Hancock, Connie (University of Chester, 2018-08-18)
Purpose: This work conducts an exploratory investigation into the domain of entrepreneurship in Higher Education (HE), how it is perceived, interpreted and embedded, both from a pedagogic and philosophical perspective, into a contemporary university landscape in order to cultivate entrepreneurial behaviours in undergraduate students.
It is implied in government imperatives and directives that entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs are the fiscal panacea that will lead us towards the light in the economic gloom that currently pervades. The cultivation of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviours has been specifically linked to Higher Education by the European Commission, although scholarly research into developing an entrepreneurial landscape within the HE sector is significantly lacking. Whilst studies exploring the entrepreneurial university and transformative opportunities in response to economic pressure has been undertaken from the 90s onwards, this field and its potential to inform and impact on Higher Education continues to represent an understudied area. The purpose of this research therefore, is to consider the methodologies and strategies that can support a cultivation, integration and embedment of entrepreneurship education in a Higher Education context, specifically the University of Chester, with a view to creating a blueprint for future Entrepreneurship undergraduate Programmes.
Methodology: The approach is one that embraces an inductive and qualitative research methodology with data secured from three groups of respondents: undergraduate students, staff engaged in the delivery and support of entrepreneurial endeavour and external stakeholders contributing to an entrepreneurship agenda. Data were gathered from student participants by means of semi-structured interviews and focus groups. Data was secured from staff and external stakeholders via the mode of face-to-face semi-structured interviews. A multiple perspective methodology was employed in order to effectively provide a triangulation of perceptions on the development of an institutional entrepreneurial culture from a pragmatic perspective. The data were analysed and interpreted by way of template analysis (Stokes, Wall, 2014; Philips, Lawrence and Hardy, 2004; Hardy and Thomas, 2013).
Contribution: This work expands upon the ways in which entrepreneurship education may be understood in the context of a comparatively small university in the north-west of England and extends the thinking into how practice may be extended to maximise undergraduate entrepreneurship. Most significantly, this research offers up a conceptual blueprint in the form of a model that demonstrates how entrepreneurially orientated mind-sets and behaviours may be fostered in undergraduates within the context of University of Chester.
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