Developing intrapreneurial self-efficacy through internships? Investigating agency and structure factors

J Deprez, ER Peeters, MJ Gorgievski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: This paper seeks to identify how intrapreneurial self-efficacy (ISE) grows in a group of graduate students during their internship. We investigate which agency and structure factors shape their experience and stabilize or help grow their ISE and how this evolves in the course of their internship. Design/methodology/approach: We conducted group interviews with 49 last year master students of a large Belgian university during their seven-month internship. We focused on those interns with low starter ISE to better understand which factors aid or hinder ISE development. Findings: Our results show that students who did not experience ISE growth were less aware of their own agency factors, lacked supportive colleagues and experienced a misfit with their supervisors. Students who did grow their ISE did so mostly because of an initial experimentation phase, which was structured by their supervisor. This created a positive spiral where they started feeling increasingly better and able to act intrapreneurially. Originality/value: With this study, we contribute to the extant literature in two main ways. First, we use a graduate employability lens to study the genesis of ISE. As such, we are amongst the first to investigate how education can nurture intrapreneurship and which agency and structure factors are particularly important for this. Second, we take a qualitative process approach, rather than a static and quantitative focus of most entrepreneurial education studies. As such, we gain better knowledge to the drivers of ISE at students first steps and during their internship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1166-1188
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2021


  • Agency and structure
  • Internship
  • Intrapreneurship education
  • Internship, Agency and structure


Dive into the research topics of 'Developing intrapreneurial self-efficacy through internships? Investigating agency and structure factors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this