Predicting Malaysian university students’ intent to pursue retailing career: Applicability of theory of planned behavior




Career intention, Retailing, Theory of planned behavior, University students


Purpose: The retail industry offers diverse and unique career paths. However, despite the high demand for new graduates to fill managerial positions in the retail sector, their reluctance to pursue a retail career remain. This study aims to investigate the antecedents that predict retail career intention of Malaysian undergraduate business students.

Theoretical framework: Using Ajzen’s (1991) Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as the underpinning theoretical framework, this study hypothesized that students’ intent to pursue a career in retailing are influenced by the three independent variables in TPB (attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control) and the additional variable of knowledge.

Methodology: Data were collected via an online survey among a sample of 316 undergraduate business students from three public universities in Malaysia. Structural equation modelling approach was used to assess the strength of the hypothesized relationships of the proposed model simultaneously via the two-stage model building process.

Findings: Results indicate that students’ attitude, subjective norm, and knowledge significantly predicted students’ intent to pursue a career in retailing, but perceived behavioral control surprisingly did not. All the four explanatory variables in TPB explained about 76 percent of the variance in behavioral intention to pursue a retail career.

Research, Practical & Social implications: Findings of this study clearly supports the applicability of the TPB in predicting students’ intent to pursue a career in retailing. Results obtained can serve as a basis for future works in this area. This study also offers implications for educators and industry practitioners to foster retail career intentions among students.

Originality: This study is a pioneering attempt to test the applicability of the TPB as a theoretical framework to predict university students’ retail career intention.


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Author Biographies

Safiek Mokhlis, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT), Kuala Nerus, Terengganu

Safiek Mokhlis obtained his PhD at the University of Stirling, Scotland in 2006. He is currently associate professor at Universiti Malaysia Terengganu. His research work covers a wide variety of marketing topics, primarily with a focus on consumer behavior. Specific interests include cultural influences on consumer behavior, consumer socialization, shopping orientation, retail patronage and service quality.

Nik Syuhailah Nik Hussin, Faculty of Entrepreneurship and Business, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan

Being a lecturer marketing at Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Nik Syuhailah keen in the field of marketing, consumerism issue and retailing. She received her PhD from Universiti Malaysia Terengganu in 2021. Currently she had published papers, involved with grant and consultation with other network that relate to her passion.

Nurul Zarirah Nizam, Faculty of Technology Management and Technopreneurship, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka

Nurul Zarirah Nizam is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Technology Management and Technopreneurship, Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka. She received her PhD in Business Administration (Green Marketing and Retailing) from Aichi University, Japan in 2016. Her research interests include Sustainability Marketing, Digital Media in Marketing, Brand Management and Retail. She has a professional certification in the field of Digital Marketing (CDMS - Certified Digital Marketing Specialist). She has been appointed as Programme Coordinator of Marketing since 2019 to date.

Nor Azila Mohd Noor, Institute for Business Competitiveness, Standards and Sustainability Initiative, School of Business Management, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah.

Nor Azila Mohd Noor is currently a professor in Marketing at School of Business Management, Universiti Utara Malaysia. She is currently serves as a Director of Institute for Business Competitiveness, Standards & Sustainability Initiative (IBCSI), School of Business Management, Universiti Utara Malaysia. Nor Azila is best known for her work on studies related to consumer behavior, relationship marketing, retailing, customer relationship management (CRM), sales management and green marketing.

Noor Awanis Muslim, College of Business Management and Accounting, Universiti Tenaga Nasional

Noor Awanis Muslim is a senior lecturer at College of Accounting and Business Management, Universiti Tenaga Nasional. She received her PhD from Lincoln University, New Zealand in 2018. Her research interests lie in the field of human resource management, particularly employee behavior. She has published over 40 journal articles in these areas.


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How to Cite

Mokhlis, S., Nik Hussin, N. S., Nizam, N. Z., Mohd Noor, N. A., & Muslim, N. A. (2021). Predicting Malaysian university students’ intent to pursue retailing career: Applicability of theory of planned behavior. International Journal of Professional Business Review, 7(1), e0277.