Research Article: 2018 Vol: 21 Issue: 4
Ayotunde Adetola Adelaja, Universiti Utara Malaysia
Mohd Sobri Minai, Universiti Utara Malaysia
This study examines the effectiveness of students’ exposure to entrepreneurial education and its effects in enhancing students’ entrepreneurial intention using an innovative approach, the experimental design approach. A study was conducted in Nigeria, where the data were collected two times, from the same respondents. This approach differs from the common approach that uses a one-time cross-sectional study to obtain the perception of such changes. This approach provides more precise information on their intention at the time the data being collected, and the comparison is assumed to be more accurate and reliable. A simple random sampling technique was used in selecting the participants for the pre-test investigation and their answers are kept in a database using specific code to ensure the participant are correctly marked. This allows the same respondents being retained for the post-test investigation. A pairwise sample t-test was used to compare the students' entrepreneurial intention prior and after the exposure to entrepreneurial education. The results indicate insignificant differences in the student’s entrepreneurial intention before and after the exposure to the entrepreneurial education. This implies that the present entrepreneurial education in Nigeria cannot be proven as an effective tool to enhance the student’s entrepreneurial intention. The findings also provide opposite evidence regarding the norms stating that positive entrepreneurial intention changes due to entrepreneurial education exposure.
Entrepreneurial Intention, Entrepreneurial Education Exposure, Nigeria.
The intention to embark on entrepreneurship journey is the result of predictors such as risk-taking abilities, attitude of individuals towards entrepreneurship itself, subjective norm, perceived behavioral control, needs for achievements, perceived desirability, self-confidence, propensity to act, perceived feasibility, locus of control entrepreneurial values and motivations (Ajzen, 1991: 1999: 2001; Do & Dadvari, 2017; Fayolle et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2011; Uslay et al., 2002). According to Boyd and Vozikis (1994) and Krueger et al. (2000), the foundations of embarking on any actions are to have the intention towards such. Relating this to field of entrepreneurship, to witness more entrepreneurial activities due to its acclaimed and potential benefits which is not limited to unemployment reduction, improving GDP and reducing social vices (Olorundare & Kayoe, 2014) several economy stakeholders had device means to enhance the intention of their citizens with emphasis on students who occupied the larger number of the population to tackle economic issues such as unemployment rate, youth joblessness and other social vices through entrepreneurship (Nian et al., 2014).
One of the major channels to propagate entrepreneurship among the most affected population ‘youths’ by these stakeholders is through entrepreneurial education (Greene et al., 2015). According to Davis et al. (2015); Greene et al. (2015) rate at which education institutions across the world offers' entrepreneurship and/or entrepreneurial education either as a subject or as a career path is alarming. Thus, making entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial education in recent times become a “house-hold-name”. At the same time, investigations regarding the contribution of entrepreneurial education towards intention to become entrepreneurs had received noteworthy attention from scholars across the globe (Adelaja & Arshad, 2016; Ching & Kitahara, 2017). This indicates that entrepreneurial education has an impact on the entrepreneurial intention.
Despite the wide acceptance and adoption of entrepreneurial education, it is evidenced that fewer students are willing to become entrepreneurs (Ibrahim et al., 2017). Therefore, changes in student’s entrepreneurial intention because of exposure to entrepreneurial education are subject to criticism. This leads to a rhetorical question “can entrepreneurship be taught?” As argued by (Das, 2015; Drucker, 1985) this question in today’s world is no more relevant. So, concerning this view, if at all this question is of no relevance there supposed to be more entrepreneurs because of high and significant entrepreneurial intention through exposure to entrepreneurial education in virtually all contexts. Yet, investigations on the contributions of entrepreneurial education continue to generate mix evidences.
Whilst the findings, using different sample size, participants and methods come with contradicting outputs, scholars such as Adelaja and Arshad (2016), Souitaris et al. (2007), Nian et al. (2014) took up the task of investigating the contribution of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention. These authors argue entrepreneurial education is among the fundamental factors that improves students’ entrepreneurial intention. Similarly, scholars such as Karlsson and Moberg (2013); Sánchez (2013); DeTienne and Chandler (2004) argue on similar stances on changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education by employing quasi-experimental method. On a contrary, studies of scholars such as Roxas (2014), Varamäki et al. (2015) had used the similar experimental approach to investigate the change in students’ entrepreneurial intention. These scholars argue no changes to negative changes in students’ intention towards entrepreneurship after exposure to entrepreneurial education.
Owing to these mix evidences, the investigation by Welsh et al. (2016) mandates exposure to entrepreneurial education for all students as it improves students’ abilities to identify market opportunities, be competitive and sustain the competitiveness, students’ must be versatile with entrepreneurial skills (Martins & Kellermanns, 2004; Rugarcia et al., 2000). However, to achieve the optimal result, Welsh et al. (2016) argues students must be exposed to the basic entrepreneurial concept to be able to gain insight on functional business area to fashion out the needed entrepreneurial attitudes, motives as well as entrepreneurial intention in students. With this, it can be argued that entrepreneurial education is needed to ensure positive change towards entrepreneurial intention (Ching & Kitahara, 2017).
Therefore, to advance in devising the needed entrepreneurial education that improves students’ entrepreneurial intention, a proper method of evaluating entrepreneurial education programs must be put in place (Welsh et al., 2016). Thus, considering numerous previous studies pertaining to entrepreneurial education evaluation and the methods adopted, the robustness of those studies is widely open to critics (Fayolle et al., 2014; Lorz et al., 2013). As observed, most of the well-recognized entrepreneurship literatures investigating the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education adopted survey methods to conclude their findings (Adelaja & Arshad, 2016; Gerba, 2012; Maina, 2011). Whereas, since entrepreneurial education is regarded as a psychological tool devise to enhance psychological behavior, these studies despite their logical contributions violates the simple assumptions of psychologists in evaluating the effects of treatments on change in psychological outcome where they argued; to conclude averagely the change in human psychological behavior more than one-time observation is required (Lorz et al., 2013).
Meanwhile, some few studies tried to adhere to the psychologists’ proposition by conducting quasi-experimental study, nevertheless, their approach to the investigations might as well be subjected to critics simply because they examine changes in entrepreneurial intention using different sample types, that is, some students being exposed to entrepreneurial education while others were not. The result obtained might be biased because of certain uncontrollable factors such as a pedagogical process (Becker, 2005; Hyman, 1982). The examples of such studies are not limited to that of Gerba (2012), Souitaris et al. (2007) and Kalyoncuo?lu et al. (2017) where changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention were examined using control and treatment group.
Concerning this, the objective of this study is to conduct a validated measure of change in students’ entrepreneurial intention by measuring their prior entrepreneurial intention before and after being exposed to the entrepreneurial education class using a pairwise quasi-experimental approach to examine the same students rather than having a control and treatment group. This type of study is commonly used by medical practitioners in evaluating the effect of medication in treating their patients.
Concerning this adopted method, this study attempts to answer the proposed questions:
i. Is there any significant difference in students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education class?
ii. Is there any significant relationship regarding the changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education class?
Thus, the intended objectives of this study are:
i. To determine the relationship that exists between students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education class.
ii. To determine the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention.
Entrepreneurship, according to the notion proposed by scholars and practitioners is seen as a vital tool that can help in reducing high rate of unemployment raving the economy (Lichtenstein & Lyons, 2010). This is possible through job creation as a result of creativity and innovativeness of individuals or group to provide which are needed, but not necessarily requested in the market but useful. For example, there are land telephones before the invention of smartphones, which combines the functions of computers and normal telephone services. Entrepreneurship is seen as a means to engage not only educated youths, but also those who have no access to education to innovate and create ideas towards gaining economic freedom (Pinelli, 2015). According to Pinelli (2015), inculcating entrepreneurial mindset to the heart of the youths is the priority at the heart of most political leaders simply because entrepreneurship is seen as a channel to reduce high unemployment among youths.
Going by the description of earlier scholars, intention towards entrepreneurship is the foundation of consciousness or pillar to be engaged in entrepreneurial activities (Krueger et al., 2000). Intention according to psychologists is considered as an abstract image, processed subjectively by individuals leading to predisposition and decision either to do or not to partake in an action.
Therefore, to witness the commercialization of entrepreneurship in the society, it is paramount for stakeholders, academia and government agencies to increase the intention of their citizens’ entrepreneurship. In this view, there have been oceans of studies trying to unearth the factors that improve entrepreneurial intention, especially among student, factors such as, entrepreneurial education, by perceived desirability, propensity to act, motivation, experience, university environment and access to capital.
With emphasis on how entrepreneurial education changes students’ entrepreneurial intention, the findings can be argued to be mixed evidences (Fayolle et al., 2014). For example, Gerba (2012) examining the change in entrepreneurial intention between engineering and non-engineering students in Ethiopia argues students who are exposed to entrepreneurial education have better entrepreneurial intention compared to the who have no such exposure. Similarly, Sun et al. (2017) through an insight on how the entrepreneurial intention of Chinese students can be improved argues entrepreneurial education does not only influence students’ entrepreneurial intention but their attitudes towards it.
Adopting a comparative study, Adelaja and Arshad (2016) concludes entrepreneurial education to be among the significant factors contributing to students’ entrepreneurial intention at private and public universities. On the account of Barral et al. (2018), no difference in students’ entrepreneurial intention was found after comparing private and public universities.
Students’ Exposure to Entrepreneurial Education
One of the major debates in the field of entrepreneurship centers upon change in students’ entrepreneurial intention as a result of students’ exposure to entrepreneurial education. Several authors argue students’ exposure to entrepreneurial education induce positive changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention (Adelaja and Arshad, 2016; Martins & Kellermanns, 2004; Ching & Kitahara, 2017; Kalyoncuo?lu et al., 2017; Rauch & Hulsink, 2015; Souitaris et al., 2007).
The study of Souitaris et al. (2007) argues that entrepreneurial programs increase the students’ attitudes and overall entrepreneurial intention among them. Similarly, the study of Barba-Sánchez and Atienza-Sahuquillo (2018) argues exposing engineering students to entrepreneurial education has a positive influence of their intention towards entrepreneurship. Also, Hattab (2014) argues the positive influence of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention.
Meanwhile, Maina (2011) argues entrepreneurial education has no influence on students’ entrepreneurial intention. The author further argues that those students with higher intention after entrepreneurial education class are those with prior entrepreneurship knowledge. Similarly, Olomi and Sinyamule (2009) argue that there is no concrete evidence linking entrepreneurial education to intention towards entrepreneurship. Whereas, an investigation by Gürol and Atsan (2006) argues that less percentage (18%) of samples examined is willing to become entrepreneurs after exposure to entrepreneurial education.
Further investigation by Rudhumbu et al. (2016) argues a positive influence of entrepreneurial education, however, it can be seen from the authors’ conclusion that despite the entrepreneurial education, the students have issues in identifying business opportunities, therefore, since the vital characteristics of entrepreneurship “opportunity recognition” is missing, it can therefore be argued that entrepreneurial education has a lesser effect on the investigated samples entrepreneurial intention towards entrepreneurship.
However, the study of Researchers can never take sides but argues that the improvement in entrepreneurial intention as a result of entrepreneurial education is greatly influenced by the context. Thus, the imminent question is, should students be exposed to entrepreneurial education? This question was beautifully answered by the study of Welsh et al. (2016) arguing that students in recent times, irrespective of students’ career path, they must have entrepreneurial education exposure. Nevertheless, Welsh et al. (2016) cautioned that the exposure must not be too deep, but be deep enough to gain insight on functional business area to fashion out the needed entrepreneurial attitudes, motives as well as entrepreneurial intention in students.
Considering these studies, one of the major issues identified concern the methodology adopted in conducting their studies. It was noticed that most studies adopt survey methods to conclude the psychological effects/influence of entrepreneurial education, therefore, contradicting the notion of psychologists. Evidence shows that some scholars examine the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention using control and treatment pre-and post-test experiment. Nevertheless, these studies can be argued to be statistically criticized because of irregular sample size of the treatment and control group (Kalyoncuo?lu et al., 2017). Thus, the reliability and the validities of major studies in this context are questionable (Lorz et al., 2013). To counter these methodological issues, Lorz et al. (2013) suggests adoption of rigorous research methods.
Several studies examining changes in entrepreneurial intention as a result of entrepreneurial education fall under this section. Using a one-time methodology either direct survey or comparison study several logical deductions on change in students’ entrepreneurial intention after exposure to entrepreneurial education were made. Despite this one-time research method violates assumptions of psychologists stated above.
Using survey method, studies not limited to (Hattab, 2014; Kalyoncuo?lu et al., 2017; Rauch & Hulsink, 2015; Souitaris et al., 2007) with logical conclusion argues the positive effect of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention. At the same time, studies (Barral et al., 2018; Lorz et al., 2013; Maina, 2011) contested otherwise, arguing that students who shows increased entrepreneurial intention is not as the result of influence of entrepreneurial education received in class but as a result of their prior experience in entrepreneurship.
Experimental Design Approach
It is also noted that some few scholars deviate from adopting the common survey research methods to examine the changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention. Instead, they employ quasi-experimental design consisting of pre-test and post-test treatment and control groups. Examples of such studies include Kalyoncuo?lu et al. (2017); Rauch and Hulsink (2015) who attempt to investigate changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention by embarking on experimental methods. For example, using the pre-test and post-test control and treatment group, Kalyoncuo?lu et al. (2017) remark students who are exposed to entrepreneurial education have shown a significant improvement on intention to become entrepreneurs while there is no change in control groups’ entrepreneurial intention. In a similar study Rauch and Hulsink (2015) conduct a quasi-experimental study using control and treatment group to assert the importance of entrepreneurial education in enhancing students’ entrepreneurial intention. In addition, Volery et al. (2013) argues exposing students to entrepreneurial education increases their entrepreneurial beliefs, and other personality traits such as autonomy and risk-taking ability.
Whereas, the study of scholars such as Oosterbeek et al. (2008) argued entrepreneurial education have a negative effect on students’ entrepreneurial intention. Similarly, the investigation by Von Graevenitz et al. (2010) concludes that after students took entrepreneurial education, their intention to become entrepreneur decreases.
Evidence from the pieces of literature reviewed in this section, despite the logical contribution of these methods (one-time survey and control and treatment quasi-experimental design) there exist mix evidences. Concerning the survey method, the mix evidences might arise because of the survey timing that is, when different researchers conduct their investigations. While for the experimental approach, there might be uncontrollable bias concerning the treatment and control group. To overcome these pitfalls, this study adopts single sample (Zerman et al., 2018) in the sense that the same set of students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after entrepreneurial education exposure.
Methodology of the Study
Measures: Basically, this study adopt items from the study of (Autio et al., 2001; Krueger et al., 2000; Lüthje and Franke, 2003; Liñán and Chen, 2009) the items from these scholars had been widely used in entrepreneurial intention measurements. These studies prove that the items adopted in this research have strong validity and strong internal validity thus, the items used were adapted from these studies. Also, in developing the items used in this study, a 5-point Likert scale was adopted because of the advantages 5-point Likert scale has over other types of scales (Bertram, 2007; Johns, 2010).
Operationalization: despite adapting measuring instrument from numerous studies, the students’ entrepreneurial intention in this study is operationalized with respect to entrepreneurship awareness and new venture/firm creation.
Method of data collection: Contrary to earlier studies where the survey method of data collection is commonly used, this study adheres to the notion of psychologists (Cherry, 2018; Zhu et al., 1991; Miller, 1987) in examining the influence of treatments entrepreneurial education on human psychological behavioral changes “changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention,” more than a one-time investigation is needed. Cherry (2018) suggests more than one-time investigation helps the researcher to effectively examine the changes over time because of intervention of treatments. As such this study follows a quasi-experimental approach using a single set of participants. That is, the data used was collected before and after the same sets of students were exposed to entrepreneurial education in the year 2017.
Using a simple random sample, 100 questionnaires were distributed to students who registered for entrepreneurial education class in the year 2017. These randomly selected participants were retained for the sake of post-test. 10 students willingly opt out of the research while 4 questionnaires were disqualified at the pre-test stage. While others failed to show up during the post-test investigation. Thus, a total of 82 respondents were available for the post-test investigation.
The researchers attempt to reduce common method variance which might have an influence on the result of this study by informing the students that the questionnaire distributed is mainly for research purposes and it does not count towards their grade points. More so, the researchers make sure that the subjects investigated are fully aware of the purpose of the research being conducted.
Data analysis: The data were analyzed with the help of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 23 to conduct the needed analysis. The analyses conducted include normality test, reliability test and pairwise sample T-test, which is used in comparing the differences in the students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after the students were exposed to entrepreneurial education class in the year 2017. The SPSS software is selected in this research because of its strong and versatile data process capacity (The University of Sheffield, 2012).
Missing data and missing value analysis: The dataset was observed to have no missing values which might nullify the respondents’ response. Whereas for the missing data because of opting out of respondents to partake in the post-test survey, the assigned value of the pre-test was traced and their pre-test response were deleted.
Normality: The assumptions for data normality were adhered to. In this case, data normality was observed. For the pre-test EI, the data are assumed to be normally distributed having a skewness value of (-0.56) less than -1 and a kurtosis of (-0.03). For the post-test, outliers were detected and eliminated. Since this study is a dependent pre-post-test, the respondents who were deleted at the post-test level were as well deleted in the pretest level. Thus, the new normality results for the pre-and post-test were presented in the Table 1 below:
Item reliability: The reliability of the instruments used was examined using Cronbach alpha. For the pre-test, the items have a reliability score of 0.753 while the post-test reliability score was presented to be at 0.683. According to Nunnally and Bernstein (1994) and Zikmund et al. (2013) rule of thumb for reliability, the items having the reliability score of 0.6 and above are considered to satisfy reliability assumption, thus, the items are deemed reliable.
Content validity: Content validity refers to how meaningful the content of the items used in conducting a research is and how related these items are measuring the intent of the research (Drost, 2011). As such, the items used in this study are designed to be in line with the construct’s definition that corresponds to the findings from previous literatures. In addition, the items were reviewed by entrepreneurship experts and professors in entrepreneurship. The expert suggested reviews were implemented before the items were distributed. With this, it is argued that the items used in this study is content validated.
Construct validity: Construct validity is concerned with the extent to which the items used in a scale measures the intended construct. Conferring to the procedures of Flynn et al. (1994) used in the study of Bryman and Cramer (2005) and Entrialgo et al. (2000), this study fulfills the assumptions of construct validity. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy was found to be at 0.740 and at 0.816 with a significant Bartlett test of sphericity for the pre-test and post-test measures. A total variance of 58.554% and 66.132% was explained by the pre-test and post-test measures.
Using Pairwise to examine the difference in students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after being officially exposed to entrepreneurial education in the year 2017 (Tables 2-4).
Paired Samples Statistics
|Mean||N||Std. Deviation||Std. Error Mean|
Pair Sample Correlations
|Pair 1||EI_Pre & EI_Post||82||-0.117||0.296|
Paired Samples Test
|Mean||Std. Deviation||Std. Error Mean||95% Confidence Interval of the Difference||t||df||Sig. (2-tailed)|
|Pair 1||EI_Pre & EI_Post||-0.02||0.96||0.11||-0.23||0.2||-0.14||81||0.89|
Considering the paired correlation table, the result presents a negative insignificant relationship between students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after being exposed to entrepreneurial education. Furthermore, the paired analysis result presents that there is no significant difference in students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after the students were being exposed to entrepreneurial education class having EI Pre-test (M=3.77, SD=0.65) and post-test (M=3.79, SD=0.63) conditions t(81)=-0.14, p=0.89. Therefore, the result obtained in this study suggests entrepreneurial education offered at this university has no positive significant effect on students’ entrepreneurial intention to become entrepreneurs. Therefore, this study argues a negative insignificant effect of entrepreneurial education on the students’ entrepreneurial intention.
Moreover, the effect size was as well calculated because is the most fundamental parameter that helps us understand the outcome of empirical study (Lakens, 2013). Using the difference in the mean of students’ entrepreneurial intention for the pre-and post-test divided by the pre-test standard deviation as proposed by Cohen (1988) using the below formula:
Therefore, the effect size of 0.03 falls below 0.2 effect sizes which Cohen (1988) proposes to be a small effect. Thus, this study using the effect size calculated concludes that the exposure to entrepreneurial education to influence change in students’ entrepreneurial intention has a weak magnitude effect in this study.
i. To determine the relationship that exists between students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education class.
ii. To determine the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention.
Recalling the objective of this study, which is to examine the relationship and the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention. The finding in this study argues a negative insignificant difference in students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education in the year 2017. This implies that the entrepreneurial education offered at the university where the study was conducted have no positive contribution on the students’ entrepreneurial intention. The result of this study is synonymous with that of Maina (2011), Oosterbeek et al. (2008) and Von Graevenitz et al. (2010) where the scholars argue no changes in students’ entrepreneurial intention after exposure to entrepreneurial education class.
Furthermore, considering the approach used in this study and the effect size obtained to conclude on changes in the students’ entrepreneurial intention before and after exposure to entrepreneurial education. This study empirically argues that there is a weak effect of entrepreneurial education on intention to become entrepreneur among the students experimented. The weak effect of entrepreneurial education observed in this study confirms the study of Roxas (2014); Varamäki et al. (2015) where similar stance was argued.
On the other hand, the findings in this research do not agree with the study of (Adelaja & Arshad, 2016; Nian et al., 2014; Barral et al., 2018) where positive contribution of entrepreneurial education was argued. This study presents a negative insignificant change in students’ entrepreneurial intention after exposure to entrepreneurial education. The factors that might perhaps contribute to these findings is not limited to the relevance of entrepreneurial education curriculum employed by the university, the contents of entrepreneurial curriculum taught, the attitude of students on the perceptions of the relevance of entrepreneurial education as well as the pedagogical approaches employed by the lecturers (Odia & Odia, 2013). Similarly, we might perhaps argue that the entrepreneurial education curriculum used in teaching the students does not capture the unfolding events in the context, therefore, the students were unable to relate what was being taught to the entrepreneurship reality in their context.
The implication of this study was to verify the effectiveness of current entrepreneurial education in enhancing students’ entrepreneurial intention at the selected university (Obafemi Awolowo University “OAU”) located in southwestern Nigeria. The study reveals that the students’ entrepreneurial intention after exposure to entrepreneurial education shifted towards the left although with no significant effects. Thus, to improve the students’ entrepreneurial intention towards the right with significant effects, the following were suggested:
a. Revisit and upgrading the entrepreneurial education curriculum used in teaching the students. The revisitation into the entrepreneurial education curriculum contents will align the contents of entrepreneurial education offered by the institution so as to capture the needed cognitive skills in the society.
b. To improve the effects of entrepreneurial education on students’ entrepreneurial intention, we recommend the university management to improvise the entrepreneurial education curriculum to a less formal education curriculum that can enhance students’ creativity and innovativeness.
Despite the robust methodology employed to examine the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education, this study is restricted with a minimum sample size. Moreover, this study failed to capture or at least control variables such as students’ attitude towards entrepreneurial education itself which might influence the overall result. With this, we urge future scholars to include this so as to gain more insight on the effectiveness of entrepreneurial education
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