The impact of Entrepreneurship Education on Entrepreneurial Intentions: a role for the passionate educator?
Master thesis research by Joyce Kox
In January 2016, Joyce Kox graduated from the Tilburg School of Economics and Management at Tilburg University. She followed the Master of Science in Strategic Management and wrote her master thesis in the area of entrepreneurship education.
Entrepreneurship is increasingly valued by governmental organizations, as it is associated with various beneficial attributes for society, such as innovation, job creation and economic growth. Entrepreneurship education is seen as an important pillar of government policy to stimulate entrepreneurship and prosperity in society. In order to fulfil these objectives, entrepreneurship education needs to provoke an increase in entrepreneurial intentions, which is considered an important antecedent of entrepreneurial behavior. Despite the vast amount of research that has been done on this matter, no solid foundation with respect to the impact of entrepreneurial education has been established yet. This thesis will therefore investigate the relation between entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intensions.
Entrepreneurship education programs are very heterogeneous, but little is known about the effectiveness of specific elements. Previous studies suggest that educators have a central role in stimulating entrepreneurship, but their role has never been justified. This study takes an affective perspective on entrepreneurship education, and its relation with intentions through the focus on educator passion. Emotions of teachers are found to have an impact on emotions of students in the classroom and experiencing positive emotions is shown to have a positive effect on intentions (Lackéus, 2014). Consequently, passionate educators have the ability to ‘infect’ students’ emotions with their passion (Becker, Goetz, Morger, & Ranelucci 2014; Pekrun, Goetz, Titz, & Perry, 2002) and might represent a vital element in enhancing entrepreneurial intentions. Approaching entrepreneurship education through an affective perspective, this study aims to determine to what extent entrepreneurship education influences entrepreneurial intentions and how that relationship is moderated by perceived educator passion.
The question was addressed by first conducting a literature review on entrepreneurship education, exploring the main constructs of the theoretical framework. This was followed by a quantitative, empirical study consisting of a quasi-experiment entailing a pre-posttest control group design with 95 Dutch students.
The findings show no confirmation for the hypothesized positive impact of entrepreneurship education on either entrepreneurial intentions or corporate entrepreneurial intentions. Although literature references substantiate the positive relationship between the two variables, the results of the current study show that the values of entrepreneurial intentions did not increase significantly amongst students after the entrepreneurial program, relative to pre-program intentions. Nor did it prove that an increase in perceived educator passion is associated with an increase in entrepreneurial intentions. In short, the central role given to entrepreneurship education and educators in increasing entrepreneurial intentions is not supported by this research.
Regardless of the insignificant results, this study gives more insight into the working of entrepreneurship education, and the findings can be of value to organizations who seek to increase entrepreneurial intentions.
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