Research Article: 2020 Vol: 23 Issue: 5
Enaidy Reynosa Navarro, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Emilia Lastenia Urbina Ganvini, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Sissy Doris De La Torre Zavala, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Leslie Melissa Niño Becerra, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Ana María Orbegoso Dávila, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Cynthia Kathya Saldaña Bernal, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Enrique Armando Montoya Ulloa, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Julissa Cruz Rosas, Universidad César Vallejo, Perú
Citation Information: Reynosa Navarro, E., Urbina Ganvini, E.L., De La Torre Zavala, S.D., Niño Becerra, L.M., Orbegoso Dávila,
A.M., Saldaña Bernal, C.K., Montoya Ulloa, E.A., Cruz Rosas, J. (2020). Integral characteristics of the entrepreneurial leader: A
pedagogical experience.. Journal of Entrepreneurship Education, 23(5).
The objective of this study was to systematize the results of a pedagogical experience carried out with second year students of the Universidad César Vallejo, Peru (UCV). The academic subject was Personal Development (curriculum B and C of the UCV educational model). It was developed through 33 experiential leadership workshops conducted by lecturers of the above-mentioned subject. Population: 1522 students. Sample: 1316; attendance rate: 86%. As a teaching-learning methodology, the Flipped Classroom was used, through which students researched (semi-presential) and discussed (presential) the characteristics of the entrepreneurial leader. For this purpose, work teams were formed (between 5 and 6 members). This allowed the students to systematize their individual findings until they reached collective and definite conclusions. Finally, the study establishes a hierarchy of the fundamental (level 1), relevant (level 2) and complementary (level 3) characteristics of the entrepreneurial leader, by grouping them into a ranking of integral characteristics.
Flipped Classroom, Active Methodologies, Entrepreneurship, Leadership.
Leadership and entrepreneurship are relevant complementary variables for the organization, not only for business, but also for processes of growth and integral development, essential for the fulfillment of primary objectives in all areas of knowledge. This fact is not ignored in higher education because, at present, the labor market demands professionals with an integral graduation profile, a special capacity for adaptation and developed soft skills.
The UCV is no stranger to this and, in line with its educational model, prepares professionals whose graduation profile satisfies the most demanding labor skills of modern times. To this end, the University invests human, economic, technological and scientific resources that make the integral development of the graduate viable; adding to his or her professional training, formative research, academic tutoring and general humanistic education. Under this premise, Personal Development (curriculum B and C of the UCV educational model) is a transversal academic subject to all the UCV study programs, whose purpose is to develop intrapersonal, interpersonal and social skills and attitudes linked to esteem, leadership, emotional management, social responsibility, innovation, creativity, research and entrepreneurial spirit in the student; articulating the teaching-learning processes with the use of active methodologies relevant to education.
This study motivated that, knowing the relevance of the subject Personal Development for the professional, personal and social development of the students; It is difficult to access theoretical methodological and practical procedures that support the development of entrepreneurial leadership workshops. The information in open access is dispersed and highly focused on those concepts of leadership, leadership styles and entrepreneurship; basic for the generation of economic wealth and not for the integral formation of the entrepreneurial leader.
The teaching-learning process continues to be a pedagogical challenge, especially for those institutions whose teachers have not developed the appropriate methodological tools to handle autonomous, active and sustainable learning through the use of active methodologies; those that “...have their origin in critical pedagogy and humanist theory” (Lira Valdivia, 2013, p. 2). Active methodologies are understood as those that qualify the teaching work and facilitate access to knowledge in a strategic way. Paños Castro (2017) rescued some active methodologies, relevant to stimulating entrepreneurial competence: case studies; business games and simulations; learning by doing in real situations; experiential learning; talks with entrepreneurs; creation of business plans; project learning; cooperative learning; and learning and service. Hernández Crespo et al., (2017), demonstrated that when working with active methodologies, students acquire those valuable learnings to solve practical cases in a creative way.
One of the essential pillars of these active methodologies is altruistic communication and cooperation. Communication enables the development of reflective capacities in a relatively low-risk context (Schön, 1992). The training of reflective professionals is materialized when the learner is able to handle basic and complex problems and develop practical and applicable alternative solutions. On the other hand, cooperation occurs in a conscious way because the members internalize a group result stemming from their individual and complementary vision. By using active methodologies, the teacher becomes a facilitator for the students to handle the learning in a collaborative way, generating work interdependence.
Flipped Classroom: Theoretical-Methodological Arguments
One of the methodologies, with a high educational impact at present, is the Flipped Classroom, which allows research, exposition and conclusion of specific knowledge in a face-to-face, semi-presential and mixed way. Smith (2018) defines Flipped Classroom as the transition from teaching classes to the assignment of homework and the use of time in the classroom for interactive interpersonal learning; allowing students to prepare and become familiar with the contents of the class, in advance. Fernández Jambrina (2017) points out that this methodology permits “the exchange of place and time of the tasks that the students develop for their learning”, being crucial to understand that under this influence the roles are inverted, the students assume the teaching role and they are conscious that to achieve the goal they need to devote time to individual preparation.
This methodology impacts the students from the very beginning because it unbalances their mental structures, creates new cognitive conflicts and makes them enter an uncertain terrain that, in order to clear it, they need to appropriate information that they themselves handle+in a delimited space of time. “Unlike other methodologies, the Flipped Classroom includes time for face-to-face interaction with the teacher and other students, to discuss and apply the concepts studied autonomously (Cañon-Ayala & Olarte-Dussan, 2018, p. 83). This is a complex activity with a stated purpose that, in order to achieve it, it is necessary to permanently evaluate progress with the help of the teacher; achieving “different types of classrooms depending on the teacher's experience, the students' learning styles and the resources available” (Hernández-Silva & Tecpan-Flores, 2017).
Likewise, the conditions that Pavanelo & Lima (2017) highlight are: 1. “It requires human interaction (activities in the classroom)”, 2. “It is developed through the use of digital technologies (activities outside the classroom).” These conditions are indispensable for the conscious development of oriented activities. In the first one (activities in the classroom), with the support of peers and teachers, it allows to build ideas based on joint reflection. According to Milhorato & Guimaraes (2016) “all students can get to master any content, as long as they have the time and support.” And, in the second one (activities outside the classroom), the students need to be autonomous and they have the available computer tools as support in search of new skills and new knowledge. In order to do so, they must put into practice their self-leadership skills because every moment they will need to find the motivation not to distance themselves from the activity. This premise is an essential basis for entrepreneurship.
Theoretical Foundations of Entrepreneurship
For Fernández-Jardón (2012) a great characteristic of entrepreneurship is the ability to take risks. The entrepreneur must assume the uncertainty derived from exceptional situations such as leadership in changes and innovations, adaptability to changes and risk support. Within this framework, self-leadership is a cornerstone for implementing those personal adjustments that lead to innovation and entrepreneurship. Emphasis is placed on personal adjustments, because it is necessary for the entrepreneur to be able to oppose the comfort and conformism that the function generates, to develop a critical attitude towards change and to understand innovation as an opportunity to qualify the establishment or to create new products that replace previous products or base products.
On the other hand, the adaptation capacity must be seen from a formative vision, because it generates contradictions, which must be channeled with arguments based on viability and sustainability over time, which if not known or oriented correctly, it could create harmful indifferences for the enterprise. Therefore, the need arises to conceive educational spaces where the students assume a leading role, and the facilitator encourages a process of participation and intervention that mobilizes attitudes of self-management and development of general and specific competences in the students from an integral perspective (Gamboa-Conejo et al., 2016). To this end, teachers can rely on case studies where students “approach the experiences of professionals and entrepreneurs in the real world” (Vázquez Schaich, 2012, p. 154).
Finally, there is the risk, present within any change or transfer process. The capacity to assume risks must be understood objectively, since, on the one hand, it carries the possibility of failure and frustration, but on the other hand, it can be the pathway to achieve complex objectives. Risk-taking is a central feature of entrepreneurship and finds a foothold in decision making, but it contains a potential margin for error as well. That is why before taking any kind of risk, the entrepreneur needs to inform himself, analyze, reflect and ask for help if necessary because the possibility of success or failure is at stake and this has to be interpreted with anticipation, objectivity and maturity.
Entrepreneurship is conceived as “action or effect of undertaking”, meaning “to undertake and start a work, a business, a commitment, especially if it involves difficulty or danger”; and, in addition, “quality of the entrepreneur” (Chaves Núñez & Fonseca Hernández, 2015). Entrepreneurship is about achieving meaningful goals either individually or collectively; using creativity and leadership attitudes as leverage to obtain concrete results in the midst of an uncertain scenario. Thus, starting a work or a project helps the entrepreneur to strive to find desirable results, even if along the way this impetus requires adjustments. However, when the desirable results are not found and the initial risk is potentialized or when the venture fails, it is an experiential fact that motivates new resurgences from the expertise that inevitably feeds the entrepreneurial spirit that nourishes new projects.
Merino Núñez & Quiroz Veliz (2017) consider that “entrepreneurship arises from the need to search for opportunities by implementing a business idea instantly without having any knowledge of the possible income in the market” (p. 84). This statement is limited because the phenomenon of entrepreneurship also responds to personal or simply vocational needs. It is risky to subordinate the meaning of entrepreneurship to the creation of companies, because it automatically limits the concept to a special function that does not surpass its general essence. The opportunity for entrepreneurship occurs according to certain cyclical circumstances that also happen at a personal level and help to shape entrepreneurial leadership; resulting in that entrepreneurship is not a matter of poor, emerging or rich people, but of personal motivations to change the immediate circumstances of the socio-cultural environment.
The entrepreneurial spirit is the “set of qualities and skills that entrepreneurs have, including personal initiative, self-confidence, creativity, risk-taking and not being afraid of failure” (Pérez Paredes & Torralba Flores, 2015, pp. 20-21). Both qualities and skills are personal attributes that can be developed, the seed of which is self-knowledge, which is necessary for the person to review his or her strengths and weaknesses from an integral regenerative vision.
There are four capacities declared by Maureira, Moforte & González (2014) in their study: “construction of meaning, relationship with others, construction of vision and inventiveness” (p. 7). This approach allows to articulate a work whose fruits are not immediate. Likewise, it highlights the need for communication to articulate personal strengths and link them to a common goal where individualities take on a complementary and synergistic meaning. It places vision and inventiveness as key concepts of entrepreneurship, because that is where the processes of change and creativity, implicit in the development process of the entrepreneurial leader, converge. These activities justify what Álvarez-Solves (2012) called “transformational leadership”, through which it is possible to innovate in an organization, provided that the co-leaders are “aware of the importance and value of the results of the task, activating their higher order needs, and inculcating in them a personal interest for the good of the team” (p. 2). Likewise, they are complemented with the style of distributive leadership, which is based on those ethical principles that support the common vision over individual objectives. This deserves “a culture of learning and innovation with a high degree of commitment for improvement, development processes and common organizational goals” (Contreras, 2016, p. 9).
Within the mentioned processes, what is relevant is not the leader, but the leadership (López, 2010). People who look for planned results and who adhere to a shared vision where leadership considers the whole above the individual. When the organization internalizes this philosophy, complementarity and synergy occur. To build these capacities, Valderrama Sanabria (2014) explains that it would be possible through the development of joint elaboration works, case studies, training practices and with the example. This explanation confirms that the development of the leader responds to a number of strategies that allow the innate capacities of the person to be fused with a permanent training process.
Entrepreneurial leadership, as a modern trend, overcomes traditional nomenclatures of leadership styles because it goes beyond what is segmented. It is a way of life that is open to a philosophy of living and proceeding that breaks the traditional recipes. Therefore, his procedure is not vertical: “with some, he will be a boss; with others, he will be able to keep a good relationship; with others, to generate results; and, with others, to develop them and enjoy their committed loyalty” (Stein Martínez, 2014). As Barrón Aráoz (2014), we agree that leadership is the ability to influence people to execute what they should do in diverse situational contexts. The leader must empower co-leaders and provide opportunities to solve problems autonomously. As well as to take the lead on a complex issue, to contribute ideas with ease and to make rational decisions with objectivity. To achieve these standards, the leader must have learned to delegate, control and give feedback in this order.
Calvo de Mora, (1970); Palomino Silva (2008); Torrado (2012) & López (2013) consider that the entrepreneurial leader must be characterized by the management of situations and people, of information, practical capacity to solve complex problems, as well as by equanimity, sagacity, cohesion, exemplary axiological procedure, capacity to promote change, to make people participate, to democratize, to listen and to understand. All these characteristics result in the spontaneous development that occurs when the leader “strives to recognize and empower the members of the organization and is oriented to transform the beliefs, attitudes and feelings of the followers” (Chacón Mora, 2011).
The study is the result of a pedagogical experience carried out with second year students from the Universidad César Vallejo, main campus (Trujillo-Peru). The bibliographical review was developed from the search of updated and relevant information to the topic, extracted –mainly– from indexed scientific journals. The population was made up of 1522 students enrolled in the academic subject Personal Development. As a sample, 1316 students attended the workshop at an attendance rate of 86%. Taking as a reference the statistical equation for population proportions, the sample is highly significant.
The workshops (33 in total) were held during one week at an average of 4.1 workshops per teacher. The use of the Flipped Classroom methodology permitted the development of individual and collective activities both outside and inside the classroom. In the first phase, students were guided to investigate the biographies of two influential people that they considered to be entrepreneurial leaders. Then, to arrange in an individual worksheet those leader characteristics found in their characters. In a second phase, in a face-to-face way, the work teams were formed at a rate of five to six members per team. Each member was assigned five minutes to socialize with their teammates about the most outstanding characteristics of the leader found in their characters. Each team then engaged in a general discussion to agree on the matching characteristics; select the most significant ones and disregard the irrelevant ones. They then ranked (from 1 to 12) the most significant characteristics agreed upon and debated them in a plenary. Each workshop ended with feedback to clarify doubts, correct ideas and transfer new knowledge.
To tabulate the results of the workshops, each teacher used a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that allowed them to order the results hierarchically. Then, all the information was concentrated in a matrix sheet that would automatically give a definitive ranking with those characteristics of the entrepreneurial leader whose average was placed between 1 and 10 points; with averages closer to 1 being valued as fundamental level 1 characteristics; intermediate values as relevant level 2 characteristics and values closer to 10 as complementary level 3 characteristics.
The fundamental characteristics (Table 1) of the entrepreneurial leader were proposed in 100% of the workshops and each team contributed arguments to support their proposal. As a result, there was consensus not to subordinate the concept of leadership to negative or positive behaviors of the person, but to the person who, regardless of his or her psychological profile, demonstrates capacities to sustainably influence his or her followers through his or her endeavors. Likewise, the irrelevance of labeling leadership styles (affiliative, authoritarian, autocratic, democratic, etc.) was considered because a leader is the confluence of attributes that allow her to lead masses beyond any one style. This thesis could be the answer to: why have we the fundamental characteristics of the leader found were proposed in 100% of the workshops and each team contributed arguments to support their proposal. As a result, there was consensus not to subordinate the concept of leadership to negative or positive behaviors of the person, but to the person who, regardless of his or her psychological profile, demonstrates capacities to sustainably influence his or her followers through his or her endeavors. Likewise, the irrelevance of labeling leadership styles (affiliative, authoritarian, autocratic, democratic, etc.) was considered because a leader is the confluence of attributes that allow her to lead masses beyond any one style. This thesis could be the answer to: why have we known leaders with broad convening power, but ended up disappointed or disillusioned? The answer could be found in the formative deficit, that is to say, they influenced, but were not integral: they made mistakes that tarnished their genetic attributes as a result of a cognitive deficit. Therefore, every entrepreneurial leader needs a cognitive support that allows him/her to act consciously, rekindle the flame of entrepreneurship and maintain his/her coherent long-term vision. According to González Combita & Carreño Molina (2018, p. 5), “we always seek to have the best leaders who are the ones who enhance the skills of our collaborators.” For this, people rooted in permanent and progressive professional training are needed.
|Table 1: Fundamental Characteristics Of The Entrepreneurial Leader (level 1). Average per Teacher (t)|
The relevant characteristics (Table 2) of the entrepreneurial leader were not dealt with in 100% of the workshops, but prevailed in more than 80%. It was striking that characteristics such as passion, optimism, exemplarity or proactivity did not appear among the fundamental characteristics. However, these characteristics are complementary to some of the fundamental ones: motivation-passion; perseverance-optimism; exemplarity-respect; creativity-proactivity. This second group of characteristics confirmed that in the area of leadership there is a need for progressive training to overcome the general vacuum generated by disinformation or out-of-date information. The best way to overcome this general vacuum is to rely on the academy as a support for the development of professional intellectual skills and personal growth. Transformational change occurs by “developing education, training and skills” (Rick, Orem & Mclaughlin, 2013) of people, through educational programs in the form of experiential workshops that provide the leader with the necessary tools to exercise the entrepreneurial leadership.
|Table 2: Relevant Characteristics Of The Entrepreneurial Leader (level 1). Average per Teacher (t)|
The complementary characteristics (Table 3) of the entrepreneurial leader are those that achieved the lowest score within the ranking. However, it is interesting to note how this group includes the capacities that, in their majority, represent the axiological basis of the entrepreneurial leader. Thus, two situations are interpreted: a). One of the transversal issues for the training of the entrepreneurial leader is the development of values until they are able to demonstrate a real commitment, putting them into practice on a daily basis. b). Every leader should proceed by demonstrating human values such as righteousness, vocation to service, honesty and discipline, among others, to be allowed to position him/herself as an exemplary, integral and influential reference before his/her co-leaders. “Leadership is made, built in each one, through personal excellence” (Rojas et al., 2020). That personal excellence gives coherence to the processes of integral growth that complement the qualities of the entrepreneurial leader.
|Table 3: Complementary Characteristics Of The Entrepreneurial Leader (Level 1). Average Per Teacher (T)|
The development of the entrepreneurial leader is a process, and should begin with a diagnosis that highlights its strengths and weaknesses according to the ranking of the characteristics of the entrepreneurial leader by levels proposed in Table 4. Also, the essential attribute of leadership lies in the capacity for self-leadership, that is, the capacity to grow towards and from the inside, which is based on knowing how to guide oneself through continuous, renewing and developing action. These approaches are synchronized with the approach of De la Garza, Soria & Aguilar (2018), who assert that the importance of self-leadership: “pursues certain goals and tasks, how it adjusts to certain situations, what effort and determination it puts into achieving the goals and how it handles contingencies.”
When pondering the integral characteristics according to a ranking by levels, the following question arises: Do the leaders have these characteristics at 100%? The answer is “no”; therefore, the need for training arises. On the other hand, we are faced again with the question: Are leaders born or made? Garcia Heredia (2018, p. 345) systematizes that “the theory agrees that leaders are born, not made”; however, the results of these workshops evidence the opposite and, therefore, we consider it risky to assume this approach as a definite truth. The leader may be born with the genetic conditions to carry out any entrepreneurial project, but little or nothing will happen if he or she does not develop capacities that complement what is innate. In other words, the key is in qualifying what is genetic by developing those characteristics that he/she does not possess.
|Table 4: Ranking of the Integral Characteristics of the Entrepreneurial Leader by Levels|
|No.||COMPLEMENTARY (Level 3)|
It was noted that the characteristic ICTs Management did not enter the ranking as it did not reach an average score lower than 10. This team of researchers does not find a logical explanation for this fact, but considers that this characteristic is transversal at all levels and essential to carry out competent computerized enterprise projects in current knowledge societies. In accordance with this, Sierra Villamil (2017) explained that our students are quintessential digital natives and, therefore, ICTs are part of their world because students, beyond theory, prefer virtual learning that allows them to deploy the tools Modern digital based on professional, personal and social development.
The identified characteristics of the leader (fundamental, relevant and complementary) are closely linked to each other. However, for training purposes, it is advisable to develop them in experiential workshops by levels: fundamental, relevant and complementary, in order to achieve a better understanding and implementation in the field of entrepreneurship, innovation and development.
Leadership with an entrepreneurial approach goes beyond the traditional and fragmented definitions of leadership styles, because it is built from fundamental, relevant and complementary characteristics until a competent original style is achieved to influence people through an integral multidimensional management that allows specific objectives to be achieved. in the shortest possible time.
Self-leadership is the pyramidal base for the development of the integral characteristics of the entrepreneurial leader. Likewise, leaders may be born with natural conditions to make any entrepreneurial project successful, but if they are not self-critical, reflective, proactive and willing to develop themselves with new knowledge, they could, then, remain away from excellence.
In order to undertake, it is necessary to learn and unlearn. To learn because entrepreneurship, being an alternative of development, which is made concrete from creativity and human overcoming, requires knowledge–at least basic–that allows to use existing knowledge as a support to make decisions. To unlearn because new times demand new ways of understanding entrepreneurship (what was or is good, could be insignificant in front of what is superior and updated). The leader must be a person open to new knowledge that permits understanding the dynamics of entrepreneurship in modern times.
We would like to thank: To Oscar Lorenzo Carrillo Verástegui (University Teacher, UCV), for his valuable support. To the Institute of Research in Science and Technology of the Vice-Rector's Office for Research, UCV-Peru, for their scientific advice and support. To the students who actively participated in the experiential workshops. And, to the peer reviewers for the quality of their comments and suggestions.
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