American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2013, 3, 746-753
Published Online December 2013 (
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Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case
Jamel Choukir1, Mouna Baccour Hentati2
1Business Administration Department, Al-Imam University, Riyadh, KSA; 2École Supérieure de Commerce de Sfax, Sfax, Tunisia.
Received October 31st, 2013; revised November 30th, 2013; accepted December 7th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Jamel Choukir, Mouna Baccour Hentati. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons
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properly cited. In accordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights © 2013 are reserved for SCIRP and the
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as a guardian.
The entrepreneurship option was launched in Tunisia nearly one decade ago. The firm creation process seemed to be
initiated especially to absorb the increasing number of undergraduates and graduates. Therefore, the main aim of the
present research is to highlight the entrepreneurship motivation as a social issue and to understand the link existing be-
tween motivator factors and economic and social success. Hence, a survey by questionnaire was conducted based on
100 respondents representing Tunisian entrepreneurs. The results revealed that there are links between motivator factors
and entrepreneurship as well as some ties between entrepreneurship, motivator factors and the antecedents, especially
concerning gender, age and family background. The results have shown some differences existing between male and
female entrepreneurs. Male entrepreneurs’ motivator factors are in the same importance with push and pull ones. Fe-
male entrepreneurs’ motivator factors are rather emotional. These results are statistically significance. Thus, the finding
would be useful for the stakeholders to understand the entrepreneurship dynamic.
Keywords: Motivation; Entrepreneurship; Emotion; Gender
1. Introduction
Several studies have examined the women’s moti-
vation to become entrepreneurs [1-4]. Some highlighted
psychological reasons (personality), while others pointed
sociological (constraints, incentives) ones. Reflecting
these different attitudes point of view emphasis, a key
point of debate emerges concerning the different types of
motivator factors such as “pulled”, “pushed”, intrinsic,
extrinsic, mixed. Three groups of motivations emerged
from research conducted in Canada, the US and Great
It is worth wondering here, which motivator factors
seem to be the major determinant for Tunisian’s to
become entrepreneurs? How prevalent are these moti-
vations operating in Tunisian context? What motivates
Tunisian entrepreneurs to start their own business?
Our study sample was mixed regarding both women
and men. It was composed of 100 entrepreneurs. The
respondents are operating business or entrepreneurs for at
least 3 years. Literature has shown that the 3-year period
represents and reflects that the new company is over-
taking the main critical steps. In order to evaluate the
situation in the Tunisian context, the analysis of this
article draws data to address several questions about the
prevalence of various motivations for Tunisian entre-
preneurs, the differences between women and men and
the links existing between motivation and their economic
and social success. The measures used in the analysis are
the ability to escape salary carrier and the ability to
create own employment and to respond to independence
need or balance need.
This paper is organized as follows. In the next section,
we discuss the entrepreneurship motivation. Section three,
we outline the methodology used in this research.
Subsequently, we report and discuss the results. Finally,
we conclude and suggest new directions for future
2. Research Background
The most important studies in motivation put a great
emphasis on the “pull” and “push” factors. In fact, lack
of studies on entrepreneurship motivation in the Tunisian
context is not the only reason for exploring and treating
this phenomenon. We argue that there are four kinds of
Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case 747
motivating factors, some as which are more studied and
well known than others. Hence, our literature review
which highlights, the emotional side and factors that
which are different and specific.
Emotions have become one of the most popular areas
within organizational scholarship. The integrated frame-
work includes different processes explained by previous
theorists. The emotional process begins with a focal
individual who is exposed to an eliciting stimulus for
him/her meaning and experiences a feeling as well as
some physiological changes, with downstream conse-
quences for attitudes, behaviours and cognitions.
Researchers now revealed the infusion of emotion into
organizational life [5], with implications on individual or
to group, and even firm performance, as well as intricate
connections to organizational phenomena as varied as
justice, diversity, power, creativity, stress, culture, and
others. One question, then, is how to articulate bound-
aries because for emotion to mean anything, it can not
mean everything. Another question is how to integrate
the study of emotion into a coherent whole?
Researchers have proposed a wide variety of numerous
definitions; the most widely adopted that is depicting that
emotions are adaptive responses to the environmental
requirements [6-8]. However, [5] argued that there is no
tautological formal definition of emotion. Most theorists
agree that emotion is a reaction or response to a stimulus
and has a range of possible consequences [9]. According
to these observations the emotion concept covers many
3. Conceptual Model and Hypotheses
To date, a number of studies have examined different
major motivations for becoming entrepreneurs [10].
Some highlight psychological reasons, while others focus
on broader social, emotional and economic constraints.
According to these different hypotheses, a key point of
debate concerns the relative role of that “context,
situation” and “individual, personality” plays in deciding
to engage in entrepreneurship. We consider that these
factors can influence a decision to be entrepreneur, but
we consider that they have different affects as far as
gender is concerned, i.e . They affect men differently
from women.
3.1. Pull or Intrinsic Factors
A common finding achieved by numerous studies [11-
13]) is that people are pulled into, or attracted by entre-
preneurship for reasons or such factors as the desire for
greater independence, financial independence, being
one’s own boss, challenge, self-fulfilment, financial op-
portunity and self-determination. these studies suggest
that these pull factors did not have the sizing response
from equally affect as for men and female entrepreneurs
in equal bases. The merit of these factors as that the
decision behind being an entrepreneur conditioned by
personal behaviour.
These factors are called intrinsic because they take
their source from individual; they are commanded by the
personality, the character, the need and the desire which
shaped by socialization mechanism. Many pioneer
studies [14] considered that only these kind of motivator
factors leaded to motivation. In other terms, motivation
can just be intrinsic or pull.
3.2. Push or Extrinsic Factors
Others studies [10,11,13,15] consider that push factors
are relevant for entrepreneurs as a result of job loss,
difficulty of finding employment, prolonged joblessness,
involuntary layoff. These factors are the major motivat-
ing one. In some countries (Canada, US, Britain,), These
studies have discovered the existence of a certain link
between restructuring and downsizing and rising levels
of Small Enterprise/Small Business Organization from
the mid-1980 to late 1990. Unemployment rate up
followed by the rising of self-employment. This situation
creating what some authors called “forced entrepreneurs”
“necessity entrepreneurs” (GEM).
According to [14] push or extrinsic factors produce
stimulation and not motivation. The chance to succeed to
be entrepreneur will be more important if the engine is
the pull factors; it is an act of an engagement and a
commitment. Recent studies carried out in Canada by [1]
do not support an “unemployment push” hypothesis.
Therefore, we believe that there exist some positive
relationship, between motivating factors and entrepre-
neurship success rate.
3.3. Work- Family Balance Factors
Traditional theories of entrepreneurship neglect the
work-family motivation side. Some studies, however,
revealed that these factors seem to be especially
important for women. In Canada, [16,17] highlights the
attraction of flexibility for balancing family and work.
[18] also underline the role of family-based motivations,
noting that for some women “starting a business may be
an adaptive response to the demands of the parent and
spouse/partner roles, which are very important to them”.
More recent analysis by [1] confirms that the presence
and number of children increases women’s likelihood of
entering SE/SBO. [4] found that such factor as work-
family balance and flexibility to be important motivators
for women operating in the Canadian economy in
3.4. The Emotional Factors
The emotional process begins with intrapersonal pro-
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Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case
cesses when a focal individual is exposed to an eliciting
stimulus, registers the stimulus for its meaning, and
experiences a state of feeling and some physiological
changes, with downstream consequences for attitudes,
behaviours and cognitions, as well as facial expressions
and other emotionally expressive cues [19].
A stimulus need not be an event that occurs, but can
also be a stable feature of the environment that is salient.
Indeed, any contact between a person and his environ-
ment can become an affective event, particularly when
the environment includes other people. Although social
interactions tend to be the most salient, economic events
and conditions are also important emotional elicitors [20]
as are a variety of environmental factors. [21] found that
there exist positive elicitors including work-related ac-
complishments and overcoming obstacles, personal sup-
port, solidarity, and connectedness as well as negative
elicitors including inequitable situations focusing largely
on non financial compensation, discrimination, both covert
and overt conflict and power struggles, violations of
norms and trust to the detriment of other individuals or
the workplace itself, ideology-based disagreements,
actual or potential on-the-job death and humiliation.
3.4.1. Emotional Expression
[12] argued that, “From moments of frustration or joy,
grief or fear, to an enduring sense of dissatisfaction or
commitment… the experience of work is saturated with
feeling”. Feelings within organizations are often mixed
and ambivalent [22]. [8], distinguished between sponta-
neous push factors caused by the feeling and physiology
emotional experience versus pull factors caused by social
intentions to communicate. Pull factors have largely been
investigated under the umbrella of display rules. Push
factors include biologically determined affect programs
as well as cultural and individual expressive style.
Emotion as spontaneous versus deliberate communica-
tion has been hotly debated [23]. [8], distinguished be-
tween spontaneous push factors caused by the feeling
and physiology emotional experience versus pull factors
caused by social intentions to communicate.
Links between emotional states and behaviors include
indirect links to behavior that are mediated by intervene-
ing attitudes and cognitions [24]. The domination of
other areas within organizational studies, it is important
to clarify that not all attitudes, behaviours and cognitions
result from the emotional process.
The formal definition of an attitude is being a psycho-
logical tendency expressed by evaluating a particular
entity with some degree of favour or disfavour [24].
These authors argued that emotions and attitudes are still
distinct concepts and that attitudes are not merely affect-
tive reactions.
Job satisfaction was initially defined as a job-related
affect [20]. First that job satisfaction is an attitude rather
than an emotional experience and second that the evalua-
tion of one’s job is not necessarily entirely affective but
also has a cognitive component to it as well. [25] found
that lower job satisfaction leads to more counternorma-
tive behaviours, and that such deviant behaviour is a
form of behavioural adaptation in an attempt to restore
equity and feelings of empowerment.
The term emotion-driven behaviors takes its origin
from the Latin word “promotionem”, which suggests to
move forward, this reflects the evolutionary role of emo-
tion responding to survival challenger with action. Nega-
tive emotions may change circumstances for the better in
the short and/or long term. For instance, anger can serve
to readjust a relationship or interaction [26]. Thus, nega-
tive emotions can have positive consequences.
In general, the study of emotions within organizations
has tended to be more fashionable in the western cul-
ture’s, perhaps because the value of emotion seems more
counterintuitive to members of individualist versus col-
lectivist societies. The field of emotion in organizations
is being transformed into a mature hybrid paradigm that
stems from a variety of methods and perspectives (Fig-
ure 1).
3.4.2. The Framework
The literature overview conducted to the presentation of
our proposition and framework.
Proposition 1:
The entrepreneurship motivation depends on four major
motivational factors: the pull, the push, the balance and
the emotional factors. However, these factors do not act
equally and in the same intensity. Their effects depend
greatly on the social and demographic profile (gender,
age, education level, family background).
Proposition 2:
Economic and social success: the sustainability of the
created enterprise depends largely on the motivator factor
nature. We consider that the major economic and social
success determinants are mainly the emotional and the
pull factors rather than push ones.
4. Methodology
The investigation concerning the organizational support
was conducted by both a documentary analysis and by a
survey as well.
4.1. The Study Sample
Our sample of study was composed of a number entre-
preneurs from the Sfax, the second most important eco-
nomical region in Tunisia, considered by many observers
(Deneueil,) as being the most entrepreneurial. These en-
repreneurs belong to all sectors such us sanitary, cultural t
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Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case
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Emotiona l facto r
Balance fa ctor
Push factor
Pull factor
Motivation t
Eco. and s oc.
success Dev. t
Figure 1. Research Model.
Freedom and great independence (financial and oth-
centre, e-marketing, pharmacy, design and advertising,
aluminium manufactory, consulting, trade, and multime-
dia. All these enterprises were created in different peri-
ods as follows: 70% in 2006, 25% in 2007 and 5% in
2008, obtained from three files (C.U.I.E.S., A.P.I.,
Need for commandment;
Professional success and achievement.
Push factors [10,13] explored through these items:
Unemployment; Data for this study were gathered by a questionnaire
survey managed directly to 100 entrepreneurs in French.
The survey contains an assignment explaining the pur-
pose of the study. The survey was administered during
the third week of March, 2010. We carried out this survey
directly on our own with no intermediary, those in some
special cases, we mobilized our social capital; it means
our colleagues, friends and students. Among the 100
surveys, 85 were completed. However, only 45 usable
surveys were retained for data analysis, thus, providing a
response rate of 45%.
Job loss;
Less job;
Less appropriate job;
Governmental incentives; this item did not treated in
literature, but we considered important in Tunisian
Balance factors [4,15,27] explored through these items:
Job-family balance;
Work at home (Flexible working hours);
Share time between work and family;
Emotional factors Emotional factors [5,12,21,24,28]
explored through these items:
4.2. Survey Structure
Work commitment;
We have defined four major dimensions: the antecedents,
motivator factors, entrepreneurship motivation and eco-
nomic and social success. Each dimension explored ac-
cording to certain items. Most of the responses (19/27)
anchored in seven-point scales. Individuals asked to in-
dicate the extent of agreement or disagreement on a seven-
point Likert-type scale ranging from (strongly disagree)
to (strongly agree).
Solidarity and networking need;
Family and personal supports;
Job humiliation;
Emotional experiences: fear, anger, anxiety, revenge on.
4.2.3. Economic and Social Success
Economic and social success explored through these
4.2.1. The Antecedents Survival and sustainable project (more than three
The antecedents concern the following variables: age,
gender and education level as well as family background. Ability to escape from unemployment;
Be able to be entrepreneur (job alternative).
4.2.2. The Motivator Factors
According to our model research (Figure 1), we identi-
fied four motivational factors. 5. Data Analysis
Pull factors [11] explored through these items: As a first step, we tend to generate the descriptive analy-
Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case
sis in terms of frequencies and profile (Table 1).
As for the second construct (Push factors), we ob-
tained one factor (45.926%) with KMO = 0.513 and α of
Crombach = 0.6988. Concerning the third construct
(balance factors), we obtained one factor (54.707%) with
KMO = 0.6, in fact the unidimensionality aspect has been
respected and α of Crombach = 0.2147 (unacceptable)
but 0.7226 if the first item is deleted.
Finally, concerning emotional factors; the reduction
analysis factor generates one factor (63.38%) and con-
cerning the second construct, we obtained one factor
(53.740%) with KMO = 0.788 and α of Crombach =
0.7010. We proceeded ultimately by a linear regression
with the aim explaining entrepreneurship motivation
through motivational factors through the integration of
some antecedents (socio-demographic variables).
6. Findings and Discussion
Our results can be summarized as follows: the PCA re-
sults allowed us to convert the items into factors. On ap-
plying the linear regression (ANOVA) we obtained the
following model, research equation below, after testing
the non-multicolinearity of the motivator factors.
123 4
YCa F1aF2aF3aF4 
where ai represent the coefficients of linear regression
Concerning the global model, we obtained significance
results as following an R squared = 0.3 with an F of
Fisher1 =4.324 2 and the T of Student for each coeffi-
cient ai (that are the output of SPSS 11.0). Thus, the de-
tails of the equation are the following (Table 2).
Table 1. The descriptive analysis.
Characteristics Modalities
Gender Male 70% Female 30%
Age 20 to 25 years
26 to 30
31 to 40
years 34.8%
More 40
years 6.5%
Parent in
Level Secondary 13%
*The family member’s in business are generally the father, the brother, the
husband, the uncle and the cousin. In a second step, we proceeded by some
tests such as the fiability analysis (α of Crombach) and unidimensionality
analysis (factor reduction analysis with varimax rotation), to measure the
scale pertinence. We have to obtain a fiability score superior to 0.6 [15].
This test allowed as the respecting of the most important condition for data
treatment. Concerning the first construct we obtained (Pull factors), one
factor (55,288%), with KMO = 0.694 respecting the one-dimensional of the
selected measures and α of Crombach = 0.7150.
6.1. Factors Affecting Attitudes toward
Results on entrepreneurship consequences are interesting;
the explanation power showed the following the hierar-
chical order, from the most important to the last impor-
tant factor: the pull, the emotional, the push and finally
the balance.
6.2. Results on Pull Factor
These factors explained the entrepreneurship motivation
with a coefficient β equal to 0.348 (significance student
T equal to 2.367).
6.3. Results on Push Factor
These factors explained the entrepreneurship motivation
with a coefficient β equal to 0.344 (no significance stu-
dent T equal to 0.693).
6.4. Results on the Balance Factor
These factors explained the entrepreneurship motivation
with a coefficient β equal to 0.112 (no significance stu-
dent T equal to 0.794).
6.5. Results on the Emotional Factor
This factor explained the entrepreneurship motivation
with an interested explanation power if the coefficient β
equal to 0.262 (significant student T equal to 3.179).
According to these results, we noticed that the motivator
factors did not act equally; some are most by important,
especially the emotional and pull factors. We argued that
the explanation lies in the characteristic of the studied
population. The emotional constituted a determinant mo-
tivator factor.
6.6. Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship
Motivation Considering Gender Differences
On considering as a filter variable, the linear regression
results are summarized in the following two tables:
If gender is “male”, the linear regression is as follows
(Table 3).
However, if gender is “female”, the linear regression
became as follows (Table 4).
We can understand that the power explanation of the
model is better if the gender is female and motivator fac-
tors differ with the gender as follow; for men the most
important factors that motivate to be entrepreneur are
push, pull and balance factors but for the women the
factors motivate to be entrepreneur are emotional, bal-
ance and pull factors.
Cultural and cognitive factors can explain the differ-
ences exiting between female and men in entrepreneur-
1Ficher: explicative power of the model T of Student: Degree of sig-
nificance of coefficients (ai).
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Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case
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Table 2. Linear regression for global model.
Coeffi. N. standardized Coefficients standardized
Model B Standard error Beta
1 (constant) 1.948 0.094 20.755 0.000
PULL1 0.218 0.092 0.348 2.367 0.023
PUSH1 0.201 0.112 0.344 1.794 0.080
EMOT1 0.262 0.082 0.434 3.179 0.003
BALANCE1 0.112 0.084 0.125 0.693 0.492
Table 3. Linear regression (with male), R squared = 0.2 and F of Fisher = 2.
Coeffi. n- standar dised Coeffi. Standar Dised T Significance
Model B Standard error Beta
1 (constant) 1.851 0.100 18.536 0.000
PULL1 0.272 0.105 0.344 1.837 0.113
PUSH1 0.295 0.157 0.512 1.881 0.070
EMOT1 0.149 0.107 0.259 1.388 0.176
BALANE1 0.186 0.100 0.473 1.862 0.073
Table 4. Linear regression (with female), R squared = 0.731 and F of Fisher = 5.425.
Coeffi. n standar-dised Coeffi Standar-dised T Significance
Model B Standard error Beta
1 (constant) 2.319 0.211 11.008 0.000
PULL1 0.270 0.221 0.261 1.224 0.256
PUSH1 7.166E03 0.158 0.012 0.045 0.965
EMOT1 0.469 0.164 0.591 2.860 0.021
BALANCE1 0.284 0.152 0.441 2.864 0.099
ship motivation. For women, in Tunisian context charac-
terized by specific traits, the entrepreneurship represents
the most important issue and real alternative to realize
themselves. Neither the public sector offering a security
nor the private perceived as non ethical could allow
women to reach and respond to their needs (balance and
flexibility). According to these sociological and psycho-
logical considerations, for women to be entrepreneur is
conducted by personal behaviour, but the environment
constraints operate only as stimulus and incentives. In
others words we could not consider women as “forced
entrepreneurs”, term used by GEM [29-32], but entre-
preneurs by conviction, in others terms the entrepreneur-
ship represent very interested alternative for women to
realize their selves and their needs.
Emotions are no strange from our environment and
context; they aren’t entirely individual and biologically
but also social. Our emotions are socially shaped. In Tu-
nisian context all information revealed that the public
sector is saturated in term of employment; the private one
is perceived negatively (exploitation, humiliation, and
anger). As consequence the entrepreneurship remains for
women the most important alternative not especially for
economical consideration but for individual and social
one, even if the public sector offered more security. For
men the situation is not the same, sure that men and
women share the same environment but not the same
identity and motivation. The roles and the positions are
differently conditioned.
Cultural group such as women differ in the ways that
they deal with entrepreneurship. This Cultural group dif-
fer in the schemas and feeling rules that guide their emo-
tional registration, for example with female members
groups preferring emotional states that emphasize on
Entrepreneurship Motivation: Tunisian Case
some values consensus, collaboration. This Cultural group
differ in their style or made of expressing particular emo-
tions and emotions recognition.
There a number of major’s implications for the entre-
preneurship stakeholders (banks, relevant authorities,).
First, it is obvious that there is a general lack of aware-
ness in terms of dealing with the women and men needs
in entrepreneurship context. Moreover, as a customer
with different motivation to increase the entrepreneurial
process performance it is necessary to take in account
these difference. Moreover, the entrepreneurial stake-
holders still perceive that we deal with entrepreneur
women needs and wants in the same way with men needs
and wants. Our study revealed that the entrepreneurship
motivation is different between men and women. In order
to increase the entrepreneurship performance in Tunisian
context some adjustments need to be taken.
7. Conclusions
In summary, entrepreneurship motivation factor is viewed
through many dimensions [33-35]. The results in this
paper point to value of the emotional factors in the entre-
preneurship process and differences between men and
women. The results of this research have implications for
both the entrepreneurship stakeholders (banks, relevant
authorities) and the academicians (exploration new field,
improvement entrepreneurship knowledge in Arab con-
While, when considering the results of the study, a
number of limitations should be noted. The study scope
covers only the Sfax region which can represent some
biases. It was perceived as a favourable region for entre-
preneurship. Thus, it is not really a limitation to gener-
alize for the whole Tunisian context. The determinant for
being an entrepreneur as the literature showed is not re-
lated to regional factors [36-39]. However, it is recom-
mended for future studies to make a comparison be-
tween different zones in order to increase the capa-
bility of generalization. The absence of longitudinal ap-
proaches elucidating the entrepreneurship dynamism for
men and women in specific context remains problematic.
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List of Acronyms
API: Agence de Promotion de L’industrie
ANETI: Agence Nationale de L’emploi et du Travail
CUIES: Centre Universitaires d’Insertion et d Es-
saimage de Sfax
CDA: Centre d’Affaires