Title: Comparison of perceived barriers to entrepreneurship in Eastern and Western European countries

Authors: Tatiana A. Iakovleva; Lars Kolvereid; Marjan J. Gorgievski; Øystein Sørhaug

Addresses: Stavanger Business School, University of Stavanger, NO-4036 Stavanger, Norway ' Bodø Graduate School of Business, University of Nordland, NO-8049 Bodø, Norway ' Department of Work and Organisational Psychology, P.O. Box 1738, Room T13-48, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands ' Polytec r&d foundation, Haugesund, Hordvikneset 37A, 5108 Hordvik, Norway

Abstract: This qualitative study among 591 business students from four European countries investigated cross-country differences in the kind of barriers people perceive to business start-up. In line with institutional theory, the most important perceived barriers in all countries related to regulative structures (lack of money) and cognitive conditions (lack of skills). Normative structures, defined as national culture, did not explain cross-country differences in perceived risk as start-up barrier. In Norway and The Netherlands, students reported risk perceptions more often than in Romania and Russia, whereas the latter countries are known to be more uncertainty avoidant. These results aid in developing a theory of entrepreneurial barriers, which could be used to extend current entrepreneurial intentions theories in order to predict actual start-up behaviour better. Concerning practical implications, results indicate that business start-up can be stimulated through improving regulative and cognitive institutional structures, but national differences need to be taken into account.

Keywords: entrepreneurship barriers; entrepreneurial intentions; business start-ups; institutional theory; regulative structures; institutions; normative structures; cognitive conditions; cross-cultural comparison; uncertainty avoidance; developing countries; qualitative research; Europe; Eastern European; Western European.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2014.062874

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, 2014 Vol.18 No.2/3, pp.115 - 133

Available online: 25 Jun 2014 *

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