Purpose – To investigate possible connections between the ways in which university lecturers define the term “entrepreneurship” and the pedagogical methods they apply when teaching the subject. Design/methodology/approach – In total, 141 lecturers on entrepreneurship courses completed a questionnaire concerning meaning of the term “entrepreneurship”; the pedagogical techniques they employed when delivering entrepreneurship units; and their commitment to entrepreneurship as an academic discipline. The sample was analysed with respect to the respondents' subject areas (marketing, organisational behaviour, economics, etc.), amounts of business experience, types of employing institution, and socio‐demographic characteristics. An emerging model was tested using the technique of partial least squares. Findings – Lecturers' definitions of entrepreneurship were indeed influenced by their backgrounds and by the number of years they had worked in businesses. Few of the sample had ever owned an enterprise and, in general, respondents' operational management experience was limited. There was no consensus as to how the word entrepreneurship should be interpreted or how the subject should be taught. Research limitations/implications – Only a minority of the sampling frame (29 per cent) returned the questionnaire. The model that was tested had to be constructed ab initio due to the paucity of prior research in the field. Hence the study was wholly exploratory and could not test hypotheses explicitly derived from pre‐existing literature. Practical implications – A consistent theory of entrepreneurship needs to be developed, to be disseminated among and accepted by lecturers who actually teach the subject, and then be incorporated into the curricula and syllabuses of entrepreneurship courses. Originality/value – This research is the first to examine the perceptions of the nature of entrepreneurship held by lecturers on entrepreneurship programmes and to relate these perceptions to their antecedents and pedagogical consequences.
International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 1, 2006
Keywords: Academic staff; Business studies; Individual perception; Entrepreneurialism
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