Handbook of Research in Entrepreneurship Education, Volume 2 Contextual Perspectives

David Douglas (Staffordshire University Business School, Stoke on Trent, UK)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 14 March 2008




Douglas, D. (2008), "Handbook of Research in Entrepreneurship Education, Volume 2 Contextual Perspectives", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 118-121. https://doi.org/10.1108/13552550810863099



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

This is the companion book to Alain Fayolle's edited Handbook, which details the evolving nature of entrepreneurship education. In this volume, Contextual Perspectives, Fayolle focuses on developments in the field, with “an eclectic collection of new approaches to entrepreneurship education” (p. xi). From 35 authors, spanning 11 countries and four continents, a rich array of contributions of a practical and theoretical nature, from various perspectives, are addressed. The editor's stated aim is to assist entrepreneurship educators in developing new programmes and pedagogical approaches. Following a short introductory chapter by Fayolle and Kickul, the book's 16 subsequent chapters are assigned to four thematic contexts: cultural, institutional, national and political. These foci, in conjunction with three levels of research perspectives (paradigms, methods and contents) that form the core of volume one, lead one to deduce a proffered template offering some clarity to evolving complexities of real‐world entrepreneurship practices and subsequently entrepreneurship education. A short over‐view of each of the four contexts follows:

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    Cultural context. Chapter 2, Filion and Dolabela describe the introduction of entrepreneurial pedagogy methodology (EPM) in elementary education in Brazil. They highlight liberating factors such as self‐identity, democracy, cooperation, education and learning that have emanated from the initiative. Chapter 3, moving from South to North America, Maxfield considers the entrepreneurial gender‐gap within and between various countries. In the main, Maxfield contends that women of USA, Canada and UK play noteworthy roles in entrepreneurship. In many other countries, however, she argues that various imbalances exist between men and women whom may or not be entrepreneurially active. Resultant development programmes to motivate and enhance women entrepreneurship are addressed. Chapter 4, includes two case studies of Dutch universities. Brand, Wakke and van der Veen, focus on the teaching of entrepreneurship to non‐business students and assert what are the essential ingredients to teaching and learning of entrepreneurship to such cohorts. They construct an evaluative framework for entrepreneurship programmes. Chapter 5, Canadian French author Bouchard somewhat pioneers the concept of corporate entrepreneurship as distinct to independent entrepreneurship as a subject for teaching. This “experiment” brings forth critical discussions over theory, pedagogy and practice.

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    Institutional context. Chapter 6, French scholars Verstraete and Hlady‐Rispal raise the enduring difficulty of teaching entrepreneurship when the field continues to find a definition elusive. Offering students a programme of “acting” as entrepreneurs and highlighting differences in those with entrepreneurial predispositions to those less so, they enforce a necessity for such diverse roles in economic society. Chapter 7, Australian's Schaper and Casimir address the question of tertiary entrepreneurship education programmes' impact on future business start‐up intentions. Two universities' entrepreneurship courses showed mixed results in encouraging students to start business, reinforcing the point that such programmes do not necessarily increase entrepreneurialism. Chapter 8, again two French scholars Clergeau and Schieb‐Bienfait describe the establishment of a university's entrepreneur education centre. They highlight the detailed operations and pedagogies of such a centre in encouraging and developing entrepreneurship amongst university students. Chapter 9, Belgian group Janssen, Eeckhout and Gailly encourage entrepreneurial “spirit” as a key factor, over‐and‐above business start‐up. Reminiscent of individual‐opportunity nexus (Shane, 2003) Janssen et al. raise the vision of interdisciplinary activity within university programmes as a means of embedding entrepreneurship education.

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    National context. Chapter 10, once more two Belgians De Clercq and Crijns assess the role of education in fostering (or inhibiting) enterprise development in Belgium. Heightened entrepreneurial activity, they claim, is related to quality and focus of the nation's educational programmes, especially those promoting entrepreneurship and the skills and knowledge that develop commercial practices. In Chapter 11, Anderson, MacAulay, Weir and Wuttunee focus on the little researched subject of entrepreneurship by indigenous “original people” of Canada. Entrepreneurial capacity building by the indigenous population is fostered by national initiatives, not least the development of national training and professional certification for economic development officers. Through programmes like this, the “original people” of Canada believe that they can participate in the activities of a global economy, but, and importantly, on their terms. Chapter 12, author Dana sets New Zealand as the backcloth to a case study of specific university graduates who, due to geographic location, have limited “large organisation” career opportunities. Graduates who were entrepreneurially proactive sought cooperation through networking, be they as franchisees or through existing arrangements, and less often as stereotypically portrayed as being desirous to “go it alone”. The study highlights a shared “techno‐culture” preference as a means of networking with other like‐minded entrepreneurs. Chapter 13, Norwegians Kolvereid and Amo focus on a critical evaluation of a long running university graduate entrepreneurship programme. Success is claimed for the syllabus as it has, inter alia, integrated learning objectives situated within clearly stated aims and purposes of the programme.

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    Political context. In Chapter 14, Kailer raises the spectre of Austrian entrepreneurship education as being a “growth industry”, attracting significant public investment. Set against this “supply‐side” activity the author raises the concept of measurement as being important, with a need for practice‐focused evaluation models to assess the impact of ever‐burgeoning number of enterprise programmes. Chapter 15, Finnish authors Hytti and Kuopusjarvi also confront the topic of entrepreneurship education's evaluation, highlighting the disparate purposes evaluation studies can have dependent on who are the recipient, e.g. programme planners, promoters and policy makers. They argue that power between stakeholders exposes different evaluative expectations and they call for increased openness and recognition of different stakeholder expectations when considering entrepreneurship programmes' evaluation systems. Chapter 16, Belgian scholar Surlemont, like many others, raises the issue of “fussiness” of definition as to what is entrepreneurship. Due to this confusion, he asserts that implementation of entrepreneurship programmes meet with difficulty, especially at secondary levels of education. Surlemont argues for clear distinctions to be made between technical and strategic competencies in entrepreneurship education programmes. Through improved clarity it is argued entrepreneurship courses will be perceived and more readily received by education professionals. Chapter 17, Boissin, Chollet and Emin address start‐up intentions of French students. The researchers seek to identify students' beliefs regarding business start‐ups. Identifying constructs such as students' “perceived desirability”, “intensity of social pressure” and “self‐efficacy” lead the team to state that entrepreneurship programmes should be more forceful in promoting entrepreneurship as a career choice.

Little purpose would be served to single out any one contribution for praise or critique. Overall the contributions from scholars from around the world offer considerable insight into a number of entrepreneurship education research contexts. Attention is drawn to programmes' structures and their impacts, with the highlighting of measurement and necessity for evaluation of programmes' worthiness in fostering entrepreneurship. Some works bring to the fore the contribution under‐represented groups can, with bespoke assistance, make to an entrepreneurial economy. Overall, there is a strong message for structured and planned pedagogy when designing and delivering entrepreneurship education programmes.

If one were to critique the book in its entirety it would be that the range and focus of the contributions and their contexts is limited. Though one realises editorial links and that which is available to warrant inclusion may be somewhat restricted. Whilst dominated by contributions from European scholars and recognising works from as far a field as the American and Australia continents, it would have been insightful to see contributions from economies of Asia and Africa. Much interest would be generated from, say, insight into the entrepreneurship education contexts of China and India. Finally, the book may have benefited from a more substantial introductory rationale and review of the contributions. The works by the various authors were assigned into one of four “contexts”, but with little overview of why these contexts were constructed and why a contribution to the book was pigeonholed as it was and some at least would appear to situate readily in more than one context. An overall editorial appraisal of the selected authors' research contributions and their fit within the structure of this book, and their relevant positioning vis‐à‐vis volume one, may have assisted in identifying the book's focal strengths, and provide topics and contexts for future contributions. Whilst commanding a price of around £115.00 for 281 pages of actual text, making it a somewhat expensive purchase for an individual, the book is a commendable source of reference for “entrepreneurship education” researchers and practitioners alike, and would make a worthy addition to a library's collection.


Shane, S. (2003), A General Theory of Entrepreneurship – The Individual‐Opportunity Nexus, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham.

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