Influence of work history on entrepreneurial intentions in 'prime age' and 'third age': A preliminary study

Teemu Kautonen*, Seppo Luoto, Erno T. Tornikoski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

93 Citations (Scopus)


This exploratory study investigates the relationship between an individual's socialization into different professional and organizational cultures and their subsequent entrepreneurial intentions. Using age cohorts as a proxy for the duration of work-related socialization processes and changes in the business environment over time, the study proposes that the impact of work history is stronger in 'third age' (50-64 years) than in 'prime age' (20-49 years). The principal finding is that older individuals, those aged 50-plus, who have spent the majority of their career in 'blue-collar' industrial work are less inclined towards entrepreneurship than the working-age population in Western Finland generally. One reason is the perceived lack of support from important social contacts. Contrary to expectations, a work history in the public sector or small businesses does not seem to affect subsequent entrepreneurial intentions. Further research is required to provide a more fine-grained understanding of the impact of work history on entrepreneurial intentions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)583-601
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • age
  • entrepreneurial intentions
  • entrepreneurship
  • Finland
  • theory of planned behaviour
  • third age
  • work history

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