Facilitating entrepreneurial behavior development through learning
Paper i proceeding, 2011
Emphasis on developing new entrepreneurs is marked by the continued growth of entrepreneurial education programs (Finkle & Deeds, 2001; Katz, 2003; McMullan & Long, 1987; Solomon, 2007). While learning may be the dynamic process which enables entrepreneurial behavior to be enacted (Rae & Carswell, 2001), it is complex (Nicolini & Mesnar, 1995), and programs can have different objectives, methods and associated results (Kickul & Fayolle, 2007), with not all leading to the development of individuals capable of acting entrepreneurially.
A review of entrepreneurship education literature (Mwasalwiba, 2010) draws distinctions between education conducted for, about, in or through entrepreneurship. Many scholars agree that entrepreneurial education has to have an experiential learning perspective together with interactive pedagogy in order to enhance learning and innovative capacity (Barrett & Peterson, 2000; Collins, Smith, & Hannon, 2006; Hjorth & Johannisson, 2007; Honig, 2004; Johannisson, Landstrom, & Rosenberg, 1998; Vinton & Alcock, 2004; Yballe & O'Connor, 2000). I propose there is a potential to change or develop entrepreneurial behavior through learning building upon learning through social interaction. Based on a review of learning concepts, I argue that ‘learning by doing’ combined with mentoring processes can facilitate a decision cycle for testing hypotheses, providing feedback through physical engagement, and through reaction from a surrounding role-set. I describe this as learning through interaction. Interaction with a set of key stakeholders, called a role-set, facilitates “generative learning” (Barrett & Peterson, 2000; Gibb, 1997) providing insights into potential future action, including abilities to see possibilities beyond problem barriers. Learning through interaction involves experiential learning including reflection-in-action (Schön, 1984) and generative learning based upon cycles of hypothesis testing and feedback between the nascent entrepreneur and her role-set.