Original Research

The association between emotional intelligence and entrepreneurship as a career choice: A study on university students in South Africa

Michelle Kanonuhwa, Ellen C. Rungani, Tendai Chimucheka
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a907 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.907 | © 2018 Michelle Kanonuhwa, Ellen C. Rungani, Tendai Chimucheka | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 January 2017 | Published: 05 April 2018

About the author(s)

Michelle Kanonuhwa, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Ellen C. Rungani, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
Tendai Chimucheka, Department of Business Management, University of Fort Hare, South Africa


Orientation: To examine the effects of emotional intelligence on the development of entrepreneurial intentions of university students.

Research purpose: To determine whether emotional intelligence is a crucial antecedent of entrepreneurial intention to encourage entrepreneurial behaviour.

Motivation of the study: By identifying all the factors that encourage entrepreneurial behaviour, policymakers and concerned stakeholders are better equipped to improve such behaviour and guarantee its success, thereby alleviating unemployment more effectively.

Research design, approach and method: A positivist paradigm was used and a quantitative design used self-administered questionnaires to assess the respondents’ emotional intelligence and their intentions to start businesses. Multiple regressions and correlations were computed to test the hypotheses.

Main findings: The findings revealed that there is a direct association between emotional intelligence and entrepreneurial intention, with the strongest association recorded between regulation of emotion and entrepreneurial intention and the least significant association between use of emotion and entrepreneurial intention.

Practical implications: Although entrepreneurship education is important, it needs to be restructured to incorporate the practical aspects. Furthermore, educators should create a learning environment that could encourage the effective expression and use of emotions to nurture emotional intelligence.

Contribution: This article is of particular value to policymakers and educators looking for ways to improve entrepreneurial effectiveness and implementation as well as scholars contemplating entrepreneurship as a career option.


entrepreneurship; emotional intelligence; entrepreneurial intention


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Crossref Citations

1. Evaluation of Medical College Students’ Entrepreneurial Skills and Its Relationship with Social Intelligence
Jin Wu, Linze Wu
Open Journal of Social Sciences  vol: 07  issue: 04  first page: 13  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4236/jss.2019.74002