آیا برنامه های کارآفرینی ، اهداف کارآفرینی دانشجویان مهندسی و علوم را ارتقا می دهد؟ اثر یادگیری ، الهام و منابع
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|9393||2007||26 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10600 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 22, Issue 4, July 2007, Pages 566–591
Drawing on the theory of planned behaviour, this study tests the effect of entrepreneurship programmes on the entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions of science and engineering students. This is necessary in order to confirm (or disconfirm) conventional wisdom that entrepreneurship education increases the intention to start a business. The results show that the programmes raise some attitudes and the overall entrepreneurial intention and that inspiration (a construct with an emotional element) is the programmes' most influential benefit. The findings contribute to the theories of planned behaviour and education and have wider implications for a theory of entrepreneurial emotions and also for the practice of teaching entrepreneurship.
The purpose of this study is to test the impact of entrepreneurship education on attitudes and intention of science and engineering students, applying empirically the theory of planned behaviour. Although the alleged benefits of entrepreneurship education have been much extolled by researchers and educators, the impact of entrepreneurship programmes on attitudes and intention remains relatively untested (Krueger and Brazeal, 1994, Gorman et al., 1997 and Peterman and Kennedy, 2003). In the psychology literature, intention proved to be the best predictor of planned behaviour, particularly when that behaviour is rare, hard to observe, or involves unpredictable time lags; entrepreneurship is a typical example of such planned, intentional behaviour (Bird, 1988, Katz and Gartner, 1988 and Krueger and Brazeal, 1994). Consequently, employment status choice models that focus on entrepreneurial intention have been the subject of considerable interest in entrepreneurship research (Krueger and Carsrud, 1993 and Kolvereid, 1996b). In these models career intention is seen as the immediate antecedent of behaviour. Intentions in turn are determined by attitudes, and attitudes are affected by ‘exogenous influences’ such as traits and situational variables (Ajzen, 1991 and Krueger et al., 2000). This study positions and tests entrepreneurship education as such an ‘exogenous influence’ on attitudes and intention. We refer to the entrepreneurship programme, a concept broader than a course, which includes a portfolio of complementary activities. Based on descriptions of entrepreneurship programmes in the literature (e.g. Gartner and Vesper, 1994) and on a search of current offerings in major universities, we suggest that balanced, ‘good practice’ programmes offer activities grouped under four components: (a) a ‘taught’ component, with one or more modules; (b) a ‘business-planning’ component, which can include business plan competitions and advice on developing a specific business idea; (c) an ‘interaction with practice’ component, which can include talks from practitioners and networking events; (d) a ‘university support’ component, which can include market-research resources, space for meetings, a pool of technology with commercial potential and even seed funding to student-teams. Our study addresses two research questions: Do entrepreneurship education programmes raise entrepreneurial attitudes and intention of students? And, which programme-derived benefits for students raise entrepreneurial attitudes and intention? It is important to note that the independent variables are programme-derived benefits ‘captured’ by each student as opposed to programme activities ‘offered’ to all students. Captured benefits are measured at the level of the individual (hence can be related with individual attitudes and intentions) and can vary across a student group that attend the same programme. Our aim at the outset is to contribute both to the theory of planned behaviour (entrepreneurship programmes have not been empirically linked to change in attitude and intention towards self-employment) and to the literature of entrepreneurship education itself, by revealing the effect of specific benefits for the students derived from the entrepreneurship ‘programme’. The paper proceeds as follows: Initially we present the theory of planned behaviour and develop two hypotheses to confirm its basic predictions in the student context. Afterwards we suggest that entrepreneurship programmes (in general) affect attitudes and intention. Then we propose three specific programme-derived benefits for participants and we hypothesise that each benefit affects entrepreneurial attitudes and intention (the paper's conceptual model can be viewed in Fig. 1). Subsequently, we present the methodology and the results. Finally, in the discussion section, we link the findings with the wider entrepreneurship literature and highlight the theoretical contributions and practical implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We had posed two research questions: Do entrepreneurship education programmes raise entrepreneurial attitudes and intention of students? And, which exact benefits of entrepreneurship education programmes raise entrepreneurial attitudes and intention? To address these questions, we employed a pretest–post-test design, with hypothesis grounded in the theory of planned behaviour. The results showed that the post-programme mean values of subjective norm and intention towards self-employment were increased in relation to the pre-programme ones. However, intentions at the end of the programme were not related to nascency. From the three programme-related benefits (learning, inspiration and resource utilisation), inspiration proved to be associated with the increase in subjective norm and intention. In summary, the study illustrated that entrepreneurship programmes are a source of trigger-events, which inspire students (arouse emotions and change mindsets). Inspiration is the programme-derived benefit that raises entrepreneurial attitudes and intentions. The insignificant relationship between intention and nascency at the end of the programme could be attributed to the well-documented time-lag between entrepreneurial intention and behaviour, especially concerning undergraduates. Despite the fact that the proportion of students who declared nascency was substantial (27.4%) it is possible that this was the effect of an enthusiasm generated by their business-plan project, which would dissipate soon after, rather than of a serious intention to start a business. Since a very low proportion of graduates start a business immediately after graduation (Luthje and Franke, 2003), we echo the suggestion that longitudinal studies following the subjects for years after graduation is the only way to prove with accuracy the intention–behaviour link (Kolvereid, 1996a). A possible interpretation of the significant raise of subjective norm after the programme is the following: The small increase in the ‘expectations of significant others’ could reflect the creation of a new circle of entrepreneurial-minded friends from the programme. The larger increase in the ‘motivation to comply’ could be due to a realisation that their family and friends were right about this career possibility, or to a feeling that they had to comply with the significant others’ expectations after investing time and effort during an entrepreneurship programme. The insignificant effect of the programme on perceived behavioural control is intuitively difficult to explain and disconfirms results by Peterman and Kennedy (2003) who found a positive effect of entrepreneurship programmes on ‘perceived feasibility’ of high-school students. A possible explanation is that the ‘elite-university’ students in our sample had high self-confidence generally (the mean perceived behavioural control at t1 was 4.18) and therefore there was less scope for a change attributed to the programme. 6.1. Theoretical contribution and implications The study contributes at two levels of theoretical development: The core theoretical contributions are to the research streams of planned behaviour and entrepreneurship education, as planned at the outset. In addition, the finding that inspiration was the sole programme-benefit driving entrepreneurial intention has wider theoretical implications regarding the role of emotions in entrepreneurship. In this section, we initially highlight the specific contributions to the theories of planned behaviour and education and then (temporarily detaching the discussion from the specific context of entrepreneurship programmes) we explore some wider implications towards a theory of entrepreneurial emotions. The study contributes to the theory of planned behaviour by confirming the attitude–intention link and by testing the effect of an ‘exogenous influence’ (education) on attitudes and intentions towards the behaviour (self-employment). The study also contributes to research on entrepreneurship education by revealing the effect of specific benefits for the students derived from the entrepreneurship programme. A possible explanation of why learning and resources did not correlate with an increase in attitudes and intentions, whereas inspiration did, is the following: In the transition to entrepreneurship, a student faces first an attitude–intention-related personal challenge (do I want to be an entrepreneur?) and then a number of ‘implementation’ challenges such as acquiring knowledge, finding and evaluating an opportunity and assembling the resources. The attitude–intention-related personal challenge of the student can be resolved (triggered) by specific programme-related events such as a casual comment by an entrepreneur guest-speaker or the launch of a company by a group of colleagues. On the contrary, the acquisition of knowledge and the utilisation of resources from the course can help in the implementation challenges faced at a later stage, once the student actually decides to proceed to opportunity search and evaluation. Our findings also have implications for the emerging literature of entrepreneurial emotions and passion (Cardon et al., 2005). Weick (1999) argued that despite the fact that theories that recognise emotions move us and resonate with our day-to-day experiences, emotions have not received significant scholarly attention in the management literature. Cardon et al. (2005) noted that we currently lack a theoretical foundation for the processes by which entrepreneurial passion (a mix of emotions) is generated, maintained and regulated. Our study, which illustrated that specific events during entrepreneurship education inspire and therefore trigger emotion, contributes towards answering the emotion/passion-generation question. At a broader theoretical level, this study introduces an emotional angle to the entrepreneurship literature. In a recent attempt to develop a general theory of entrepreneurship, Shane (2003) suggested that the discovery of opportunities depends on access to information and opportunity–recognition characteristics (e.g. intelligence). The opportunity exploitation decision depends on (a) non-psychological factors such as experience, age, social position and opportunity cost and (b) psychological factors grouped under personality (e.g. extraversion), core self-evaluation (e.g. locus of control) and cognitive characteristics (e.g. overconfidence) (Shane, 2003). We argue that these characteristics are obviously valid, but not always sufficient, as they overlook (a) the individuals’ emotional preference for the entrepreneurial lifestyle which raises their alertness to opportunities and (b) the emotional ‘chemistry’ between the individuals and particular opportunities which affects their decision to exploit. Based on our results, which illustrate the importance of inspiration, we propose that often there is something more than information, background, personality or cognition, which is whether the individual ‘falls in love’ with the entrepreneurial career and/or with an entrepreneurial opportunity driven by emotion and personal preference (love is blind) rather rational evaluation. 6.2. Implications for practice The main practical implication for entrepreneurship programme developers, is that whereas knowledge and resources could increase the likelihood of success for those who are going to start a new venture (a claim made also by Gorman et al., 1997), it is the inspiration that raises attitude and intention and increases the chances that students will eventually attempt an entrepreneurial career. This implies that if our target is to increase the number of entrepreneurs from the student population, then the inspirational part of the programme has to be designed purposefully. Since the results showed that inspiration was driven by the views of professors and external practitioners, programme developers should focus on their instructors. We suggest that instructors (academics and practitioners) should receive training not only on how to teach entrepreneurship, but also on how to change ‘hearts and minds’. But how exactly can instructors inspire and encourage emotions? If we assume that the instructor plays a leadership role within the student group, we can get practical advice from the vibrant literature on charismatic leadership. Charismatic leadership is characterised (among other factors) by emotional skills such as ‘emotional intelligence’; in other words the ability to recognise the meaning of emotions and to reason on the basis of them (Middleton, 2005) and ‘emotional expressivity’; for example, more and more intensive smiles and longer and more frequent visual attention of the audience (Cherulnik et al., 2001). Charismatic leaders were found to have a strong influence on followers through ‘emotional contagion’ (Cherulnik et al., 2001); in brief, the exposure to images of a charismatic leader displaying positive emotions (in our context an instructor) can result in a corresponding change in the emotional state of the observer (the student). Based on the above, we suggest that hiring charismatic instructors who can communicate their enthusiasm for entrepreneurship through non-verbal expressiveness will result in inspired students with higher entrepreneurial intention. Since inspiration is important as a driver of attitudes and intention, we propose that it should also be measured. Universities that want to assess the effectiveness of their programmes should capture not only how much their students learn about entrepreneurship or whether they are satisfied with the courses, but also whether they are inspired from the programme. A feedback form measuring inspiration from the programme (as well as satisfaction with the courses) is a practical suggestion. 6.3. Limitations of the study The study addressed attitudes and intentions, but not actual behaviour (due to the time lag problem). To compensate we included nascency as a ‘proxy’ of post-programme behaviour, but it was not linked with intentions. The allocation of students to the programme and control groups was not random (due to the common practical difficulties in educational research), hence the design was quasi-experimental (rather than a true experiment). To compensate, we included the mode of selection as a control. Overall, we have confidence in the validity of our results. Before-after designs with control group offer a good level of internal validity (better than the typical cross-sectional designs) and sampling from two universities in different countries adds to the external validity of the findings. We chose to use perceptual measures of benefits from the programme, as we believe that perceptions of the environment can be more powerful predictors of intentions and behaviour than actual facts. This choice could be criticised, as perceptions often differ from factual reality and also the use of self-reported measures invite statistical problems of common method variance and response set tendencies. To pre-empt these concerns we validated our perceptual measures with factual proxies and the inter-rater reliability proved satisfactory. Inspiration from entrepreneurship programmes was a new construct and was measured with a simple single-item measure of degree. To compensate for the unknown reliability, we incorporated simple checks, which confirmed that respondents understood the question and answered consciously (students that did not perceive a trigger did not tick any of the boxes in the trigger event list and did not answer the trigger-extent question). However, a valid and reliable multi-item scale of the construct would be useful for future empirical tests. 6.4. Implications for further research Where do our findings lead the planned behaviour, education, emotion and entrepreneurship literatures? By failing to identify a relationship between intention and nascency, our results invite longitudinal testing of the theory of planned behaviour. Regarding the literature on entrepreneurship education, future researchers may productively address such questions as whether there are other potential benefits from an entrepreneurship course apart from learning, inspiration and resources. For example, what could actually change the students' intentions during the programme might not be learning about entrepreneurship per se (which was what we measured), but learning about themselves and what they like (self-realisation). Do learning and incubation resources assist some students at a later stage of their lives when they move from intention to nascency? How and why does learning about entrepreneurship affect inspiration (we found a significant correlation between learning and inspiration)? Why does the programme raise subjective norms but not attitude towards entrepreneurship or perceived behavioural control? Moreover, an interesting avenue for further research would be to investigate the link between the benefits for the “average” student and the programme components offered (i.e. what should programmes offer in order to increase the chances of the average student to derive benefits?). This would require a research design based on a number of programmes with varying levels of offerings. Our study also opens a number of research avenues for the emerging literature on entrepreneurial emotions. Future researchers can ask, what kinds of emotions are experienced after each of the various trigger-events during an entrepreneurship programme? How are these emotions linked with the construct of entrepreneurial passion? How does the emotional stimulation affect cognitive rationality? Cardon et al. (2005) suggested that intense emotions may impede cognitive reality. We could argue that this claim is confirmed by our study in case we consider attitudes/intentions as cognitive characteristics as suggested by Mitchell et al. (2000). For how long do students feel emotions triggered by a programme? Does emotional triggering last up to the opportunity exploitation decision? Current thinking in entrepreneurial emotion highlights the interaction between entrepreneurs and the ‘objects’ of their emotion (ventures or ideas) (Cardon et al., 2005). Our study reveals an interesting twist which merits further investigation: the emotion towards entrepreneurial lifestyle, before even the ‘object’ of the entrepreneurial lifestyle (venture or idea) forms. The entrepreneurship literature has often portrayed the entrepreneur as a heroic figure who overcomes a number of obstacles and goes against all odds in his pursue of an opportunity (e.g. Gartner, 1993). Entrepreneurship is a risky career option, as most entrepreneurs fail. In this sense, our findings that inspiration (a powerful persuasive message) and not ‘textbook knowledge’ is what raises entrepreneurial intention of engineering students seem intuitively reasonable. In this spirit, we support the idea that entrepreneurship can be also viewed from an emotional lens. The hero, apart from being intelligent and rational, has also to be passionate and emotional. The emotional side of entrepreneurship is an exciting new area with myriad opportunities for scholarship. Our results suggest an outline for addressing at least some of these opportunities.