The Impact of Entrepreneurship Education on Human Capital at Upper-Secondary Level

ArticleinJournal of Small Business Management 51(3) · July 2013with624 Reads
DOI: 10.1111/jsbm.12020
T. Volery at University of Western Australia
  • 20.75
  • University of Western Australia
Susan Mueller at University of St.Gallen
  • 16.29
  • University of St.Gallen
Abstract
In this study we evaluate the impact of entrepreneurship education on human capital at the upper-secondary level using a quasi-experimental design. Data were collected from 494 students attending entrepreneurship education programs and from 238 in a control group. Our results indicate that some personality traits such as need for autonomy and risk propensity, as well as beliefs, can have a significant positive influence on entrepreneurial intention. Entrepreneurship education has a positive, albeit limited impact on human-capital assets. The programs we assessed had a statistically significant impact on beliefs, on the capacity to exploit an opportunity, and on entrepreneurial knowledge. However, we did not observe any significant impact on entrepreneurial intention.

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  • ... In this paper, we argue that we need to better understand the processes of creating entrepreneurial schools. During the past few years, a number of European countries and regions have introduced enterprising and entrepreneurship education into their national norms (Deakins et al., 2005;Brunila, 2012;Volery et al., 2013;Eurydice, 2016). While norms and guidelines probably have an effect on schools, the management and development within the schools are likely to be even more effective. ...
    ... For example, has the principal taken part in enterprise-related courses or training; has he/she taken into account the regional and/or local industry strategies when developing school's entrepreneurship education practices; is he/she developing the school's enterprise-oriented culture; is he/she encouraging or supporting teachers to broaden their understanding of entrepreneurship education; or is he/she involving teachers to develop schools, local or national enterprise education plans, curricula or strategies. ( Birdthistle et al., 2007;Drakopoulou, Dodd & Hynes, 2012;Eurydice, 2016;Finnish National Board of Education, 2004;Fuchs et al., 2008;Gibb, 2011;Hynes & Richardson, 2007;Kothari & Handscombe, 2007;Volery et al., 2013.) ...
  • ... It has also been noted that entrepreneurial intention can change over time. Volery et al. (2013) argued that the significant effects are often observed directly upon completion of an intervention. This suggests that a third point of measurement could indicate the effect of stability. ...
  • ... Reported effects among EE studies vary considerably ( Naia et al. 2014). Whereas most studies hint to a positive link between EE and EL outcomes, showing that EE improves students' entrepreneurial skills ( DeTienne and Chandler 2004;Sánchez 2011) and beliefs ( Peterman and Kennedy 2003;Volery et al. 2013; Walter and Dohse 2012, among others), others have found mixed (von Graevenitz, Harhoff, and Weber 2010; Oosterbeek, van Praag, and Ijsselstein 2010), statistically non-significant ( Souitaris, Zerbinati, and Al-Laham 2007) or even negative relationships ( Mentoor and Friedrich 2007). Moreover, in many cases the benefits of EE have been misinterpreted due to methodological weaknesses in the research design ( Fayolle 2013;Rauch and Hulsink 2015). ...
    ... Beyond the empirical limitations, this literature suffers from several theoretical shortcomings: a lack of understanding of the mechanisms that explain the evolution of students' entrepreneurial knowledge caused by EE; a limited conceptualization of the impact caused by EE, which mostly considers whether EE has been imparted or not and neglects the effect of increasing exposure to additional EE initiatives; and scarce knowledge of the contingent factors that shape EE outcomes ( Bae et al. 2014;Martin, McNally, and Kay 2013). Downloaded by [191.96.252.158] at 16:18 24 November 2017 Building on human capital theory ( Becker 1964), a perspective identified as a useful lens to analyse the impact of EE ( Bae et al. 2014;Martin, McNally, and Kay 2013;Volery et al. 2013), our study extends research executed in this field by (i) measuring the extent to which the various EE initiatives university students are exposed to affects their EL outcomes, and (ii) adopting a contingent approach to find out how the impact of these initiatives is moderated by the student's entrepreneurial experience, the universities' entrepreneurial teaching pedagogy, and the diffusion of opportunity-driven entrepreneurial activity in the country. Researchers have emphasized the importance of such multilevel perspective as crossing multiple levels of analysis yields a more holistic understanding of the effect of EE ( Bae et al. 2014). ...
    ... Reported effects among EE studies vary considerably ( Naia et al. 2014). Whereas most studies hint to a positive link between EE and EL outcomes, showing that EE improves students' entrepreneurial skills ( DeTienne and Chandler 2004;Sánchez 2011) and beliefs ( Peterman and Kennedy 2003;Volery et al. 2013;Walter and Dohse 2012, among others), others have found mixed (von Graevenitz, Harhoff, and Weber 2010; Oosterbeek, van Praag, and Ijsselstein 2010), statistically non-significant ( Souitaris, Zerbinati, and Al-Laham 2007) or even negative relationships ( Mentoor and Friedrich 2007). Moreover, in many cases the benefits of EE have been misinterpreted due to methodological weaknesses in the research design ( Fayolle 2013;Rauch and Hulsink 2015). ...
  • ... An effective university program in agribusiness needs to develop management skills, but must also build the entrepreneurial competencies of opportunity recognition and exploitation among their graduates as indicated in the findings of a recent survey of Agriculture deans and program directors in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States where over 85 percent of the respondents believed that innovation and entrepreneurship was vital to the future of agriculture, agribusinesses and university level agricultural education in their respective nations (Mehlhorn, Bonney, Fraser, and Miles 2015). Similar to Mitchelmore and Rowley's (2010) four category framework of entrepreneurial competencies as augmented by work by Sanchez (2013) andVolery et al. (2013), this study distinguishes between entrepreneurial competencies which relate to the discovery or creation, assessment and exploitation of venture opportunities and managerial competencies which are required for an on-going organization to remain viable and include competencies which relate to strategic decision marketing, human relations, financial management and marketing. The objective of this study is to assess the perceptions of agribusiness students on entrepreneurship and agriculture and to develop a short evaluation scale to benchmark students' perceptions of entrepreneurship in a university's agribusiness program. ...
  • ... Social enterprise was forged by the Harvard Business School in 1993 (HBS, n.d., para 1). Most academic and mainstream articles, when discussing entrepreneurship education, approach it from a post secondary education perspective (Bechard & Gregoire, 2005; Vanevenhoven, & Liguori, 2013; Volery, Müller, Oser, Naepflin, & Rey, 2013; Safranski, R. (2004). Limited articles discuss entrepreneurship education with the central focus placed on the primary and secondary levels of education. ...
  • ... Although in practice, educators, in the name of equality, will not differ between male and female students in term of giving materials and tasks, but these findings should be considered as a critique and suggestion that in deed, male and female are different in nature and need different approach in delivering EE. According to Volery, Müller, Oser, Naepflin, and Rey (2013), giving a good quality of EE would contribute to human capital development. The findings of this study fill in the literature gaps particularly on the comparison of secondary and tertiary students relating to EI. Future study can explore the models tested to be researched in different setting of places. ...
  • ... Based on the methods of other impact studies (e.g.,Kolvereid and Moen, 1997, 2010), a structured sampling procedure with an adequate sample size for an ex ante/ex post design represents a further essential requirement for evaluating entrepreneurial narratives as an adequate teaching tool (Lorz et al. 2013). In addition, because most EE studies are carried out at higher educational levels (e.g.,Vanevenhoven and Liguori, 2013;Volery et al., 2013;Zhang et al., 2014), a focus on currently under-researched target groups such as students of vocational schools (Lorz et al., 2013, 1991;Edelman et al., 2008;Joshi and Ganapathi, 2008;Kailer, 2009;Ion and Viorica, 2011;Boyles, 2012) along with growing academic interest in its role and impact (DeJaeghere and Baxter, 2014;Saeed et al., 2014;Sipon and Lope Pihie, 2014;Fayolle and Gailly, 2015), there appears to be little agreement regarding what the content of EE should be as well as how to implement teaching tools in these programs (Honig et al., 2005;Neergaard and Ulhøi, 2007;Edelman et al., 2008). In particular, researchers have paid little attention to the impact of entrepreneurial narratives on individuals (Davidsson, 2006;Pittaway and Cope, 2007;Xavier et al., 2008;de Vries, 2014). ...
  • ... Based on the methods of other impact studies (e.g., Kolvereid and Moen, 1997, 2010), a structured sampling procedure with an adequate sample size for an ex ante/ex post design represents a further essential requirement for evaluating entrepreneurial narratives as an adequate teaching tool (Lorz et al. 2013). In addition, because most EE studies are carried out at higher educational levels (e.g., Vanevenhoven and Liguori, 2013; Volery et al., 2013; Zhang et al., 2014), a focus on currently under-researched target groups such as students of vocational schools (Lorz et al., 2013, 1991; Edelman et al., 2008; Joshi and Ganapathi, 2008; Kailer, 2009; Ion and Viorica, 2011; Boyles, 2012) along with growing academic interest in its role and impact (DeJaeghere and Baxter, 2014; Saeed et al., 2014; Sipon and Lope Pihie, 2014; Fayolle and Gailly, 2015), there appears to be little agreement regarding what the content of EE should be as well as how to implement teaching tools in these programs (Honig et al., 2005; Neergaard and Ulhøi, 2007; Edelman et al., 2008). In particular, researchers have paid little attention to the impact of entrepreneurial narratives on individuals (Davidsson, 2006; Pittaway and Cope, 2007; Xavier et al., 2008; de Vries, 2014). ...
  • ... Formal entrepreneurship-related coursework pursued by students is a component of human capital that assists in knowledge accumulation (Volery et al., 2013). Human capital refers to 'the knowledge, skills, competences and other attributes embodied in individuals that are relevant to economic activity' (OECD, 1998, p.9). ...
    ... Entrepreneurship courses may assist in the accumulation of knowledge important for nascent entrepreneurs. In general, entrepreneurship education is found to positively impact human capital (Martin et al., 2013), and, specifically, to affect beliefs, capacity to exploit opportunities, and entrepreneurial knowledge (Volery et al., 2013). In addition, knowledge acquired from entrepreneurship-related courses can increase a student's ability to acquire resources. ...
  • ... Because quasi-experiments lack random assignment, inferences about causal relationships are weak ( Aronson et al., 1990). Notwithstanding this limitation, quasi-experiments have been used in entrepreneurship research to examine the outcomes of entrepreneurship education (e.g., Fiet & Patel, 2008;Volery, Müller, Oser, Naepflin, & Del Rey, 2013), normative behaviors of entrepreneurs and non-entrepreneurs (e.g., Arend, 2016;Field, Jayachandran, & Pande, 2010), and cognitive biases ( Burmeister & Schade, 2007;Koudstaal, Sloof, & van Praag, 2015) on entrepreneurial decisions and behaviors. ...
    ... The first condition is when students are or resemble the population of interest ( Gordon, Slade, & Schmitt, 1987;Stevens, 2011). In studies on the effect of entrepreneurship education and the formation of entrepreneurial intention ( Sanchez, 2013;Souitaris, Zerbinati, & Al-Laham, 2007;Volery et al., 2013), students constitute the population of interest. Similarly, students arguably resemble the population of first-time founders ( McGee, Peterson, Mueller, & Sequeira, 2009), and experiments can be designed to examine their decisions about business opportunities as a program or course requirement. ...
    ... Other field studies in our review of active participation experimental designs used student samples ranging from 250 to over 700 in size. Sanchez (2013), Souitaris et al. (2007), Volery et al. (2013, and Fiet and Patel (2008) each examine the effects of entrepreneurship education on the formation of entrepreneurial intentions and opportunity identification. Other researchers have also used active participation research designs with student samples to test the effects of gender stereotypes and gender composition on entrepreneurial intentions ( Gupta et al. 2008) and opportunity attractiveness ( Gupta & Turban, 2012) and the effects of the feedback from entrepreneurial activities on task efforts ( Gatewood, Shaver, Powers, & Gartner, 2002). ...
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