Management of education for entrepreneurship: conceptual foundation for practice & research.

Author:Jain, Ravindra
Position:Report - Abstract

Introduction

Education for entrepreneurship (EE) enhances the entrepreneurial potential of individuals as it is a source of entrepreneurial intentions and venture effectiveness. The results of meta-analysis carried out by (Schlaegel et al., 2015:23) suggest that while educational support has a positive effect on entrepreneurial intent, lack of knowledge, experience, and training has a negative effect on entrepreneurial intent. Environment provides values, societal norms, and guiding principles as regards the desirable behaviors that guide one's entrepreneurial behaviors. Entrepreneurship education is a prime source of all such scripts through which prospective entrepreneurs can be guided appropriately for their entrepreneurial pursuits. Education for entrepreneurship is recognized as a significant phenomenon for entrepreneurial intentions and entrepreneurial success. Prior research (e.g., Kolvereid & Moen, 1997; Tkachev & Kolvereid, 1999; Varela & Jimenez, 2001; Fayolle, et al., 2005) indicates that there exists a positive association between one's entrepreneurial learning and entrepreneurial potentiality. The outcomes of the research study of Elmuti, Khoury & Omran (2012) reveals that there exists a linkage between entrepreneurial training and ventures' effectiveness. An Indian study by Nair & Pandey (2006) also revealed that entrepreneurship is favorably influenced by technical training in a related field. Earlier research (e.g., Zhao, Seibert & Hills, 2005; Schroder & Rodermund, 2006; Souitaris, Zerbinati, & Al-Laham, 2007) indicates that participation in academic programs positively influences the entrepreneurial potential of individuals. In the GEM report 2008, it was reported that "the relationship between training in starting a business and entrepreneurial attitudes, aspirations, and activity is generally positive, but complex.... The yield from training, or the ratio of activity among the trained to that among the non-trained, varies from country to country, but on average the yield from compulsory training is slightly more than half that of voluntary training" (Bosma, Acs, Autio, Coduras & Levie, 2009: 48).

There is an increasing recognition in the past research studies that education for entrepreneurship (EE) enhances the entrepreneurial potential of individuals as it is a source of entrepreneurial intentions, new venture creation and venture effectiveness. The growth and expansion of entrepreneurial education and training programs in the last two-three decades have been remarkable (Kuratko, 2005; Green & Rice, 2007; Cone, 2008; Katz, 2008; Neck & Greene, 2011). As such entrepreneurship education has acquired legitimization and respectability. Reviews of extant research (e.g., Goduscheit, 2011; Pittaway & Cope, 2007) have indicated that the issue of 'relationship between education for entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial intentions / new ventures start-ups' is less explored. In order to encourage and facilitate research in such an area, a qualitative review of prior research has been presented here which provides a solid conceptual base for further research in the field of EE. The six interlinked issues are still debatable: by whom (organizing disciplines / institutions), for whom (background of the students to be targeted), why (purposes), what (subject matter), how (teaching/training methods), for which outcomes (evaluation results) should attract the attention of the academicians. This article covers all these issues and, based on qualitative review of prior research, it is intended to show an actual picture of what is happening and what should have happened in the matter of five aspects of education for entrepreneurship. About 90 relevant research articles published in various research journals and some research reports / dissertations and conference proceedings have been reviewed for the purpose. This article is primarily the result of the in-depth study and review of about 50 journal articles.

Why to Teach?

Education for entrepreneurship (EE) deals with transmitting useful knowledge to individuals and helping them to develop entrepreneurial skills, aptitudes, attitudes and wisdom so that they may better manage the development of their own businesses and overcome difficulties during the preparation, startup, development, and managing their businesses. In prior research (e.g., Hills, 1988; Bechard & Toulouse, 1998), six main objectives of EE were found to have been listed: (i) to increase awareness of entrepreneurship, how it is fruitful and how it is carried out; (ii) to develop one's intention to opt for setting-up one's own venture; (iii) to encourage individuals to have a positive inclination toward setting up of their own ventures; (iv) to develop knowhow of the process of setting-up and managing a new venture; (v) to inculcate entrepreneurial competencies / capacities (knowledge, skills, attitudes etc.) and entrepreneurial mindsets in the personalities of prospective entrepreneurs and to sharpen the entrepreneurial competencies in the personalities of existing entrepreneurs; and (vi) to provide training to existing entrepreneurs and focus on various business strategies needed for ensuring further growth and development of existing business.

"Entrepreneurship education is more than preparation on how to run a business; it is about how to develop the entrepreneurial attitudes, skills and knowledge which in short, should enable a student to turn ideas into action" (European Commission, 2013: 5). Entrepreneurship education develops entrepreneurial intentions among learners to become self-employed as well as to start-up new ventures having business growth. However, "a more desirable outcome should be the transformation of students into successful entrepreneurs that embody key entrepreneurial competencies......creating successful entrepreneurs requires a shift from studying intentions and business formation alone to actually studying successful business development and growth as desired outcomes of education" (Morris et al., 2013: 362-63). "Institutional characteristics such as the economic environment, the degree to which it has an entrepreneurial culture, whether it is private or public, or whether it emphasizes teaching or research may generate different program objectives and measures of evaluation" (Duval-Couetil, 2013: 402). The ultimate objective of EE is to provide the increasing number of learners the opportunity to ascertain whether or not being an entrepreneur is the right employment option for them.

What to Teach?

"To generate and nurture one's intention to work as an entrepreneur" is one of the prime goals of education for entrepreneurship. In order to achieve this goal, entrepreneurship education programs should include topics / themes which can be grouped under four ingredients, viz., the kind of the courses / subject matter to be offered for the students, planning for the entrepreneurial start-ups, opportunity to be provided to the students for networking and interaction with the practicing entrepreneurs or intrapreneurs, and funding for on-the job-training and research projects to be taken up by the students. All these four components are related to both theoretical knowledge and pragmatic knowledge. Theoretical knowledge includes the understanding of the process and effects of the phenomenon of entrepreneurship. It also includes what determines entrepreneurs' attitudes, values, motivation and actions. Pragmatic knowledge relates to "(a) know-what: what one has to do in order to decide and act in any given situation; (b) know-how: how to deal with any given situation; and (c) know-who: who are the useful people and which are the useful networks in a given context" (Fayolle, 2008: 328).

Education for entrepreneurship is about developing and nurturing entrepreneurial competencies among students that are generally possessed by the successful entrepreneurs. Previous researchers (e.g., Krueger et al., 2000; Lee et al., 2011) observe that entrepreneurial intention is the existence of antecedents that may lead to practice of entrepreneurship and Autio et al. (2001) have recognized it as a powerful predictor of entrepreneurship. Zhao et al. (2005), Wilson et al. (2007) indicate that entrepreneurship education is positively associated with entrepreneurial self-efficacy, which may enhance the level intentions of potential entrepreneurs. Chen's (2010) study revealed that entrepreneurial self-efficacy mediates the relationship between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intention of the learners. Martin, McNally and Kay (2013:211) found "a significant relationship between EET (entrepreneurship education and training) and entrepreneurship related human capital assets.... and entrepreneurship outcomes .....; and the relationship between EET and entrepreneurship outcomes was found stronger for academic-focused EET interventions...

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