Entrepreneurial Competencies Factors Influencing SMEs Entrepreneurial Performance in Malaysia: A Conceptual Framework

  • S.Vijayan Subramaniam
  • Hishamuddin Ismail
  • Abdullah Sallehhuddin Abdullah Salim
  • Seethaletchumy Thambiah
  • Aye Aye bin Khin


The number of new entrepreneurs in SMEs continues to rise around the world. The goal of the study was to examine the intellectual capital element of entrepreneurs, such as attitude, knowledge, business relationship and digitalization, through the lens of Intellectual Capital (IC) Theory, in order to better understand how these factors contribute to the performance of SMEs in Malaysia. This study was driven by the spectacular growth of entrepreneurs and a vacuum in the present business performance literature. Although the growth in numbers is increasing to certain extend, in contrast, in term of sustainability spectrum entrepreneurs in Malaysia are seeing a substantial drop in performance, which is leading to the closure of most businesses. The lack of entrepreneurial competencies due to weak intellectual capital elements perceived as the influencing factor to such an unwanted phenomenon. This study will assist entrepreneurs in developing platforms to improve their business by recognizing and refine their entrepreneurial competencies that matters to sustain, develop and perform well in their business and promote Malaysia's economy. The study concluded that entrepreneurial intellectual capital elements have a substantial impact on entrepreneurial performance, and that any economy aiming to develop and grow entrepreneurs should embrace this intellectual capital oriented elements discussed in this study for a greater entrepreneurial performance. Secondary sources of data evaluated in detail. The proposed procedure for the data collection for this study approached qualitatively with nominal group interview technique. Three nominal groups comprising of ten members each randomly may be selected from the list obtained from SME Corporations Malaysia for a face-to-face interview session to comprehend the reality of the scenario that being scrutinized and support the arguments. Provide the insight into intellectual capital factors that can help SME operators in Malaysia strengthen their entrepreneurial competencies and grow their businesses. Observe entrepreneurial traits such as attitude, knowledge, willingness to develop business relationship and digitalization, through the lens of Intellectual Capital (IC) Theory for better SME performance


Adjei, M. T., & Clark, M. N. (2010). Relationship marketing in A B2C context: The moderating role of personality traits. Journal of Retailing and Customer Services, 17(1), 73-79
Akhtar, Fatima; Thyagaraj, K. S.; Das, Niladri. (2018). The impact of social influence on the relationship between personality traits and perceived investment performance of individual investors: Evidence from Indian stock market. International Journal of Managerial Finance; 14,130-48. https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJMF-05-2016-0102
Anupriya, P., & Rekha, G. (2018). Entrepreneur's performance and financial literacy - A critical review. International Journal of Management Studies, 5(3), 1-14.
Arabiyat, T. S., Mdanat, M., Ha Ar, M., Ghoneim, A., & Arabiyat, O. (2019). The influence of institutional and conductive aspects on entrepreneurial innovation: Evidence from GEM data. J. Enterp. Inf. Manag, 32, 366-389. http://hdl.handle.net/10454/16850
Autio, E., and Zander, I. (2016). Lean internationalization. Academy of Management Proceedings, 1, 2-27.
Berry.L (2002) Relationship Marketing of Services Perspectives from 1983 and 2000, Journal of Relationship Marketing, 1(1), 59-77, DOI: 10.1300/J366v01n01_05
Bickham, T. (2017). How to thrive in the relationship economy. Forbes Communications Council. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescommunicationscouncil/2017/07/12/how-to-thrivein-the-relationship-economy/#58dfff082c0b
Bogenhold, D., Klinglmair, R., & Kandutsch, F. (2018). Self-employment on the way in a digital economy: A variety of shades of grey. Munich Personal RePEc Archive, 2018(1), 1-25. Retrieved from https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de
Bolton, D., & Lane, M.D. (2012). Individual entrepreneurial orientation: Development of a measurement instrument. Education+ Training, 54(2/3), 219–233
Bontis, N. (1998), Intellectual capital: an exploratory study that develops measures and models, Management Decision, 36(2), 63-76.
Bosma, N., & Schutjens, V. (2011). Understanding regional variation in entrepreneurial activity and entrepreneurial attitude in Europe. The Annals of regional science, 47(3), 711-742.
Buenechea-Elberdin, M., Saenz, J. and Kianto, A. (2018), Knowledge management strategies, intellectual capital, and innovation performance: a comparison between high- and low-tech firms. Journal of Knowledge Management, 22(8),1757-1781.
Daud, S. and Yusoff, W. F. W. (2011). How Intellectual Capital Mediates The Relationship Between Knowledge Management Processes and Organizational Performance? African Journal of Business Management, 5(7), 2607-2617.
Dencker, J. C., Gruber, M., & Shah, S. K. (2009). Pre-entry knowledge, learning, and the survival of new firms. Organization Science, 20(3), 516–537.
Do, B.R. and Dadvari, A. (2017). The influence of the dark triad on the relationship between entrepreneurial attitude orientation and entrepreneurial intention: a study among students in Taiwan university, Asia Pacific Management Review, 22(4), 185-191.
Dong, J. Q. (2019). Moving a mountain with a teaspoon: Toward a theory of digital entrepreneurship in the regulatory environment. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 146(September 2019), 923-930.
Dubini, P., Aldrich, H. (1991), Personal and extended networks are central to the entrepreneurial process. Journal of Business Venturing, 6, 305-313.
Economic Census 2016 - Special highlights: Profile of SMEs. [online], Department of Statistics,Malaysia.http://www.smecorp.go.my/images/SMEAR/latest/2/Census%20English_FINAL.pdf, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Farani, A. Y., Karimi, S., & Motaghed, M. (2017). The role of entrepreneurial knowledge as a competence in shaping Iranian student’s career intentions to start a new digital business. European Journal of Training and Development, 41(1), 83-100. doi:10.1108/ejtd-07-2016-0054
Galabova, L.; McKie, L. 2013. The five fingers of my hand: human capital and well-being in SMEs. Personnel Review 42(6), 662–683. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/PR-01-2012-0017
Galvao, A., Marques, C., & Ferreira, J. J. (2020). The role of entrepreneurship education and training programmes in advancing entrepreneurial skills and new ventures. European Journal of Training and Development, 44(6/7), 595-614. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJTD-10-2019-0174
Giones, F., & Brem, A. (2017). Digital technology entrepreneurship: A definition and research agenda. Technology innovation management review, 7(5), 44-51. doi:10.22215/timreview1076
Grönroos, C. (1991). From Marketing Mix to Relationship Marketing. Management Decision, 32(2), 4-20.
Guercini, S., & Cova, B. (2018). Unconventional Entrepreneurship. Journal of Business Research, 92(2018), 385-391. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2018.06.021
Halim, H. 2010. Statistical analysis on the intellectual capital statement. Journal of Intellectual Capital, 11(1), 61 – 73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/14691931011013334
Hamilton, L. (2019). Generation Y female students’ entrepreneurial attitude. Journal of Contemporary Management, 16(2), 481-492.
Haroon, A. A. S., & Usman, G. (2019). Need for achievement as a predictor of entrepreneurial behavior: The mediating role of entrepreneurial passion for founding and entrepreneurial interest. International Review of Management and Marketing, 10(1),40–53. https://doaj.org/article/65345b2237f047479b5ba017957f1f4e
Hassan, H. M. K. (2020). Intention towards social entrepreneurship of university students in an emerging economy: The influence of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurship education. On the Horizon, 28(3), 133-151. https://doi.org/10.1108/OTH-04-2020-0012
Hsu, L.-C; Wang, C.-H. (2010). Clarifying the Effect of Intellectual Capital on Performance: The Mediating Role of Dynamic Capability. British Journal of Management 23(2), 179–205. http://10.1111/j.1467-8551.2010.00718.x
Hsu, Yuan-Lin; Chen, Hung-Ling; Huang, Po-Kai; Lin, Wan-Yu. (2020). Does financial literacy mitigate gender differences in investment behavioral bias? Finance Research Letters, 2020, 101789. https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.frl.2020.101789
Kaszowska-Mojsa, J. (2020). Innovation strategies of manufacturing companies during expansions and slowdowns. Entrepreneurial Business and Economics Review, 8(4), 47-66. https://doi.org/10.15678/EBER.2020.080403
Khavandkar, Ehsan, Theodorakopoulos, Nicholas, Hart, Mark, & Preston, Jude (2016). Leading the Diffusion of Intellectual Capital Management Practices in Science Parks a chapter in a book H. Shipton, P. Budhwar, P. Sparrow, & A. Brown (Eds.), Human Resource Management, Innovation and Performance (pp. 213–231). London: Palgrave Macmillan
Karimi, S. (2020). The role of entrepreneurial passion in the formation of students’ entrepreneurial intentions. Applied Economics, 52(3), 331–344. https://doi.org/10.1080/00036846.2019.1645287.
Lefebvre, E., and Lefebvre, L. A. (2002). Determinant of export performance and behaviour: A longitudinal study of manufacturing SMEs in Kleinknecht. Econometric Explorations of Survey Data, 5(1), 281-309.
Li, C., Murad, M., Shahzad, F., Khan, M. A. S., Ashraf, S. F., & Dogbe, C. S. K. (2020). Entrepreneurial passion to entrepreneurial behavior: Role of entrepreneurial alertness, entrepreneurial self-efficacy and proactive personality. Frontiers in Psychology.
Lita, R.P.; Faisal, R.F.; Meuthia, M. (2020). Enhancing Small and Medium Enterprises Performance through Innovation in Indonesia: A Framework for Creative Industries Supporting Tourism. J. Hosp. Tour. Technology, 11, 155-176. [DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/JHTT-11-2017-0124]
Maddocks, J. & Beaney, M. (2002). See the invisible and intangible. Knowledge Management, March, 16-17.
Mansion, S., Bausch, A. (2020), Intangible Assets and SMEs' Export Behavior: A Meta-Analytical Perspective, in: Journal of Small Business Economics, 55(3), 727-760.
Martín-de-Castro and Gregorio. (2006). Organizational capital as competitive advantage of the firm. Journal of Intellectual Capital 7(3), 324-337.
McAdam, M., Harrison, R. T., & Leitch, C. M. (2019). Stories from the field: Women’s networking as gender capital in entrepreneurial ecosystems. Small Business Economics, 53(22), 459-474. doi:10.1007/s11187-018-9995-6
Nascimento, L.D.S., & Salazar, V.S. (2020). On social enterprises and social entrepreneurship: An extension. BARBrazilian Administration Review, 17(2), https://doi.org/10.1590/1807-7692bar2020190014
Ngah, R. and A. R. Ibrahim. (2009). The Relationship of Intellectual Capital, Innovation and Organizational Performance: A Preliminary Study in Malaysian SMEs. International Journal of Management Innovation Systems, 1(1), 1-12
Ngoasong, M. Z. (2018). Digital entrepreneurship in a resource-scarce context: A focus on entrepreneurial digital competencies. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 25(3), 483-500. doi10.1108/jsbed-01-2017-0014
Nzembayie, F. K. (2017). Using insider action research in the study of digital entrepreneurial processes: A pragmatic design choice. The Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods, 15(2), 85-98.
Pathak, S., & Muralidharan, E. (2019). Societal Ethics and Social Entrepreneurship: A Cross-Cultural Comparison. Cross-Cultural Res. https://roam.macewan.ca/islandora/object/gm%3A2429
Ramezan, M. (2011). Intellectual Capital and Organizational Organic Structure In Knowledge Society: How Are These Concepts Related? International journal of Information Management, 31(1), 88–95
Rauch, A.; Rijsdijk, S. A. (2013). The effects of general and specific human capital on long-term growth and failure of newly founded businesses. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice 37 (4): 923-941. http://10.1111/j.1540-6520.2011.00487.x
Ringberg, T., Odekerken-Schröder, G., & Christensen, G. L. (2007). A Cultural Models Approcah to service recovery. Journal of Marketing, 71(3), 194-214
Shipilov, A.; Danis, W. (2006). TMG social capital, strategic choice and firm performance. European Management Journal 24: 16–27. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.emj.2005.12.004
Sin, L. Y., Alan, C. B., Yau, O. H., Chow, R. P., Lee, J. S., & Lau, L. B. (2005). Relationship marketing orientation: scale development and cross-cultural validation. Journal of Business Research, 58(2), 185-194
SME Corporation 2020, - https://www.smecorp.gov.my/index.php/en/resources/2015-12-21-10-55- 22/news/4268-mentoring-programme-equips-entrepreneurs-with-skills-to-excel-inbusiness-world
Soete, B., & Stephan, A. (2004). Introduction: Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Growth. Industry and Innovation, 11(3), 161-165.
Stewart, T. A. (1991). Brainpower: how intellectual capital is becoming America’s most valuable asset. Fortune, 3, 44–60.
Subramaniam, Mohan, & Youndt, Mark (2005). The Influence of Intellectual Capital on the Types of Innovative Capabilities. Academy of Management Journal, 48(3), 450–463.
Suresh De Mel, David McKenzie and Christopher Woodruff (2014). Business Training and Female Enterprise Start-up, Growth, and Dynamics: Experimental evidence from Sri Lanka, Journal of Development Economics, 106, 199-210.
Sussan, F., & Acs, Z. J. (2017). The digital entrepreneurial ecosystem. Small Business Economics, 49(1), 55-73. doi:10.1007/s11187-017-9867-5
Unger, J. M., Rauch, A., Frese, M., Rosenbusch, N. (2011). Human capital and entrepreneurial success: A meta-analytical review. Journal of Business Venturing, 26, 341-358. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2009.09.004
Vafaei-Zadeh, A., Hanifah, H., Foroughi, B. and Salamzadeh, Y. (2019). Knowledge leakage, an Achilles’ heel of knowledge sharing, Eurasian Business Review, 9(4), 445-461.
Vázquez‐Carrasco, R., & Foxall, G. R. (2006). Positive vs. negative switching barriers: the influence of service customers' needs for variety. Journal of Customer Behaviour, 5(4), 367- 379
Venkatachalam, VB and Waqif, A., (2005). Outlook on integrating entrepreneurship In management education in India. Decision 32(2), 57-71.
Welbourne, T. M.; Pardo-del-Val, M., (2009). Relational Capital: Strategic Advantage for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises (SMEs) Through Negotiation and Collaboration. Group Decision and Negotiation 18(5), 483–497. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10726- 008-9138-6
Youndt M.A., Subramaniam M. and Snell, S.A., (2004). Intellectual capital profiles: an examination of investments and returns. Journal of Management Studies, 41(2), 335-362
Zelbst, P.J., Green, K.W., Sower, V.E. and Bond, P.L., (2019), The impact of RFID, IIoT, and Blockchain technologies on supply chain transparency, Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, 31(3), 441-457
Zhang, B., Lai, K.H., Wang, B., & Wang, Z., (2019). From intention to action: How do personal attitudes, facilities accessibility, and government stimulus matter for household waste sorting? J. Environ. Manage, 233, 447-458. https://research.polyu.edu.hk/en/publications/from-intention-to-action-how-do-personal-attitudes-facilities-acc
Zerenler, M.; Hasiloglu S. B.; Sezgin M., (2008). Intellectual capital and innovation performance: empirical evidence in the Turkish automotive supplier. Journal of Technology Management and Innovation, 3, 31–40. http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0718-27242008000200003
How to Cite
SUBRAMANIAM, S.Vijayan et al. Entrepreneurial Competencies Factors Influencing SMEs Entrepreneurial Performance in Malaysia: A Conceptual Framework. International Journal of Business and Technology Management, [S.l.], v. 5, n. 1, p. 278-291, mar. 2023. ISSN 2682-7646. Available at: <https://myjms.mohe.gov.my/index.php/ijbtm/article/view/21950>. Date accessed: 29 sep. 2023.