Training to become an entrepreneur has moved from informal, trial-and-error approaches to the more formal curriculum-based education programmes found within college and university settings (Gray, 2006). While the proliferation of education and training programmes specialising in entrepreneurship continues to rise across the world,
entrepreneurship educators within these programmes face growing demand to facilitate the development of entrepreneurial skill sets and behaviours associated with new venture
creation. In order to do so, they often engage in using a wide variety of pedagogical tools, which generally include business plan competitions, field practicum experiences,
simulations, and ‘live’ cases that have been introduced to develop entrepreneurial skills and that usually affect self-perceptions and intentions.
The goals of the training may vary, but are generally expressed in terms of ‘developing entrepreneurial skill sets’, ‘enhancing an entrepreneurial mindset’,
‘stimulating entrepreneurial behaviour’, and ‘preparing and helping students’ entrepreneurial endeavours’. A common goal of many training programmes in entrepreneurship is to stimulate entrepreneurship in its various forms. Of course, definitions of the terms ‘entrepreneurship’ and ‘entrepreneurial’ also vary a lot among scholars and practitioners. Nevertheless, in those training programmes entrepreneurship is generally seen as an attractive career choice that also affords individuals the opportunity to contribute to society through the introduction of innovative products, services, and technological processes. Not surprisingly, one question that often interests scholars and educators in entrepreneurship is how to stimulate it through training. In this sense, previous research has indicated the importance of self-perceptions and intentions as antecedents of actual behaviour (e.g., Ajzen, 1991; Krueger and Carsrud,
1993). In particular, research has shown that intentions are heavily influenced by individuals’ perceptions of their own abilities regarding skill sets (i.e., self-efficacy, Bird, 1988; Krueger et al., 2000). This has led scholars to suggest the use of entrepreneurial intentions and self-efficacy beliefs as measures of entrepreneurship education effectiveness (Fayolle et al., 2005; Botha et al., 2006). This has also led educators to try to increase students’ positive perceptions about their abilities relative to the entrepreneurial skill set necessary to launch a new venture, i.e., their perceived entrepreneurial self-efficacy (SE).
Kickul, J., Gundry, L.K., Barbosa, S.D. and Simms, S. (2010) ‘One style does not fit all: the role of cognitive style in entrepreneurship education’, Int. J. Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp.36–57.