Contextual influences on organizing entrepreneurship education in higher education institutions – Thesis published

My masters thesis about entrepreneurship has been finally published. You can find the abstract and the full text from here: https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/97529

Abstract
Encouraging results in entrepreneurship education research has given assurance for the role of entrepreneurship education as an instrument for developing individual entrepreneurial intentions and capabilities. However, it is still rather unknown, how this type of education should be organized and what are the key factors involved in it. This study aims to understand the process of organizing entrepreneurship education and its surrounding contextual influences. 

 Based on prior literature of entrepreneurship education, organizational and institutional theory, this study addresses the key contextual factors involved in organizing entrepreneurship education. The study is conducted via a qualitative research method with semi-structured interviews to top technical universities in Europe. In a total of 16 expert interviews were conducted in five different European universities including Aalto University, ETH Zürich, Grenoble Institute of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and KU Leuven.  

The findings showed that entrepreneurship education is organized differently and the offering of each university varies. Universities offer formal entrepreneurship education ranging from forms of entrepreneurship programs to courses. However, the importance of entrepreneurial supporting activities is typically highlighted more than formal entrepreneurship education. The results imply, that organizing entrepreneurship education requires the concept of entrepreneurship education, resources and authority to implement the educational concept. These organizational elements are influenced by a multitude of contextual factors that affect the organizing of entrepreneurship education which can be categorized as environmental context, institutional context, organizational context and resource context.   

The suggested contextual categorizations form a frame of key influential factors which the organization of entrepreneurship education can be examined. This represents the most noteworthy implication of the study. The categorizations suggest that organizing entrepreneurship education is influenced by its context, thus comparisons between different universities should be conducted cautiously. Top-management and the academic staff play a crucial role in creating an encouraging environment for entrepreneurship via university priorities and supportive internal culture. To encourage entrepreneurship education in a university setting, the universities should form general objectives for the education, incentivize and find the suitable organizational units and individuals to strive the entrepreneurship education forward.

Outcomes and results – Entrepreneurship education building blocks

In this series of posts (Building blocks of Entrepreneurship Program), the posts are going to dive to the 5 fundamental dimensions of entrepreneurial education programs and discover the research views on the subject

Building blocks of entrepreneurship education program

Fayolle and Gailly (2008) introduce a framework for assessing and designing entrepreneurship education programs. In their view, entrepreneurship education should address five different questions in their architecture:

  1. Why (objectives)
  2. For whom (audiences)
  3. For which results (evaluations)
  4. What (contents, theories)
  5. How (methods, pedagogies)

In this article, we are focusing on the results and evaluation viewpoint.

Does entrepreneurship education work?

Research has found a link between entrepreneurship education and students perceptions of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activity, entrepreneurial competences and psychological attributes (Kolvereid and Moen, 1997; Fayolle, Gailly and Lassas‐Clerc, 2006; Sánchez, 2013; Walter and Block, 2016; Lyons and Zhang, 2018, see more at Table 3). However, some studies have some mixed results on the effects of entrepreneurship education (Bae et al., 2014) and even negative effects (Oosterbeek, Van Praag and Ijsselstein, 2010). Generally, the research results suggest that entrepreneurship education with proper design has a positive effect towards entrepreneurial competences and entrepreneurial intentions. Table 1 summarizes entrepreneurship education outcomes.

The literature on effects of entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial competence development, increasing one’s human capital, is positive (Martin, Mcnally and Kay, 2013). Detienne and Chandler (2004) tested SEEC (securing, expanding, exposing and challenging) model to train students in opportunity identification. Their study involved 130 undergraduate business students who participated in a strategic management course with SEEC training involved. They tested the students with idea generation and innovativeness measure (KAI inventory). The study found that, the training had an influence on the ability to generate more ideas for business opportunities and additionally were characterized as more innovative. Moreover, the study had an important implication since the ability to be innovative pre-training, did not moderate the impact of the training intervention. The students with better innovativeness scores in the beginning of the training benefited similarly as those students with lower scores. The focus on entrepreneurial competences in research is still a bit scarce, however a large meta-analysis conducted by Martin et al. (2013), found overall positive indications of entrepreneurship education towards improving participants entrepreneurship-related knowledge and skills.

The vast majority of entrepreneurial research focuses on intention-based models that find the connection between entrepreneurship education and the desire to become an entrepreneur. There is a considerable number of studies that indicate the positive effect between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intentions (see Table 3). Most studies link locus-of-control and self-efficacy to positively associate with entrepreneurial intentions (e.g., Kolvereid and Moen, 1997; Sánchez, 2013). There is evidence that self-efficacy can be affected through positive experiences, well planned education leading to master of experiences, role models and social persuasion (Zhao, Greene & Crick, 2005). However, there are studies that found little to no effect on entrepreneurial intention developed by an entrepreneurial education program (Oosterbeek, et al., 2019, Westhead & Matlay, 2006). Moreover, Oosterbeek’s study found a negative effect on the intention to become an entrepreneur compared to a control group who did not take the entrepreneurial education program.

The study suggests that the students going through the program had a more realistic perception of entrepreneurship, thus their motivation could have decreased by understanding the realities of knowledge and skills related to entrepreneurship. This is backed by Hytti and Kuopusjärvi’s (2004) view, that many entrepreneurship education research is evaluated shortly after the intervention, thus leaving out results of longitudinal evidence of entrepreneurship education. Osterbeek’s findings call for more longitudinal research in the field of entrepreneurship, if it is indeed true that there are immediate effects of educational intervention and entrepreneurial intentions. Additionally, measures of success have to be planned with care, for example, Luthje and Franke, (2003) point out that a limited proportion of graduates create new ventures shortly after graduation, emphasizing the importance of measuring longitudinal effects. Moreover, Hytti and Kuopusjärvi (2004), found that measuring entrepreneurship education is typically constrained by financial factors, namely that evaluation is left with insufficient attention in the budgetary planning.

In summary, several scholars have pointed out that entrepreneurship education should consider not only entrepreneurial skills and knowledge-based learning goals, but also belief systems and behavioral models when designing an entrepreneurship program (Gibb, 2002). If the program’s intention is to increase the entrepreneurial intentions leading students to start their own companies or joining to early stage businesses, the education program needs to be structured to influence the student’s self-efficacy belief,” the can-do attitude” towards entrepreneurship.

Table 1 Summary of entrepreneurship education outcomes

CategorySub-categoryAuthor(s), Publishing year
Entrepreneurial activity Kolvereid and Moen (1997)
  Galloway and Brown (2002)
 Prior experience of a studentLyons and L. Zhang (2018)
 Country-level institutional profileWalter and Block (2016)
Entrepreneurial intentions Bae et al. (2014)
 Enterpreneurial profileSánchez (2013)
 Personality attributesLuthje and Franke (2003)
  Hansemark (1998)
 Self-efficacyZhao, Hills & Seibert (2005)
 Entrepreneurial skillsOosterbeek, Van Praag & Ijsselstein (2010)
 Entrepreneurial processVon Graevenitz, Harhoff & Weber (2010)
 Perceived behavioural controlFayolle, Gailly & Lassas‐Clerc (2006)
 Entrepreneurial attitudesSouitaris et al. (2007) European Commission (2012)
 Role modelsVan Auken, Fry, and Stephens (2006)
Entrepreneurial competences Pihkala (2008)
 Entrepreneurial characteristicsHornaday, J. A. and Aboud, J. (1971) Begley and Boyd, D. P. (1987) Busenitz and Barney (1997)
 Balanced skillsLazear (2004)
 Entrepreneurial intentionsMartin, Mcnally & Kay (2013)
 InnovativenessDetienne and Chandler (2004)
 Competence definitionsBird (1995) Bacigalupo et al. (2016)
 SME competencesDavies et al. (2002)
Perceptions of entrepreneurship Peterman and Kennedy (2003)
 SMEs characteristicsWesthead and Matlay (2006)

Jatka lukemista ”Outcomes and results – Entrepreneurship education building blocks”

What and how? Entrepreneurship education building blocks

In this series of posts (Building blocks of Entrepreneurship Program), the posts are going to dive to the 5 fundamental dimensions of entrepreneurial education programs and discover the research views on the subject

Building blocks of entrepreneurship education program

Fayolle and Gailly (2008) introduce a framework for assessing and designing entrepreneurship education programs. In their view, entrepreneurship education should address five different questions in their architecture:

  1. Why (objectives)
  2. For whom (audiences)
  3. For which results (evaluations)
  4. What (contents, theories)
  5. How (methods, pedagogies)

In this article, we are focusing on the content and methods viewpoint.

Contents of entrepreneurship education

There are various contents in entrepreneurship education programs. They vary in their curriculum, teaching methods, lengths, courses, teaching staff and focus areas. Kirby (2004), reviewed over 200 different entrepreneurship programs in United Kingdom and concluded three different focus areas for the programs:

  1. programs that focus to give an orientation and awareness about entrepreneurship
  2. programs that develop competences for new venture creation, self-employment or economic self-sufficiency
  3. programs that focus on small business survival and growth.

Garavan and O′Cinneide (1994), explored six different European entrepreneurship training and education programs. They categorized the programs contents to three different business development phases: business formation process, idea development process and business management stage. In their analysis, approximately 68 percent of the program time was spent on the idea development phase and only 8 percent of the time was spent focusing on the business management phase.

The variation of different entrepreneurship education program contents might derive from the fragmentation of the entrepreneurship literature and the definition of entrepreneurship (Hytti and Gorman, 2002; Bennett, 2006). Fiet (2001b, 2001a), observed 18 different entrepreneurship courses and already found 116 different topics. The paper criticized that course content varied so drastically, that it was difficult to find common purpose for the courses. Similarly, Matlay (2005) found program course variation a challenge for research to formulate generalizations of the program and course effects.

Typical entrepreneurship education program courses include financing, creation and management of firms and SMEs, marketing, business planning, idea and opportunity discovery, growth management and team building (Garavan and O’Cinneide, 1994; Hytti and Gorman, 2002; Mwasalwiba, 2010).

There are arguments that entrepreneurship courses should not only focus on the skills and knowledge development of the target audience but additionally nurture attributes and behaviors associated with entrepreneurship (Gibb, 1993, 2002; Fiet, 2001a; Fayolle and Gailly, 2008). These attributes and behavioral triggers, include risk-propensity, need for achievement self-efficacy, locus of control, tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty, need and belief in controlling one’s destiny, being able to vision and dream, charisma, opportunism and innovation (Hornaday and Aboud, 1971; Gibb, 1987; Begley and Boyd, 1987; Busenitz and Barney, 1997; Chen, Greene and Crick, 1998; Jack and Anderson, 1999; Gibb, 2002; Ivanova and Gibcus, 2003; Shook, Priem and McGee, 2003; Basu, 2004; Zhao, Hills and Seibert, 2005; Vermeulen and Curseu, 2008). However, there is no consensus on which attributes should be nurtured (Adcroft, Willis and Dhaliwal, 2004). Moreover, it is not clear are the attributes associated with entrepreneurship derived from research results or by following successful entrepreneur cases (Garavan and O’Cinneide, 1994).

Figure 1 The competences of entrepreneurs. European Commission 2012

Entrepreneurial competences might involve interpersonal skills such as creativity, adaptability and leadership, managerial skills such as business planning and accounting, or tacit knowledge linked to different topics. A comprehensive review on the effects of entrepreneurial education conducted by the European Commission (2012), the individual entrepreneurial competences are divided to knowledge, skills and attitudes (Figure 1). Knowledge refers to what entrepreneurship is and broader understanding of entrepreneurship and the role of an entrepreneur, whereas skills refer to the ability become an entrepreneur, turning ideas into action, such as creating a business plan or ability to analyze and assess risks (European Commission, 2012). European Commission suggested that entrepreneurship education should aim to a comprehensive model of entrepreneurs from social life to working towards proactive action towards change.

The Figure 1, shows the complexity of an entrepreneur with multitude of defined characteristics, skills and knowledge spectrums. Thus, people designing the education programs have a wide variety of content options when planning for the educational offering. This variety makes researching entrepreneurship education a hard task since it is difficult to distinguish the causality behind entrepreneurial education content. However, from a practical perspective, it is reasonable to say, that the contents of an educational program should include skills, attitudes and knowledge aspects of being an entrepreneur (!Depending on the aims of the program! See: https://iinurmi.wordpress.com/2020/03/25/building-blocks-of-entrepreneurship-program-what-is-the-purpose-of-an-entrepreneurship-education-program/).

Lecturer’s role and teaching methods

Even if the entrepreneurship education program content has been affectively designed to take into consideration to cover the psychological attributes and the skills and knowledge needs of entrepreneurs the program should focus who are teaching the subjects and how. There are various articles emphasizing the educator’s role in the education program (Bennett, 2006; Hindle, 2007; Sörensson and Bogren, 2020).

Bennet (2006) explored lecturers’ perceptions of entrepreneurship courses in 82 higher education institutions across United Kingdom. The study categorized that there were two distinct definitions of entrepreneurship by the lecturers: those who defined entrepreneurship as running a business (owner-manager role) and those who associated entrepreneurs with set of special attributes distinctive from rest of the population such as innovativeness and creativity. However, more profoundly, the study found no consistent definition of entrepreneurship among the lecturers, which in turn effected the approach which the lecturers taught entrepreneurship courses. The lecturers with more managerial and owner role definition of entrepreneurship preferred the management skills approach to the education. The faculty members background appeared to influence their definition of entrepreneurship. Lecturers with moderately long period of practical business experience expressed the definition of entrepreneur being close to an owner-manager role compared to the lecturers with less practical experience. In addition, the study found that a significant portion of the lecturers were teaching entrepreneurship courses as part-time from their time-table. Moreover, some lecturers reported to be volunteered to teach in the courses (Bennett, 2006).

In the field of entrepreneurship education there are several pedagogies and teaching methods used and observed (Carrier, 2007). In Fayolle and Gailly’s (2008) perspective, the pedagogies used in teaching is overemphasized, since pedagogy is the aim to achieve learning objectives. In their view, defining objectives and exploring the constrains to the aim help program designers to select the appropriate teaching methods.

Garavan and O′Cinneide (1994) categorized entrepreneurship teaching strategies utilized by entrepreneurship education programs into didactic, inductive and skill-building strategies. In their view the courses that utilize didactic strategy were aiming to provide the knowledge about entrepreneurship, facts and theories. Skill-building strategy was aimed to put the theory in the practice, to develop their effectiveness as entrepreneurs. Inductive strategy was used to aim for reflective and observational learning, such as group discussions and mentoring (Garavan and O′Cinneide, 1994).

Teaching methods answer the question of how entrepreneurship is being educated. The teaching methods can be categorized in multiple ways. One common way is to categorize teaching methods to “traditional” (passive) and “entrepreneurial” or “innovative learning” (active) teaching methods (Gibb, 1993, 2002; Garavan and O’Cinneide, 1994; Bennett, 2006). Teaching methods consist of types of activities the learners are engaged in. Traditional teaching methods are often associated with university and business schools and include lectures, case studies and reading materials. Gibb (1993) emphasizes “entrepreneurial” teaching models that emphasize the notion of learning while and doing. In addition, Garavan and O’Cinneide (1994) emphasize that entrepreneurial teaching and learning methods should encourage students to explore solutions to problems from a multidisciplinary viewpoint, encourage use of feelings, experience-based learning, ownership by seeking outsider advice and networks.

In Garavan and O’Cinneide’s (1994) model, didactic teaching model uses lectures, seminars, handout material, video presentations, computer-based instruction and manuals, which can be categorized as traditional learning methods. Skill-based learning utilizes case studies, role-playing, workshops, presentations and simulations, which take the audience to a more active role and help them learn by experience. Inductive methods include networking, non-directive counseling, coaching, mentor relationships, idea generation workshops and leaderless group discussions. Multiple scholars have criticized that traditional teaching methods are antiquated in the context of entrepreneurship. According to Bennet (2006) traditional learning methods do not nurture the attributes of an entrepreneur and can even hinder the development of entrepreneurial attributes and skills (Kirby, 2004).

Traditional learning focuses (Table 1) and teaching methods (Table 2) compared to entrepreneurial counterparts. Source: Gibb (1993), Garavan and O’Cinneide (1994), Hindle (2002), Verduyn et al. (2009), Fiet (2000a, b)

Table 1, Learning Focus

Traditional Learning FocusEntrepreneurial learning focus
Critical judgement after analysis of large amounts of information“Gut feel” decision making with limited information

Understanding and recalling the information itselfUnderstanding the values of those who transmit and filter information
Assuming goals awayRecognize the widely varied goals of others
Seeking (impersonally) to verify absolute truth by study of informationMaking decisions on the basis of judgement of trust and competence of people

Understanding basic principles of society in the metaphysical senseSeeking to apply and adjust in practice to basic principles of society
Seeking the correct answer with time to do itDeveloping the most appropriate solution under pressure
Gleaning information from experts and authoritative sourcesLearning while and through doing

Learning in the classroomGleaning information personally from any and everywhere, and weighing it
Evaluation through written assessmentEvaluation by judgement of people and events through direct feedback
Success in learning measured by knowledge-based examinationSuccess in learning by solving problems and learning from failure
Table 2, Teaching Methods 
Traditional Teaching MethodsEntrepreneurial or Innovative teaching methods
Lectures
Seminars
Handout material
Video presentations
Computer-based instruction
Manuals
Gleaning information from experts and authoritative source
Case studies Presentations
Business Planning
Role playing
Workshops
Presentations
Simulations
Networking
Coaching
Role Models
Games Competitions
Videos and filming
Leaderless group discussions

The view on moving from traditional teaching methods to more active and entrepreneurial teaching methods is being supported by successful experiments (Auken, Fry and Stephens, 2006; Heinonen and Poikkijoki, 2006; Smith, Collins and Hannon, 2006; Izquierdo, Caicedo and Chiluiza, 2007). However, many of the studies are based on perceptions and self-assessments of the teaching methods, and research is still lacking in assessing outcomes such as long-term effects of entrepreneurship education using active teaching methods.

Mwasalwiba (2010) reviewed multiple articles exploring teaching methods of entrepreneurship education courses and found that traditional teaching methods were used than active teaching methods. Compared to traditional teaching methods, active teaching methods, require more investment and time to organize (Fiet, 2000a; Fiet, 2000b). In addition, they might need other facilities than normal class-room education, thus many lecturers might choose to teach in a more traditional way. For the moment, the best solution may be to aim at various traditional and active learning methods until research can prove the differences and effectiveness of certain methods in entrepreneurship education.

Jatka lukemista ”What and how? Entrepreneurship education building blocks”

Building blocks of EE Program – Audience

In this series of posts (Building blocks of Entrepreneurship Program), the posts are going to dive to the 5 fundamental dimensions of entrepreneurial education programs and discover the research views on the subject

Building blocks of entrepreneurship education program

Fayolle and Gailly (2008) introduce a framework for assessing and designing entrepreneurship education programs. In their view, entrepreneurship education should address five different questions in their architecture:

  1. Why (objectives)
  2. For whom (audiences)
  3. For which results (evaluations)
  4. What (contents, theories)
  5. How (methods, pedagogies)

In this article, we are focusing on the audience aspect.

Audience of entrepreneurship education program

For an entrepreneurship program to reach its goals successfully, it is necessary to analyse its target audience. Crucial factors in the audience can be the skills and motivation levels of the participants and the background of the participants. A study program is bound to be different according to its audience aim for example if it is intended for technical students or management students or to students in different levels of education such as master’s level or Ph.D. level students (Fayolle and Gailly, 2008).

A challenge in teaching entrepreneurship education programs lies in differences in the commitment and aims of the students holding in a particular program. The audience can include students that have already started their business and those who are less committed to starting a business and those who have no intention to start a business at all. Lyons and Zhang (2018) observed a North American entrepreneurship program, Next 36, which included traditional academic studies and elements of incubation programs such as access to seed capital, mentorship, and connections to VCs and entrepreneurs. The study found that the program had a positive effect on the probability of students pursuing entrepreneurial activities, such as founding a company, and a positive effect on the entrepreneurial capabilities of the students. However, students with prior experience in founding a technology company prior to the program benefitted less from the program and had more marginal results of increased activity. In contrast, participants with experience in self-employment, founding non-tech firms, non-profits, and product development did not have the same effect as technology company founders. The program’s aim was to give students the capabilities to start technology firms. The post-survey in the study showed increased the likelihood of students creating ventures in the tech industry sector. The results suggest that participants with prior capabilities in the same sector might benefit less from such programs and that entrepreneurship programs with similar aims as Next 36, are most effective for participants with less prior skills and resources particularly in the tech sector (Lyons and Zhang, 2018).

The results can be slightly counter-intuitive since individuals with prior knowledge on subjects have a better ability to utilise the knowledge provided in the program (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990; Glaeser and Maré, 2001). On the other hand, participants with prior experience might already be knowledgeable on the subject matter and have required other resources elsewhere, thus benefitting less from the program or at least believing that they benefit less. Zhao, Hills and Seibert (2005) found that formal academic learning and prior entrepreneurial experience had the most meditating effect on student’s entrepreneurial self-efficacy and theorised that self-efficacy is positively related to entrepreneurial intentions, leading to believe that education and prior-experience plays a big role in one’s decision to become an entrepreneur.

In addition, there might be a bias of students taking entrepreneurship courses that already have positive intentions towards entrepreneurship. Peterman and Kennedy (2003) observed an entrepreneurship program for high-schoolers and found that 80% of the participants had already entrepreneurial experience and that prior positive and experiences related to how positive the students evaluated the program. If students had prior negative experiences with entrepreneurship and felt that the program was indeed a positive experience for them, the increase was higher in attitude towards entrepreneurship (Peterman and Kennedy, 2003). However, the predisposition towards entrepreneurship in program attendees is a challenge since the programs are attracting students that already have high intentions towards entrepreneurship thus having lesser need to be encouraged to an entrepreneurial career (Bae et al., 2014). In addition, if programs aim to raise intentions for students that have no prior experience or negative experiences in entrepreneurship, they need programs to find ways to promote the program to those students.

Some concluding thoughts

It is not clear who benefits the most from the entrepreneurship education programs, thus who should it be taught. Educators should at least consider basic factors in their education, student’s prior experience with entrepreneurship, student’s intentions towards entrepreneurship. If the course is intended to introduce and create more intentions towards entrepreneurship, it can be argued that those courses are most beneficial to students with few experiences with entrepreneurship. In addition, educators and program directors have the challenge that there might be a bias, that students already interested in starting their own business attend entrepreneurship courses thus those that would benefit the most from the ”inspiration” to become an entrepreneur, might not ever encounter such courses. Moreover, it is not clear how homogeneous the audience one program or a course should be intended to be. Students with different backgrounds, experiences, and ages add myriad of benefits to their co-students and expose them to different thinking patterns which are highly beneficial forming people’s problem-solving abilities.

During this thesis process, I have already found that many educators try to incorporate some elements of entrepreneurship into their current courses, for example, involving a multidisciplinary team formation in a computer science project course and adding some business analysis to the project. Other ways are introducing entrepreneurship with different terms such as design thinking which already utilises many ”entrepreneurial” processes with slight variation in the terms that the course is using. This might be a valid route to integrate entrepreneurship education without forcing students to take ”entrepreneurship” courses mandatorily, yet gaining some benefits from the entrepreneurial thinking to different target groups that would not otherwise be exposed to entrepreneurial tools and methods.


References

Bae, T. J. et al. (2014) ‘The Relationship Between Entrepreneurship Education and Entrepreneurial Intentions: A Meta-Analytic Review’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications, 38(2), pp. 217–254. doi: 10.1111/etap.12095.

Cohen, W. M. and Levinthal, D. A. (1990) ‘Absorptive Capacity : A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 35(1), pp. 128–152.

Fayolle, A. and Gailly, B. (2008) ‘From craft to science’, Journal of European Industrial Training. Emerald, 32(7), pp. 569–593. doi: 10.1108/03090590810899838.

Glaeser, E. L. and Maré, D. C. (2001) ‘Cities and skills’, Journal of Labor Economics, 19(2), pp. 316–342. doi: 10.1086/319563.

Lyons, E. and Zhang, L. (2018) ‘Who does (not) benefit from entrepreneurship programs?’, Strategic Management Journal. Wiley, 39(1), pp. 85–112. doi: 10.1002/smj.2704.

Peterman, N. E. and Kennedy, J. (2003) ‘Enterprise Education: Influencing Students’ Perceptions of Entrepreneurship’, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice. SAGE Publications, 28(2), pp. 129–144. doi: 10.1046/j.1540-6520.2003.00035.x.

Zhao, H., Hills, G. E. and Seibert, S. E. (2005) ‘The mediating role of self-efficacy in the development of entrepreneurial intentions’, Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(6), pp. 1265–1272. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.90.6.1265.

Featured image by Antenna on Unsplash

Building blocks of EE Program – The Purpose

In this series of posts (Building blocks of Entrepreneurship Program), the posts are going to dive to the 5 fundamental dimensions of entrepreneurial education programs and discover the research views on the subject

Building blocks of entrepreneurship education program

Fayolle and Gailly (2008) introduce a framework for assessing and designing entrepreneurship education programs. In their view, entrepreneurship education should address five different questions in their architecture:

  1. Why (objectives)
  2. For whom (audiences)
  3. For which results (evaluations)
  4. What (contents, theories)
  5. How (methods, pedagogies)

In this article, we are focusing on the why aspect.

Objectives of entrepreneurship education program

The objectives of entrepreneurship education can be defined in micro-level (individual) and in the macro-level (organisation, society). At the individual level, the educational program should consider different learning objectives for different individual roles. Aims and objectives even if not clearly defined, will eventually affect other aspects of program design, such as who will be selected to the entrepreneurship program, what contents and courses will the program consist of, the evaluation of the program and how entrepreneurship will be taught (Fayolle and Gailly, 2008). Hytti and Gorman (2002), define three different aims for participants in entrepreneurship programs including learning about entrepreneurship, learning to become entrepreneurial and learning to become an entrepreneur. Jatka lukemista ”Building blocks of EE Program – The Purpose”

Making sense about Entrepreneurship – Education: a venture creator or ’mindset’ amplifier?

Policy makers worldwide have emphasised entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education (EE) for its economic benefits (Kuratko, 2005; Neck and Greene, 2011). Entrepreneurs are widely associated with job creation and catalysts for economic growth regionally and nationally and are seen as the major force in global competition. As a result of early positive indications of entrepreneurship education and as a response to global competitive pressure, many governments are pushing policies that are increasing the capabilities and amount of entrepreneurs nationally (Gibb, 1999, 2002; Acs et al., 2016). There are positive signs of entrepreneurial education and its relation to increasing entrepreneurial activity. It is now commonly accepted that indeed entrepreneurial competencies can be developed by education, at least to a certain degree and that entrepreneurs are not only born, but they can be made (Kuratko 2003). Jatka lukemista ”Making sense about Entrepreneurship – Education: a venture creator or ’mindset’ amplifier?”

Making sense about Entrepreneurship – Be good at everything and excellent at nothing

Photo by Garrhet Sampson on Unsplash

Emphasis on skill-based training for entrepreneurs have been made due to existing evidence that owners in new businesses need to focus on financial and budgeting skills, marketing, recruiting and human resource management rather than innovativeness and confidence (Hambrick and D’Aveni, 1988; Davies et al., 2002; Keogh and Galloway, 2004). Reason being, that most entrepreneurs and owners do not tend to lack personal attributes such as innovativeness and confidence. Naturally, there are various skills and competencies that can lead to functioning enterprise and depends on the business industry. The most commonly accepted skills, regardless of the industry, include creativity, flexibility, market orientation, project management, leadership, communication and teamwork skills (Westhead and Matlay, 2006; Oosterbeek, Van Praag and Ijsselstein, 2010; European Commission, 2012). In addition, it is acknowledged that businesses in different growing phases are subject to different areas of challenges. Chen Greene and Crick (1998) described different entrepreneurial roles such as innovator, risk-taker, executive manager, relation builder, risk reducer and goal achiever. The roles that a business needs were dependent on the maturity level of the company and the problems they were facing. Therefore, it can be assumed that entrepreneurs need different skills according to the company stage and the role that the entrepreneur is focusing on.

Jatka lukemista ”Making sense about Entrepreneurship – Be good at everything and excellent at nothing”

Making sense about Entrepreneurship – What do I need to know as an entrepreneur?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

There are numerous competencies that an entrepreneur needs. The article focuses on the knowledge needed as an entrepreneur. Knowledge refers to what entrepreneurship is and broader understanding of entrepreneurship and the role of an entrepreneur, whereas skills refer to the ability to become an entrepreneur, turn the ideas into action, such as creating a business plan or ability to analyse and assess risks. As previously noted, entrepreneurship can be defined as one’s ability to identify opportunities and exploit them. Can research identify the knowledge needed in regard to this view?

Jatka lukemista ”Making sense about Entrepreneurship – What do I need to know as an entrepreneur?”

Making sense about Entrepreneurship – What does it mean to have a can do attitude (Self-Efficacy)?

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

An entrepreneur can be viewed as a task-orientated role, comparable to a managerial and or owner role in a business. However, there are arguments that an entrepreneur is somewhat different from a business manager, having distinct attributes that differentiate an entrepreneur (Gibb, 1987, 2002). There are arguments that entrepreneurs carry distinct traits, values and have different attitudes towards taking an initiative. Entrepreneurs are often associated with attributes such as risk-propensity, need for achievement and self-efficacy (Begley and Boyd, 1987; Chen, Greene and Crick, 1998; Vermeulen and Curseu, 2008).

Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to perform certain tasks successfully (Bandura, 1997). Self-efficacy is crucial in developing a positive attitude toward challenges and taking action. It is discovered to be a dominant influence not only overcoming obstacles but a driving force behind one’s choice to pursue activities and behavioral settings. Bandura and Wood (1989) define that individual with high self-efficacy expectations leads the individual to the approach the setting, whereas an individual with low-self efficacy makes them avoid that setting. Studies have found that high entrepreneurial self-efficacy leads to entrepreneurial intention such as a positive attitude toward founding a company (Chen, Greene and Crick, 1998; Zhao, Hills and Seibert, 2005). However, even if intention there is a link towards entrepreneurial activity and intention and has been widely explored (Ajzen, 1991), it is reasonable to argue that there might be contextual barriers for individuals to act according to the intentions.
Jatka lukemista ”Making sense about Entrepreneurship – What does it mean to have a can do attitude (Self-Efficacy)?”

Making sense about Entrepreneurship – Are entrepreneurs more risk takers than non-entrepreneurs?

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An entrepreneur can be viewed as a task-orientated role, comparable to a managerial and or owner role in a business. However, there are arguments that an entrepreneur is somewhat different from a business manager, having distinct attributes that differentiate an entrepreneur (Gibb, 1987, 2002). There are arguments that entrepreneurs carry distinct traits, values and have different attitudes towards taking an initiative. Entrepreneurs are often associated with attributes such as risk-propensity, need for achievement and self-efficacy (Begley and Boyd, 1987; Chen, Greene and Crick, 1998; Vermeulen and Curseu, 2008).

Risk propensity refers to individuals tendency to take different decisions based on how much risk is involved in the decision context (Vermeulen and Curseu, 2008). Busenitz and Barney (1997) compared business managers and entrepreneur’s decision-making heuristics to each other and found that entrepreneurs indeed “acted riskier” from an outsider’s perspective than the business managers. However, why the decisions of entrepreneurs differentiated from the control group, were related to one’s bias toward overconfidence and representativeness. Entrepreneurs might think differently about the decisions on opportunities, by being more willing to generalise the opportunity from limited experience (representativeness) and feeling overconfident to overcome certain tasks and obstacles, thus concluding that the opportunity is less risky form their perspective (Busenitz and Barney, 1997).

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