DOI: 10.7341/20181424 JEL codes: L26, L31/

Received 13 March 2017, Revised 3 May 2017, Accepted 22 May 2017

Huei-Ching Liu, Research Assistant, Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development, National Taiwan University, Taipei, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Ching Yin Ip, Research Assistant, Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development, National Taiwan University, Taipei, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
Chaoyun Liang, Professor, Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development, National Taiwan University, Taipei, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Road, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan; e-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Journalists have been facing a variety of challenges and are even being laid off in the face of changing media ecosystems in the age of digital convergence. Sharing similar characteristics with entrepreneurs, numerous journalists have worked together to develop social enterprises, attaining social change through business approaches. The present study explores the intentions of former and current journalists to establish social enterprises, using questionnaires focused on personality traits, creativity, and social capital. Results reveal that creativity was found to have a significant influence on the social entrepreneurial intentions of journalists, as does having higher bridging-type social capital.

Keywords: creativity, entrepreneurial intention, personality traits, social capital, social enterprise.


In this era of digital convergence, people freely upload their texts, images, and videos to social media platforms. The subsequent aggregation of people and information on the Internet has garnered attention from journalists, who then use the contents posted online as news sources (Burgess & Green, 2009, p. 15). Newman, Dutton, and Blank (2012) reported that the information from social media had been adopted by journalists to strengthen their news production and dissemination roles. Therefore, newspapers, broadcasts, and television are closely integrated with the Internet, which has changed the conventional media ecology. Anyone can become a news producer, producing a massive challenge to the professional status of journalists.

This aggregation of the media ecology has caused a series of layoffs worldwide over the previous five years. Sanlih E-Television in Taiwan, which is actively transitioning into a new medium, laid off 150 of its workers in 2014, whereas TVBS, the first cable television company in Taiwan, announced that only senior reporters aged over 45 years may apply for its retirement plan. In the United Kingdom, many full-time journalistic jobs have been changed into contract or freelance jobs (Storey, Salaman & Platman, 2005). In the United States, the volume of advertisements in conventional paper media dropped 48% from 2006 to 2010, and news jobs have decreased by 36% in the past decade (Smith, 2012). The media industry has thus been stalled and many journalists, forced to leave their jobs, must find alternate career paths. Numerous laid-off reporters have worked together to develop social enterprises, attaining social change through business approaches.

Journalists share several similar characteristics with entrepreneurs, such as their curiosity about new things, their ability to view the world from different perspectives, and their interactions with people at various levels (McManus, 2015). Studies have reported that personality traits influence individuals’ entrepreneurial intentions and behaviors (Brandstätter, 2011; Collins, Hanges & Locke, 2004; Zhao, Seibert & Lumpkin, 2010). Accordingly, people who are extroverted, open to new experiences, conscientious, yet have low neuroticism and agreeableness tend to possess strong entrepreneurial intentions. In addition, entrepreneurs in the knowledge economy must possess excellent creativity (Carayannis, Popescu, Sipp & Stewart, 2006). Similarly, social capital strongly influences people’s entrepreneurial intentions (Liñán & Santos, 2007). Therefore, the present study explores the effects of personality traits, creativity, and social capital on the social entrepreneurial intentions of journalists.


Social enterprises and entrepreneurial intentions

Social enterprises are those created for social welfare and attained social change through innovation (Pelchat, 2005). Social entrepreneurs provide nonprofit job opportunities, cultivate a service workforce, and promote their positions on society, the environment, and public welfare through business approaches (Vitiello & Wolf-Powers, 2014). Social entrepreneurs must be capable of creating social and economic value as well as long-term self-sufficiency. This value involves preserving sociocultural heritage, satisfying recreational and aesthetic needs, and promoting economic functions to generate goods and services (Mander, Wiggering & Helming, 2007). Smith (2012) reported that numerous journalists who left their media jobs for entrepreneurship have aimed to change the world. In particular, 71% of the journalists indicated that the importance of conventional media will drop in five years, and 84% believe that social enterprises will become increasingly vital, and that news companies will also transition into social enterprises.

Entrepreneurial intentions can be defined as the conviction and preparation required for constructing a new enterprise or increasing the value of an existing enterprise, and the determination for continual planning (Thompson, 2009). Entrepreneurial intentions also play a mediating role in triggering action (Fayolle, Gailly & Lassas-Clerc, 2006). The entrepreneurial intentions of small, medium, and non-profit enterprises vary from those of general for-profit enterprises and require separate research perspectives, arguments, and practices for analysis (Pittaway & Cope, 2007). The entrepreneurial intentions of social entrepreneurs involve increasing social capital and strengthening community cohesion, and are therefore distinct from those of business entrepreneurs (Mair & Noboa, 2006). According to prior research (Lans, Gulikers & Batterink, 2010; Liñán & Chen, 2009), Wang, Peng, and Liang (2014) developed an entrepreneurial intention scale with high reliability and validity. This scale categorized entrepreneurial intentions into two factors, namely conviction, and preparation.

Personality traits versus entrepreneurial intentions

Personality traits are a type of stable tendency that reveal the distinct patterns of thought, emotion, and behavior of each individual (Costa & McCrae, 1992). These unique traits are expressed in the physical and psychological characteristics of individuals through interactions among genetic, environmental, and learning factors, and are considered to be integrated and persistent (Liang, Chia, & Liang, 2015). The five-factor model is a personality theory that has currently been stably developed in international academia. According to this model, personality traits involve five major factors, namely extraversion, openness to experience, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness. Hollifield, Kosicki, and Becker (2001) indicated that journalistic employers prioritized the personality traits and work habits of their employees over their professionalism.

The personality traits of journalists are associated with entrepreneurship (Brandstätter, 2011; Collins et al., 2004; Zhang, 2008). Generally, they are extraverted, independent and open to new experiences (Henningham, 1997; Siu & Lo, 2013). They usually possess high self-confidence (Chen, Greene, & Cricke, 1998) and firmly believe in their own capabilities to adapt to the external environment and control their performance (Simon, Houghton & Aquino, 2000). These traits define low levels of neuroticism. They commonly hold strong achievement motivations; in other words, they are typically conscientious (Collins et al., 2004; Stewart & Roth, 2004). They are confronted by limited resources, insufficient legal protection, and substantial financial risks, thus becoming more competitive and less agreeable (Zhao & Seibert, 2006). Recent meta-analysis studies have reported that people with strong entrepreneurial intentions are extroverted, open to new experiences, and conscientious, but are also less neurotic and agreeable than other people (Brandstätter, 2011; Zhao et al., 2010). The current study aimed to acknowledge the correlations between identified variables rather than determine their causal relationships. In the end, whether these correlations are positive or negative will be theory-driven and depend on the following measurement analyses. On the basis of the aforementioned studies, we proposed the first two hypotheses:

H1. Extraversion, openness, and conscientiousness are positively related to social entrepreneurial intentions.

H2. Neuroticism and agreeableness are negatively related to social entrepreneurial intentions.

Creativity versus entrepreneurial intentions

According to Barron and Harrington (1981), creativity is defined from two distinct perspectives: the product perspective, which regards creativity as new products with socially recognized achievements (Baer, Kaufman, & Gentile, 2004; Hennessey & Amabile, 2010), and the competency perspective, which refers to creativity as the competencies expressed by individuals in specific tasks (Fryer, 2006). Both perspectives involve two core concepts, namely originality and usefulness (Runco & Jaeger, 2012). In aggregating previous studies, the originality of creativity implies the ability to produce a novel or uncommon idea, behavior, or work, and that the usefulness of creativity implies the ability to produce an appropriate, effective, or valuable idea, behavior, or work. Both must be accepted in the specific societal context (Amabile, 1997; Lin, Hsu & Liang, 2014; Runco & Jaeger, 2012). Cropley (2015) maintained that creativity must involve the qualities of elegance and genesis. The arguments by Lin et al. (2014) and Cropley (2015) were adopted in this study for developing a research instrument.

Prior research has determined that creativity is a critical motivator of entrepreneurial intentions, and proactive and creative people exhibit high levels of entrepreneurial desirability (Balachandran & Sakthivelan, 2013; Zampetakis, 2008). Creative people tend to take more risks and are more impulsive, independent, and intrinsically motivated. They also see themselves as more competent, hard-working, persistent, and gritty (Kaufman, 2011). The climate for innovation on campus can increase the entrepreneurial intentions of teachers and students (Lee, Wong, Foo & Leung, 2011). In investigating students attending elective journalistic courses at school, the desire to express creativity through various lifestyles and opportunities was identified as students’ primary motivation for attending these courses (Hanusch et al., 2016). Similarly, most in-service journalists enjoy being creative, possess strong creativity, and exhibit higher social entrepreneurial intentions than do ordinary people (Lee & Min, 2016). In addition, student imagination and creativity have considerable influences on ventures and rural service (Chang, Yao, Chen, King & Liang, 2016; Yao, Peng, Lee & Liang, 2016). Based on these studies, the following hypothesis was proposed:

H3. Creativity is positively related to social entrepreneurial intentions.

Social capital versus entrepreneurial intentions

Social capital can be defined as the relationship networks that can be effectively mobilized and the totality of the resources owned by all members in the networks (Bourdieu, 1986). The social capital owned by each individual determines the position of the individual in a group, affects the types and quantities of social resources available to the individual, and defines the opportunity for the individual to access these resources (Lin, 2002). Social capital enhances entrepreneurial activities, particularly knowledge acquisition, business opportunity identification, relational connections, reputation establishment, and performance improvement (Lechner & Dowling, 2003; Partanen, Kristian, Westerlund, Rajala & Rajala, 2008; Shaw, Lam & Carter, 2008).

Putnam (2000) indicated that social capital could be categorized into two dimensions, namely bonding and bridging. Bonding social capital refers to strong ties with family and friends who may provide emotional support or access to scarce resources. Bridging social capital refers to weak ties among individuals connected across different social networks and providing new perspectives. Correspondingly, Williams (2006) conceptualized and developed a social capital assessment scale containing 20 items. Furthermore, Liñán and Santos (2007) determined that higher social capital generates higher entrepreneurial intentions.

Media frequently play a role in bridging communities with social capital, facilitating communications among the diverse groups in the communities and promoting social welfare, thus enhancing the development of social capital (Richards, 2013). The rise of the Internet has facilitated a new ecology of communications, and the online interactions strengthen community connections and enable the extensions of external relationships (Joinson, 2003). Through the mediation of emerging communication technology, Huysman and Wulf (2004) indicated that interpersonal networks can be established, and social capital can be accumulated. Currently, the most frequently employed communication technology is social media, which is most profoundly and positively associated with social capital (Valenzuela, Park & Kee, 2009). Journalists frequently rely on social media to collect information, maintain relationships, and perform interactive communications. Journalists, as a group, accumulate social capital for social entrepreneurship the most easily. The aforementioned studies lead to the final two correlational hypotheses:

H4. Bonding social capital is positively related to social entrepreneurial intentions.

H5. Bridging social capital is positively related to social entrepreneurial intentions.



By conducting an online questionnaire, we studied factors influencing the intentions of former or current journalists to start social enterprises. All participants were former or current journalists. Descriptive statistics obtained by analyzing the percentage frequency distribution of the participants’ demographic data are listed in Table 1:

Table 1. Descriptive analysis of Study 1 (n = 401)




205 men

196 women


25 or younger





46 or older








< 1 year





> 13 years








In Part 1, personality was measured using a simplified version of the Big Five personality traits model developed by Thompson (2008). We adapted the original English-language inventory, which consisted of 40 items, into a 20-item Chinese-language questionnaire based on the factor loadings of the inventory. In Part 2, creativity was measured using results from Lin et al. (2014) and Cropley (2015). Specifically, creativity was divided into two aspects: originality and usefulness. In Part 3, social capital was measured using the Social Capital Scales devised by Williams (2006). The original scales comprised of 20 items measuring two types of social capital, namely, bridging- and bonding-type social capital. For this study, we selected the 10 items featuring the highest factor loadings. In Part 4, social entrepreneurial intentions were measured using 8 items rearranged on the basis of Wang, Peng, and Liang (2014). The questionnaire for this study adopted a 6-point Likert-type scale, with strongly agree = 6, agree = 5, somewhat agree = 4, somewhat disagree = 3, disagree = 2, and strongly disagree = 1.


The questionnaires were distributed between October 1, 2016, and November 5, 2016, through online social media groups formed by journalists. The design of the online questionnaire system requires participants to complete all items before proceeding to the next page; therefore, no missing items and thus no missing values existed. A questionnaire was deemed invalid if the responses to all items were similar or if responses to reverse items were illogical. Ultimately we collected 445 questionnaires and obtained 401 valid samples after removing 40 invalid samples.


Exploratory factor analysis

Factors used in the exploratory factor analysis were required to have an eigenvalue greater than 1 and a factor loading greater than .3. Table 2 shows that regarding personality traits, results from Bartlett’s sphericity test all reached a level of significance (χ2 = 2549.869; p < .001) and the Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy was .743, indicating the factors could be employed to conduct a factor analysis. The test results showed that five factors could be extracted from the 20 items, with a total cumulative variance explained of 58.020%. Therefore, the 20 items for personality traits can be divided into the following five constructs: extraversion, openness to experience, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and agreeableness.

Table 2. Factor loading, M, SD, Cronbach’s α, and percentage of variance of personality traits










% of variance

Extraversion (EX)
































Open to experience (OP)






































Neuroticism (NE)




































Conscientiousness (CO)




































Agreeableness (AG)











Not harsh





















Total variance explained



Note: * refers to the fact that the times mean scores of these items were reversed.

Results in Table 3 show that, regarding creativity, results from Bartlett’s sphericity test did not reach a level of significance. Consequently, the factors cannot be used to perform a factor analysis, but the 12 items were used as a construct with a cumulative variance explained of 65.155%.

Table 3. Factor loading, M, SD, Cronbach’s α, and percentage of variance of creativity






% of variance

I can develop an unconventional business plan






I can develop a unique business plan






I am not good at identifying new market needs






I am good at proposing innovative ideas based on market needs






I can develop a business plan that targets specific market segments






I can develop a business plan that can lead the market






I can understand the diverse needs of various customers






I am unable to adapt flexibly to market changes






I can consider the preference of target consumers






I can develop a business plan that meets the target market’s demand






I can develop a business plan that attracts investors’ attention






My business plan can adapt to different markets after adjustments






Total variance explained



Note: * refers to the fact that the times mean scores of these items were reversed.

Results in Table 4 show that regarding social capital, results from Bartlett’s sphericity test reached a level of significance (χ2 = 1604.913; p < .001) and the KMO measure of sampling adequacy was .761, indicating that the factors can be employed to conduct a factor analysis. The results showed that two factors can be extracted from the ten items, with a total cumulative variance explained of 64.662%. The ten items can be divided into the following two constructs: bonding and bridging.

Table 4. Factor loading, M, SD, Cronbach’s α, and percentage of variance of social capital







% of variance

Bonding (BON)




There are several people I trust to help solve my problems







There is someone I can turn to for advice about making very important decisions







If I need an emergency loan of US$500, I have no one I can ask







The people I interact with would put their reputation on the line for me







The people I interact with would help me fight an injustice







Bridging (BRI)




Interacting with people makes me interested in things that happen outside of my town







Interacting with people online/offline makes me want to try new things







Talking with people does not make me curious about other places in the world







Interacting with people makes me feel part of a larger community







Interacting with people makes me feel connected to the bigger picture







Total variance explained



Note: * refers to the fact that the times mean scores of these items were reversed.

Regarding social entrepreneurial intentions, results from Bartlett’s sphericity test reached a level of significance (χ2 = 2420.223; p < .001) and the KMO measure of sampling adequacy was .913, indicating the factors can be employed to conduct a factor analysis (Table 5). The test results showed that the total cumulative variance explained was 65.555%. The eight items for social entrepreneurial intentions were used as a single construct.

Table 5. Factor loading, M, SD, Cronbach’s α, and percentage of variance of social entrepreneurial intention






% of

Social entrepreneurial intention (SEI)


I wish to start a social enterprise that assists in alleviating environmental issues






I have a preliminary idea for a social enterprise that I plan to implement in the future






My professional goal is to become a social entrepreneur






I am willing to do anything to become a social entrepreneur






I expect that at some point in the future, I will be involved in launching an organization that aims to promote environmental sustainability






I expect that at some point in the future, I will be involved in launching an organization that aims to help disadvantaged groups






I will act as a professional manager and get involved in the management of a social enterprise through promotion






If I inherit my family’s business, I plan on transforming it into a social enterprise






Total variance explained




Multiple regression analysis of the variables

The results of a multiple regression analysis found the overall model reached a level of significance (p < .001). In addition, creativity and bridging-type social capital as constructs reached a level of significance (p < .05), whereas constructs under personality traits were nonsignificant (Table 6). Therefore, both H3 and H5 were supported, whereas H1, H2, and H4 were rejected.

Table 6. Multiple regression analysis of the variables



Social Entrepreneurial intentions











Personality Traits






























Social Capital

















* p < .05, ** p < .01, *** p < .001


Our results indicate that the big five personality traits of journalists had no significant influence on their social entrepreneurial intentions. Our hypotheses are built on classic entrepreneurship literature rather than newly emerging social entrepreneurship studies, possibly explaining this result. In addition, we arrived at this finding probably because creativity was included as an independent variable. Research has confirmed a strong correlation between personality traits and creativity (Amabile, 1983; Chang, Peng, Lin & Liang, 2015). The influence of personality traits was probably subsumed by that of creativity.

Prior research has indicated that social entrepreneurs strive to develop creative mechanisms for circumventing environmental barriers (Dacin, Dacin & Matear, 2010; Shaw & Carter, 2007). Our results also support the view that creativity positively influenced the social entrepreneurial intentions of Taiwanese journalists, concurring with the findings of previous studies. The finding implies that journalists possessing higher levels of creativity are more confident about working independently to confront difficulties, although journalistic voices are traditionally constricted by norms, narratives, and precedents, leaving little room for creativity (Markham, 2012).

Furthermore, bridging social capital has not often been recognized as a robust antecedent for social entrepreneurial intentions (Lorenz, 2008), suggesting a particular need in the context of journalism for bridging social capital to provide new perspectives and innovative approaches. Valenzuela, Park, and Kee (2009) argued that heavy usage of communications technology has a significant positive correlation with social capital, and most Taiwanese journalists are heavy social media users. This study corroborates the finding of Valenzuela et al. (2009), that heavy usage of social media enables journalists to gain bridging-type social capital, which is beneficial for building social enterprises. Moreover, Hockerts (2017) indicated that prior experience of social work can be used to predict social entrepreneurial intentions. Creativity and social capital are both positively correlated with prior experience (Choi, 2004; Fernandez, Castilla & Moore, 2000), supporting Hockerts’ findings in the case of journalists.

This study has several limitations. It was conducted using convenience sampling, where questionnaires were distributed to journalists in online social groups. Journalists with experience of more than 13 years were overrepresented (181 out of 401 participants), indicating a potential sampling bias. In addition, the target participants were former or current journalists, with no distinction made between the two types of participants. Consequently, we cannot discuss the results based on any specific group. It is not known if the current occupation of former journalists is significant for the results. Furthermore, the communication patterns featured on television, in newspapers, and on the Internet vary, and consequently, so might the impact of divergent media ecologies. However, we do not discuss the results based on the type of media. Finally, the scale used to measure creativity is newly developed and may not be an optimal tool for the purpose of the current study. Creating a business plan may not be a competency of journalists, but is nevertheless essential for journalists to initiate a new social venture. Using a measurement tool more adjusted to participants would be advisable in future research.

Considering these limitations, we recommend the following directions for future research. (1) Regarding how journalists actually function in social enterprises, long-term tracking and observation should be conducted to examine whether the personality traits, creativity, and social capital of former and current journalists, as two separate groups, significantly influence their social entrepreneurial behaviors; (2) Studies can separately investigate journalists currently or previously in television, newspapers, and Internet media. (3) In-depth studies should be conducted to explore the personality traits, creativity, and social capital of former journalists who have left the industry and built social enterprises, to examine whether the three variables affect the business models of the social enterprises.

The results of this study show that given the aggregation of conventional media in the context of digital convergence, the creativity and social capital possessed by journalists provides an advantage for them to build social enterprises as an alternative professional path. Our model for evaluating social enterprise creation may benefit both scholars and journalists as a basis for identifying business partners in the creation and development of diverse social enterprises in various media ecologies. Furthermore, where previous creativity research has focused exclusively on general enterprises, this study offers more nuance.


The authors would like to express their gratitude for the insightful suggestions of anonymous JEMI reviewers.


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Dziennikarze nieustannie stają przed różnymi wyzwaniami, a w dobie cyfrowej konwergencji czasem nie nadążając za nowościami w obliczu zmieniających się ekosystemów. Wielu dziennikarzy rozpoczęło współpracę ukierunkowaną na rozwój przedsiębiorstw społecznych zauważając podobieństwa w charakterystyce ich zawodu z przedsiębiorcami społecznymi, który przyczynia się do zmiany społecznej dzięki biznesowemu podejściu do problemów społecznych. Przedstawione w tekście badanie ma na celu poznanie intencji zakładania przedsiębiorstw społecznych przez byłych i obecnych dziennikarzy. W badaniu użyto kwestionariuszy badających cechy osobowości, poziom kreatywności i kapitał społeczny. Wyniki badania pokazują, że kreatywność oraz wysoki pomostowy kapitał społeczny mają istotne znaczenie dla ‘społecznych’ intencji przedsiębiorczych wśród dziennikarzy.

Słowa kluczowe: kreatywność, intencje przedsiębiorcze, cechy osobowości, kapitał społeczny, przedsiębiorstwo społeczne.

Biographical notes

Huei-Ching Liu is a senior reporter in Liann Yee Production Co., Ltd., TVBS TV Network, Taipei, Taiwan. She gained her master’s degree in Graphic Arts and Communications at the National Taiwan Normal University. Huei-Ching is currently a part-time doctoral student in the Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development at the National Taiwan University. Her research interests focus on: media convergence, communication education, multimedia communication, and entrepreneurship.

Ching Yin Ip is a doctoral student and research assistant in the Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. He obtained his master’s degree in Corporate Communication at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His current research interests cover social capital, corporate communication, corporate social responsibility, and social entrepreneurship.

Chaoyun Liang is a Professor in the Department of Bio-Industry Communication and Development, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan. He gained his Ph.D. in the Instructional Systems Technology program at the Indiana University, USA. His current research interests focus on: imagination & creativity, entrepreneurship & social enterprise, and agrirural communication & marketing.