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Closing the gap between university curriculum in entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial learning in networks : an interpretivist constructivist approach

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Entrepreneurship emerged from the discipline of economics before claiming its place as a discipline of its own, seven decades back. It is now widely recognised as a complex and dynamic process which is influenced by the socio-cultural context of an entrepreneur. At the same time, entrepreneurial learning is acknowledged as an experiential process relying on the social surrounding of an entrepreneur.
There is substantial research on how entrepreneurs learn as well as how to teach entrepreneurship. There is also a general agreement among scholars that the entrepreneurship process includes certain key behaviours, attributes and skills which are amenable to teaching. However, the scholarly works on entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial learning continue to remain unaligned.
There have been several calls in the literature for developing new pedagogical approaches to entrepreneurship while critiquing the prevalent methods such as developing business plans because of their inflexibilities and counterproductive influence on student learning on entrepreneurship courses in higher education.
Considering the distinct nature of the entrepreneurial process, this qualitative research takes an interpretivist-constructivist stance to explore the possibility of incorporating social network learning into entrepreneurship education within higher education in the United Kingdom in an attempt to align the above two streams of extant literature.
Data in this research comprises of participant observations at coworking spaces followed by semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship educators and students of entrepreneurship education. This triangulatory nature of data collection helped in coagulating the researcher’s understanding of the underlying processes, drawing insights from multiple perspectives. Data were subsequently analysed using an adapted approach of the Grounded Theory method.
The main contribution of this research is to present a conceptual framework of entrepreneurship education, which mimics the learning process of entrepreneurs by having a constructivist approach to learning, incorporating a social networks approach in the curriculum. In addition, this research also makes methodological contributions as well as informs the relevant public policy. Finally, this research paves the way for further research on entrepreneurship education using observational data, longitudinal studies and novel methods such as analytical hierarchy process for deeper insights as well as generalisations.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award dateSep 2019
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ID: 15435868