June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
24.301.1 - 24.301.18
Comparisons of Faculty and Student Definitions of Entrepreneurship Many different definitions of entrepreneurship exist in various academic and businessdisciplines. In some ways the ambiguity in the definition of entrepreneurship is appropriate, asdifferent markets, contexts, businesses, and ventures spawn unique problems that require creativethinking and the innovative use of skills. One entrepreneur’s skills and insights may be highlyvaluable and relevant in one scenario and completely inappropriate in another. Teaching students to develop the entrepreneurial mindset can be challenging since theassociated skills are not completely agreed upon in the literature. Therefore, the goal of thisstudy is not to provide a definitive definition of entrepreneurship or a complete list ofentrepreneurial skills, but to examine instructors and students’ definitions of entrepreneurship inorder to evaluate the congruence between instructional goals and student expectations.Additionally, we will examine whether student expectations differ according to academicdiscipline (i.e. engineering versus business). In this study, two groups of people, instructors who taught entrepreneurial focusedclasses (N = 46) and students who were just starting their first entrepreneurial class (N = 130)were asked to define entrepreneurship. The instructors who participated in the study wereidentified as having taught entrepreneurship specifically to engineering students. Studentparticipants were from a variety of majors. Approximately 24% of the students intend to majorin engineering. The responses from the initial survey were coded into general categories whichwere compared across groups. A detailed description of the categories and definitions will bepresented in the full manuscript, but a general description of the results is presented below. The most frequent theme that was identified by 36.96% of the instructors in theirdefinitions was the notion that entrepreneurship involves the process of seeing and bringing anew idea to market. The second most frequent theme identified by 21.74% of the instructors wasthat entrepreneurs possess the ability to add value to either a business or society in general.Additionally, 17.39% of the instructors mentioned the risk associated with pursuing newopportunities in their definitions, and 17.39% of the instructors also stated that entrepreneurshipinvolves the creation and growth of a business, product, service, or venture. The most frequent theme that was identified by 25.35% of the students in theirdefinitions was the idea that entrepreneurship is characterized by starting or growing their ownbusiness. The students did not include products, services, or ventures in this theme, and insteadsolely focused on the act of business creation. The second most frequent theme that wasidentified by 21.83% of the students in their definitions was the notion that entrepreneurshipinvolves the process of seeing and bringing a new idea to market. Additionally, 15.07% of thestudents mentioned the risk associated with pursuing new opportunities. Finally, 10.56% ofstudents stated that entrepreneurship involves being your own boss and pursing individual goals. There are clear some similarities and differences between the students’ and instructors’definitions of entrepreneurship based on the general themes presented. However, a deeperanalysis within each theme will provide additional insights into their respective perspectives.
Reeves, P. M., & Zappe, S. E., & Kisenwether, E. C., & Follmer, D. J., & Menold, J. (2014, June), Comparisons of Faculty and Student Definitions of Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20192
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