June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation
More and more engineering students are starting their own business after graduating from university instead of joining existing companies. While the benefits of a healthy entrepreneurial culture to a progressing society and a competitive economy are widely acknowledged, little is known about the entrepreneurs themselves and their pathways. The analyses in this research paper examines the spread and roots of entrepreneurial career goals among today’s undergraduate engineering students. We identify how sociocognitive measures, e.g. students’ self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations, their interest in innovation, , learning experiences at university and individual background and characteristics affect their entrepreneurial career focus.
This research paper makes use of data collected as part of the Engineering Majors Survey (EMS), a national survey distributed to engineering students across 27 U.S. universities in 2015, which received over 7,000 responses.. This study is grounded in the theoretical framework of Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) by Lent, Brown, and Hackett (1994). his theoretical framework uses sociocognitive factors to map the complex process of career choice, and shows how it is linked to external influences such as diverse background characteris, contexts and different support structures.. The EMS included constructs addressing these sociocognitive factors and external sources of influence. We connect this model to recent findings from the literature about the roots of engineering students intention to become starters of new ventures (Lintl et al., 2015) and fundamental research about students’ innovation and entrepreneurial skills (Duval-Couetil & Dyrenfurth, 2012; Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, 2011) which have been identified as central mechanisms in our model. Therefore, we group students who are highly motivated to start their own business as starters and students who are more likely to join an existing organization as joiners.
The first step in the analyses includes a description of the demographic characteristics of the starter and joiner groups and their sociocognitive and contextual factors. The findings suggest that starters are driven by higher interests in innovation, it is very important to them to be involved in innovation practices in their early career and they show stronger self-efficacy beliefs than joiners. Males are overrepresented among the starters and, for example, particular learning experiences such as discussing and promoting new business ideas with other students or faculty members have an highly significant relationship to be a starter. The same applies for students’ who are engaging in courses covering topics around entrepreneurship and innovation. In the second step follow-up analyses will examine the relationships between the previously identified sociocognitive factors and entrepreneurial career goals. The long term educational implications of this research study will be discussed.
Rameseder, G., & Sheppard, S., & Reithmann, M., & Brubaker, E. R. (2017, June), The Roots of Entrepreneurial Career Goals among Today's Engineering Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29009
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