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Undergraduate Engineering Student Attitudes Toward Entrepreneurship

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Entrepreneurship Education: Assessment and Integrating Entrepreneurship into the Curriculum

Tagged Division

Entrepreneurship & Engineering Innovation

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1289.1 - 14.1289.15



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Borchers Kettering University

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Sung Hee Park Kettering University

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Entrepreneurial Self Efficacy, Locus of Control and Intent to Start a Business: An Expanded Study in an Engineering Schools


This study extends the authors prior work on student attitudes towards entrepreneurship in a Midwestern US engineering school. Based on prior work by Chen (1998) and Rotter (1966), the study measures entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) with 22 items, locus of control (LOC) with 23 items and intention to start a business (ITSB) with five items among a sample of engineering and business students (n=129). We collected paired data from students both before and after taking a course in innovation and new ventures. Along with basic analyses using correlation and t-tests, we performed confirmatory factor analysis and a Multi-Group SEM to test the effects of LOC. We support Chen’s work in showing that ESE and ITSB are in fact related and we demonstrate a moderating role for LOC in the relationship between ESE and ITSB. The authors discuss conclusions and further areas for study.

Authors’ Note: The authors wish to acknowledge generous support for this research from the Kern Family Foundation


Many observers have recognized entrepreneurship as a rising star in higher education over the past ten years. Interest has expanded from business schools to many academic domains including engineering. Student interest in the field has fueled demands for practical education in business formation8 and by a rising concern with the relevance of traditional business education1. The success of entrepreneurs such Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates are one reference point that spark student interest in entrepreneurship. Also widely reported are the entrepreneurial developments in e-commerce and biomedical fields. Writers such as C.K. Prahalad12 have also advanced entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change in the developing world.

Entrepreneurial education is not solely the domain of business schools. Increasingly, there is interest in innovation and new ventures in technical disciplines such as engineering and science. A study among Canadian universities10 shows support (although not always through formal courses) among deans in science, medicine and engineering. Organizations such as the NCIIA (National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance) have sparked interest in entrepreneurship among science and engineering students through a variety of programs. Notably, the recent NCIIA conferences in Portland (2006), Tampa (2007) and Dallas (2008) included significant numbers of non-business school researchers and practitioners. The conference schedules for these events show significant interest in topics including engineering and scientific innovation and projects in the developing world and environmental sustainability.

Borchers, A., & Park, S. H. (2009, June), Undergraduate Engineering Student Attitudes Toward Entrepreneurship Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5679

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