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Global Health. Environmental Well-being. Sustainable Cities. Industrial Innovation. More about global challenges. With regard to the faculties, the highest response rate was obtained from the fields of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies 27 per cent and the lowest from the fields of the Faculty of Humanities 19 per cent. Participant age varied between 18 and 60 years mean age On average, 40 per cent of the participants estimated that they had already completed 75— per cent of their degree, whereas 19 per cent estimated that they have completed less than 24 per cent.
Almost one third 31 per cent reported having a previous university degree. With regard to working life experience, 70 per cent of the participants reported having at least one year of experience, 13 per cent had from 1 month to 11 months, and 9 per cent had no working experience at all. The questionnaire included four characteristic statements derived from previous studies on entrepreneurial intent pertaining to career choice behaviour cf. Kautonen et al. All four statements are loaded on the same factor.
The measure applied in the present study is derived from Komulainen et al. This measure consisted of six factor-analytically derived dimensions which included: extroversion e. As the descriptive statistics in Table I indicated, the students responded to the statements pertaining to the entrepreneurial intent scale in a quite systematic way, since the shares of different alternatives were rather similar between the statements.
About one fifth of the students considered it fairly or very probable, or had a fairly strong or very strong intent, to eventually become an entrepreneur. On the other hand, well over half of the students indicated the opposite view and opted for the alternatives very improbable or fairly improbable. A linear regression analysis with a forced entry method was conducted: the score of entrepreneurial intent was set as the dependent variable and the six dimensions of abilities as the independent variables. Although there were a few significant, albeit moderate, correlations among the independent variables Table II , collinearity statistics suggested that the regression analysis was suitable for this data.
As indicated in Table III , the participants with high self-perceived innovativeness, high ambitiousness-competitiveness, low academic abilities and low conventional employee skills scored relatively high on the entrepreneurial intent scale. Furthermore, being a student of business studies was related to relatively high entrepreneurial intent, whereas being a student of nursing science was associated with relatively low entrepreneurial intent.
Males showed higher intent than females. As the descriptive statistics suggested, well over half of the participants considered it more or less improbable that they would become an entrepreneur at some phase of their career, whereas approximately one fifth of the participants considered this option to be fairly or very probable. This actually parallels the share of Finnish university-educated young people indicating a preference to function as an entrepreneur Akava, Moreover, the present study revealed that about one fifth or one fourth of the participants did not indicate their inclination; some of these students may develop a motivation for entrepreneurship at a later time.
In line with our expectation based on the prevailing employability discourse, particularly innovativeness, but also ambitiousness and competitiveness, were associated positively with entrepreneurial intent, whereas a set of academic and conventional abilities showed a negative association. Thus, in terms of their self-rated abilities, the students who saw themselves as innovators and competitive-ambitious persons with no particular academic or conventional aptness were prone to position themselves as potential entrepreneurs on the basis of their entrepreneurial intent.
These ability identifications are not surprising when considering that competitiveness, ambitiousness and innovativeness, including risk taking, are generally regarded as central personal attributes connected with entrepreneurship e. We may ask whether conventional employee skills might be at odds with the assumed realities of entrepreneurship?
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Or are we dealing with a particular social categorisation through which enterprising-oriented students construe their social identity in order to maintain a distance from others e. Jain et al. Extroversion is usually considered to be an important ability requirement in modern working life e. Sennett, Therefore, we expected that self-perceived extroversion would have evidenced a significant association with entrepreneurial intent. This did not turn out to be the case.
As the measure of academic abilities was psychometrically not good, we should be careful with our conclusions. The perceptions of these abilities seemed to suggest an inverse association with entrepreneurial intent. It appears that academic assets do not psychologically resonate constructively with the tenets of entrepreneurship Komulainen et al. According to perceived abilities, entrepreneurship is in an academic context perceived as a rather restricted category to which only a few and specific individuals appear to have access cf. Berglund and Johansson, We can consider the social backgrounds of these contradictory relations at least in terms of national educational policy and academic identity.
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Concerning educational policy, the opposition between academic and entrepreneurial tenets is probably a more or less global phenomenon, but it may show up in different forms and intensity according to the various national higher educational systems. For example, we may speculate that the dilemma between academic and entrepreneurial spheres is currently quite activated in Finland where higher education policy has relatively recently adopted global neoliberal practices Rinne, ; Rinne et al.
On the other hand, academic abilities such as theoreticality and intelligence are not just abilities. This understanding is a convincing justification for a generalised tendency to perceive the social world in essentialist terms that are characteristic of people with high social status Kraus and Keltner, This tendency also applies to Finnish university graduates Authors. Given that academic abilities serve an important identity function in the upholding of social hierarchies social-psychologically constructed differences between the academic and entrepreneurial abilities are likely to remain as a true dilemma, causing continual tensions.
Our study has several limitations. First, cross-national comparisons are needed to establish the cultural specificity of the present findings. Even if entrepreneurial intent can be reliably identified in many countries according to the theory of planned behaviour Engle et al.
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Second, although the size of our sample was quite large, the response rate was relatively low, which is rather typical in e-surveys. In terms of representativeness, some fields of study were over-represented various social sciences and some fields were totally lacking educational and technical sciences. Third, the scale measuring academic abilities was psychometrically rather modest at best. Fourth, the statements of intent scale represented only one category level of intents, i.
Moreover, many people may engage in what might be considered entrepreneurial activities, even if they are not formally classified as entrepreneurs. Thus, a detailed scrutiny of what kind of concrete enterprise projects students have in mind may provide further knowledge about the construction of their entrepreneurial intent.