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Creative Go-Getters: Antecedents of Entrepreneurial Activities in Engineering Undergraduates

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2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014



Conference Session

The Nature of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Session 4

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

24.337.1 - 24.337.15



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Paper Authors


Sarah E. Zappe Pennsylvania State University, University Park

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Dr. Sarah Zappe is Research Associate and Director of Assessment and Instructional Support in the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education at Penn State. She holds a doctoral degree in educational psychology emphasizing applied measurement and testing. In her position, Sarah is responsible for developing instructional support programs for faculty, providing evaluation support for educational proposals and projects, and working with faculty to publish educational research. Her research interests primarily involve creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

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Creative Go-Getters: Antecedents of Entrepreneurial Activities in Engineering UndergraduatesThe purpose of this study is to examine characteristics of incoming engineering students aspossible predictors of later participation in entrepreneurial activities. Three characteristics wereexamined: 1) locomotion, 2) self-evaluation, 3) creative self-efficacy and 4) having a closerelative who is an entrepreneur. According to Kruglanski, et al. (2000), locomotion and self-evaluation are two important aspects of self-regulation, the executive function which drivesindividuals’ goals and behaviors. According to the authors, locomotion is the aspect of self-regulation “concerned with movement from state to state…in a straightforward and directmanner…” (p. 794). In layman’s terms, individuals who are considered high on locomotion maybe termed “go-getters.” Self-evaluation, also called assessment, “constitutes the comparativeaspect of self-regulation concerned with critically evaluating entities or states…in relation toalternatives in order to judge relative quality” (p. 794). In other words, individuals who are highassessors often are more critical of themselves and others around them. A third characteristicexamined in this paper is creative self-efficacy, or belief that one is and has the capability ofbeing creative (Tierney and Farmer, 2002). The study of these constructs may be useful inidentifying students who are more interested in and potentially more likely to succeed inentrepreneurship education programs.In September of 2013, a survey was sent to first-year engineering students at a large mid-Atlanticuniversity as part of a larger longitudinal study. A total of 817 students completed the surveywith a response rate of 29.1%. The students completed a battery of scales including the creativeself-efficacy scale (Tierney & Farmer, 2002), the locomotion scale, and the assessment scale(Kruglanski, et al., 2000). At the end of the survey, students were asked whether or not they hadyet considered pursing a minor in the engineering entrepreneurship minor located at theuniversity. Students were also asked whether or not they had a parent who was an entrepreneurand a series of questions concerning their perceptions of entrepreneurship as a career path.Complete data was available for 625 students.This study examined the following hypotheses: 1. Students who intend to minor in engineering entrepreneurship have higher scores on locomotion and creative-self efficacy and lower scores on self-evaluation. 2. More positive views of entrepreneurship as a career will be positively associated with higher scores on locomotion and creative self-efficacy and lower scores on self- evaluation. 3. Students with a close family member who is an entrepreneur will be more likely to intend to minor in engineering entrepreneurship and have more positive perceptions of entrepreneurship as a career.Results showed that students intending to minor in entrepreneurship had significantly higherscores on both creative self-efficacy and locomotion; assessment scores were not significantlydifferent between the two groups of students. A linear regression model was conducted usingstudents’ perception of entrepreneurship as a career as the dependent variable and theassessment, locomotion, and creative self-efficacy scores as the independent variables.Significant predictors included locomotion and creative self-efficacy. The results suggest thatstudents who are considered “go-getters” and see themselves as being creative individuals areboth likely to know about the entrepreneurship minor early in their academic careers and toaspire to pursue the minor. Students with high locomotion high creative self-efficacy scores alsohad more positive views of entrepreneurship as a career. Having a close family member who isan entrepreneur was also a positive predictor of a positive view of entrepreneurship as a career.The full paper will provide a literature review regarding student characteristics as they relate tointentions to pursue entrepreneurial activities, a full discussion of the research questions andconstructs explored in this paper, and a more complete discussion of the results.References:Kruglanski, A. W., Thompson, E. P., Higgins, E. T., Nadir, A. M., Pierro, A., Shah, J. Y., & Spiegel, S. (2000). To “do the right thing” or to “just do it”: Locomotion and assessment as distinct self-regulatory imperatives. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 79(5): 793-815.Tierney & Farmer (2002). Creative self-efficacy: Its potential antecedents and relationship to creative performance. Academy of Management Journal. 45(6): 1137-1148.

Zappe, S. E. (2014, June), Creative Go-Getters: Antecedents of Entrepreneurial Activities in Engineering Undergraduates Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20228

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