Purpose – The question arises whether entrepreneurship education will be able to facilitate the entrepreneurial attitude in the near future. Unfortunately, the decisive role of compulsory schooling has long been neglected in this context. Until recently it was considered sufficient to provide education in entrepreneurship in universities (especially in the area of Business Administration) or in the form of special courses for people who consider starting their own business. Picking up the discussion at this point, the purpose of this paper is to analyse to what extent compulsory school education in Germany and Sweden facilitates a more entrepreneurial way of thinking among pupils. Design/methodology/approach – First, the paper briefly summarises the relevant research literature and specify important components of entrepreneurship education. Second, it discusses what exactly is to be understood by entrepreneurial qualities and present a holistic approach based on a model by Dahlgren. Third, it describes the unique data and presents some empirical results. The empirical analysis concentrates on Germany. Yet, for reasons of comparison, it additionally analyses the situation in Sweden. Finally, the paper summarises the results and discusses the policy implications. Findings – The results presented clearly suggest that German schools do not succeed very well in presenting self‐employment as an attractive alternative to dependent work. Swedish pupils generally show a higher preference for self‐employment than their German counterparts. Furthermore, the results suggest that German schools diminish rather than encourage pupils' ambitions to become self‐employed as the pupils become older. Originality/value – To the authors' knowledge this is the first empirical study which compares the effect of different school systems on entrepreneurial attitude simultaneously (i.e. with the same questionnaire and at the same point of time).
Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 16, 2008
Keywords: Entrepreneurialism; Education; Government policy; Germany; Sweden; Schools
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