جایگذاری صنعت، تجربه معتبر و توسعه جسارت و خوداثربخشی فن آوری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|26285||2009||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||15328 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Technovation, Volume 29, Issue 11, November 2009, Pages 738–752
Many governments are keen to see enhanced levels of enterprise and entrepreneurial activity and have encouraged the higher education sector to increase the amount of enterprise education provided to students, particularly in science, engineering and technology disciplines, to prepare them for careers that advance innovation. Whilst university students derive much education and learning from within their principal discipline, significant learning occurs outside the classroom, at home, in social settings and in the workplace. This paper uses data on more than four hundred third and fourth year engineering undergraduates at four United Kingdom universities to explore the relative contribution of a range of experiences in the workplace which affect their venturing and technology self-efficacy. Experiences include different forms of workplace orientation, varying degrees of authenticity of the work they are given relative to their future careers, how students rank their performance and the presence of successful role models. Results show that authenticity, defined as a close relationship between the undergraduate's course of study, feedback on performance, and how well the students felt they had performed, are the dominant predictors of self-efficacy. The paper concludes with a discussion of the need for universities and companies to work together to pay greater attention to the quality of undergraduate placement experiences.
The development and growth of a strong economy is high on the agendas of many developed nations, a large number of which have experienced marked structural shifts in economic activity over the last 30 years (Cooper, 1999; Prahalad, 1998). Decline in traditional industries has led to government interest in the growth of new technology-based sectors which exploit advances in fields such as electronics, biotechnology and software. In this regard, considerable attention is given to entrepreneurs who form new, high-technology firms, but it is important to note that opportunities offered by new technologies are also being furthered or fumbled by large and small established companies facing volatile markets, the restructuring of supply chains and distribution channels, and the need to continue to scan for useful advances in science and technology (Chesbrough, 2003; Prahalad, 1998). Whether one chooses to call the organisational activity the development of “dynamic capabilities” (Teece et al., 1997), “radical innovation” (O’Connor et al., 2008), “entrepreneurial orientation” (Li et al., 2008; Lumpkin and Dess, 1996), “corporate entrepreneurship” (Stevenson and Jarillo, 1990) or just innovation (Kirzner, 1979; Schumpeter, 1934), the ways that established companies pursue economic advantage in high-technology sectors is as important to national economies as the appearance of new start-ups. The emergence and success of new technology sectors in both new and established companies is inextricably linked with individuals able to recognise new opportunities and lead their exploitation (Kirzner, 1979; Penrose, 1959; Schumpeter, 1934), and the number and location of those individuals in companies has been changing. Strategic choices, like a decision to enter new markets, were once largely initiated and led by top management (Newbert et al., 2008), and research and the development of new knowledge was dominated by internal research organisations (van der Vrande et al., 2009). As companies are facing broader and more complex pressures in what Chesbrough (2003) refers to as an open innovation, company survival is more and more determined by the acquisition of a vast array of ideas, technologies and other forms of knowledge in its environment. Particularly in technology-intensive companies, the capture, evaluation and subsequent communication of important information is widely distributed across company departments by employees with widely varied seniority, in what Ancona and Bresman (2007) call a distributed model of leadership. In an open innovation organisation, even relatively young engineers, who graduate with a current appreciation of technical trends and an appreciation of business opportunities, may play a pivotal role in keeping a company at the leading edge of its industry. The success of an economy driven by technology entrepreneurship in its broadest sense will increasingly depend upon a steady flow of both entrepreneurs forming new companies, and what appears to be a far greater number of entrepreneurially minded professionals, who as employees of established companies can track technical advances, identify important intellectual property, recognise opportunities and then implement new lines of business (van der Vrande et al., 2009). 1.1. Sources of technical professionals for technology-intensive venturing In this context the United Kingdom (UK) government, like many others, has supported university-based activities with a particular concern for raising awareness and increasing understanding of enterprise among science, engineering and technology (SET) students and enabling them to develop skills and competences suited to fostering innovative applications of technology in new business ventures (Hartshorn and Hannon, 2005). Whilst university students derive much education and learning from within their principal discipline (Kelly, 1986; Monck et al., 1988; Oakey et al., 1990; Roberts, 1991), significant learning occurs outside the classroom (Rasmussen and Sørheim, 2006), at home, in social settings and in the workplace. The effect of workplace experience, generally found in the literature (Oakey et al., 1990 and Oakey et al., 1988; Cooper, 1998; Harrison et al., 2004) to be important, is widely viewed by university instructors as having a consequential impact on undergraduate readiness for the world of work. Indeed, one approach to enhancing the readiness of university undergraduates for innovative technical careers is to introduce forms of education that simulate aspects of work experience. There is growing emphasis on increasing the exposure of science and engineering students to more active and project-based learning (Okudan and Rzasa, 2006; Scheibe et al., 2007) and other forms of authentic experience (Wee, 2004). Given the value of experience, a role of research is to try to determine if and how activities such as industry placements prepare engineering undergraduates for innovative careers by determining what characteristics of their experience strengthen self-efficacy for venturing and, separately, self-efficacy for technology. This paper begins with a brief overview of work placements, and addresses the literature that supports the central importance of venturing self-efficacy and its determinants for work performance and innovation. The review suggests relevant lessons that should be taken from Social Cognitive Theory (Bandura, 1986 and Bandura, 1997), the importance of self-efficacy in predicting improved work performance in general (Stajkovic and Luthans, 1998), and the central importance of entrepreneurial self-efficacy in theory and practice. Theoretical models of entrepreneurial intention (e.g., Krueger, 1993; Krueger et al., 2000; Shapero and Sokol, 1982; Zhao et al., 2005) consistently consider self-efficacy to be a key element in the perception of the feasibility of entrepreneurship, while empirical work has shown the value of self-efficacy for predicting successful company practice among both entrepreneurs and managers (Chen et al., 1998) and entrepreneurial women in traditional and non-traditional sectors (Anna et al., 2000). The discussion then maps characteristics of work placements to the theory-based predictors of self-efficacy in Social Cognitive Theory to establish which characteristics of undergraduate work experience would be expected to predict higher levels of venturing and technology self-efficacy. The results section then describes a study that included more than four hundred UK engineering undergraduates who had previous work placements when they were surveyed in Autumn 2004. The measures of venturing and technology self-efficacy are presented, along with the questions that characterised different elements of their work experiences, including their company orientations, the nature and difficulty of their assigned work and the presence of role models where they were placed. The results of the analysis of this survey data lead to the conclusion that work experience on average had little effect on student self-efficacy, but that when their experience had the qualities generally known to predict enhanced self-efficacy, strong differences were found. The concluding discussion addresses the fact that while a work placement can have a major effect on self-efficacy, a foundation of future innovative behaviours, those factors are all too often not present in the work placements made in the UK.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Addressing not just start-ups but all companies in technology-intensive industries, Teece et al. (1997, 523) suggest that “It is well recognised that how far and how fast a particular area of industrial activity can proceed is in part due to the technology opportunities before it”. The exploitation of new market opportunities created by advancing technology requires engineers who can work effectively with professionals in finance, marketing and other fields (Chorev and Anderson, 2006; Serarols-Tarrés et al., 2006), and one of the more successful forms of learning from both theory (Bandura, 1997) and practice (Rasmussen and Sørheim, 2006) involves the performance of tasks similar to those to be encountered in the future. If authenticity of experience is important to the development of self-efficacy, actual work experience that tests one's skills and results in performance feedback in an industry environment could be the most important experience engineering students will have until they leave the university. On the one hand this seems to be widely recognised by the number of students taking a “gap year”, working a year before entering university, and other placement offerings: Jones (2004) estimates that in the UK there are between 200,000 and 250,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 25 who undertake gap years of one kind or another, and that number is rising. Yet the first finding of this research is that on average industry work does not automatically contribute to engineering student confidence in their venturing and technology applications skills. It would appear that placements are more successful when students have some skills to test, suggesting that a programme begins with preparing students for placement so that they have skills to offer. This view suggests that mid-university and post-graduation placements would be more beneficial than “gap year” or other early placements in science, engineering and other fields that require consequential education. Findings suggest that to realise some of the highest levels of personal and professional development, the students should be placed in companies and positions where the work is authentic, related to a career track that holds some interest for them. They should be given meaningful and achievable tasks, but those activities should encourage the placement students to reach beyond their current level of skills. A final, but vital part of the process is that students should be provided with feedback on their performance, during the period of their placement as well as at the end, so that there are opportunities to reflect upon and modify current performance and engage in new behaviours and activities whilst still in the placement. For their part, companies recognise a number of key benefits arising from placements. They serve as extended, ‘informal interviews’ that benefit both company and student, and provide an invaluable window on sectoral career opportunities both within the company in which they are placed and in other organisations. On a wider level, placements play an important role in the development of a pool of skilled labour essential for innovation and industry growth. If an incentive is needed to capture national attention for a review of the role of undergraduate (or graduate student) work experience, an immediate benefit might be a reduction in the number of engineering students leaving the field for other pursuits. Many graduates from SET disciplines do not pursue careers in related fields; a large number in the UK, for example, secure employment in the financial services sector where their high levels of numeracy are well rewarded. In the UK it is clear that the trend of technically-trained graduates leaving their fields will inevitably represent a significant loss to the economy (Roberts, 2002). Yet there is evidence that engineering students who study on programmes with work placements show higher levels of employment 6 months post-graduation than those who are on programmes with no such period of authentic work (see for example, Bowes and Harvey, 1999). Using industry experience in technology-dependent firms to enhance student understanding of technology-related work, and to increase their self-efficacy that they can perform the tasks such work involves, seems an obvious opportunity to enhance the numbers of those who remain within the field. The open question is what roles are to be played by the university, industry and government policy and funding in finding attracting, educating and providing the practice necessary to prepare young engineers for innovative careers at a sufficient scale to make a difference. Many large companies that once were major providers of employee training have been cutting back on their programmes, not expanding them, particularly in recessionary times. Indeed, a 2008 survey of 120 training and development managers revealed that 44% expected their budgets to be cut (Charlton, 2008) whilst results of a recent survey in the US showed that corporate training spend had declined by 11% (www.elearningcouncil.com). Companies may not have appropriate tasks for students to perform, and good ideas for student work have a way of disappearing under the pressure of day-to-day business. At the university, the engineering courses are already demanding to the point of discouraging students, and most engineering departments in universities are already facing more competing demands for student time than they can accommodate. Successful university-led placement programmes are time consuming and should not be mounted on a large scale by the faint-hearted. Such programmes must be well resourced and supported and it is often difficult for universities to allocate the resources on the scale that is needed. Yet it remains that competitive economies will require engineers with strong skills in product design and new business development both in start-ups and in established technology-intensive companies. Despite the barriers, it is difficult to imagine how one could prepare the many thousands of engineering professionals who will be needed to produce competitive products and services for a world of open innovation and volatile technology-based markets without more successful industry placements than have been found here.