirability.

In addition, the results indicate SNS usage has a significant impact on students' intention towards entrepreneurship through its influence on perceived feasibility. This is also consistent with previous IT adoption research such as Mahapatra (2016), Van Slyke et al. (2004) Corritore et al. (2005), Shen (2008), Stern et al. (2008), and Melville et al. (2004). However, it contrasts with previous studies such as Hughes (2016), as among the factors influencing entrepreneurs’ intention to adopt social media in their activities only perceived competitive usefulness influenced entrepreneurial intention to adopt social media, while perceived competitive pressure and trust were not perceived to be significant factors or motivators for entrepreneurs’ intention and activities. This implies that SNS do facilitate and encourage entrepreneurial activities among young entrepreneurs. Thus, this intention can be fostered among student entrepreneurs by improving SNS security and Internet policies.


The findings here have important implications for policymakers and entrepreneurial education. SNS are acknowledged as powerful, useful, low-cost platforms for young entrepreneurs to run new businesses. The results suggest that student entrepreneurial intention is influenced by SNS usage and the understanding of these sites as tools and platforms to practice and launch entrepreneurial activities. However, such intentions are constrained by perceptions of trust and competitive pressure; thus, this implies that more security programs, cyber education, and training would foster and promote entrepreneurship activities among young entrepreneurs.

Limitations And Suggestions For Future Research

The findings of this study contribute to both the fields of IT adoption and entrepreneurship. It differs from previous studies in that it examines whether SNS and their intensive use have an impact on business students' intention towards entrepreneurial activities as they recognize their usefulness and power. However, due to the novelty of this field of study, it has certain limitations. The data collection of the study based on a sample of undergraduate business students tends to be homogeneous regarding SNS use, education, age, and entrepreneurship activities. Thus, further studies could include other respondents from other disciplines, which may provide a more comprehensive understanding of the influence of SNS usage on entrepreneurship intention among students. In addition, it is recommended that conducting a comparative study that includes a group of current entrepreneurs could provide further explanation of the impact of SNS on the entrepreneurial intention. Thus, the study findings raise the need for further studies using different methodologies such as longitudinal and qualitative methods to gain a more profound understanding of the impact of SNS on youth entrepreneurial intention. Moreover, a comparative study could assess the results across different contexts and cultures to understand differences based on differences in settings. Also, a comparative study on the effects of the social media on the entrepreneurial intentions can be conducted in a developed and developing country to test the same hypothesis but in different economic settings and the underlying factors. In addition, deep understanding can be achieved by carrying out an exploratory study to test the effects of culture on the youth entrepreneurial intentions. Furthermore, an exploratory study can be carried out to examine the effects of the social media use on the youth entrepreneurial intentions in various cultures.