Entrepreneurial Business and Society

Entrepreneurial Business and Society

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series

Edited by Friederike Welter, Robert Blackburn, Elisabet Ljunggren and Bjørn Willy Åmo

Entrepreneurial Business and Society summarizes contemporary research in the field of entrepreneurship and small business and explores the interplay between the entrepreneur, the entrepreneurial firm and society.

Chapter 7: Adding missing parts to the intention puzzle in entrepreneurship education: entrepreneurial self-efficacy, its antecedents and their direct and mediated effects

René Mauer, Philipp Eckerle and Malte Brettel

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship


Universities all over the world invest enormous resources into fostering entrepreneurship (Katz 2003; Klandt 2004; Kuratko 2005). Researchers commonly agree that one aim of entrepreneurship education should be to enforce people’s beliefs in their capacity to start a venture – that is, strengthening their entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) (e.g. Krueger and Brazeal 1994; Lucas and Cooper 2004; Peterman and Kennedy 2003). Strengthening ESE may ultimately lead to higher entrepreneurial inten- tions and more start-ups. However, increasing or retaining a high level of entrepreneurial intentions should not be the sole aim of entrepreneurship programmes. Recent studies also indicate that cognitive factors such as overconfidence may lead to business failures (Hayward et al. 2006; Koellinger et al. 2007). Therefore, Townsend et al. (2010: 200) corroborate that educational experiences may or should lead potential entrepreneurs to assess their real skills and abilities and therefore also ‘improve the quality of associated entrepreneurial entry’. Thus, any knowledge on an increasing or decreasing impact of entrepreneurship programme modules on ESE and entrepreneurial intentions is beneficial for entrepreneurial education research, as we can find conceptual reason- ing for both directions. To make way for these kinds of studies relating entrepreneurship education and ESE, it is important to have an advanced understanding about the influencing factors that play a role in the formation of ESE and entrepreneurial intentions of students. Until now empirical results on the impact of entrepreneurship education on ESE and entrepreneurial intentions are controversial. Fayolle and Gailly (2009) find an increasing effect of entrepreneurship education on perceived behavioural control and intention.

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