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Teaming up in entrepreneurship education: does the team formation mode matter?

Jan P. Warhuus (Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, St. Mary's College of California, Moraga, California, USA)
Franziska Günzel-Jensen (Department of Management, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Sarah Robinson (Center for Educational Development, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)
Helle Neergaard (Department of Management, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 26 August 2021

Issue publication date: 2 November 2021




This paper investigates the importance of team formation in entrepreneurship education, and the authors ask: how do different team formation strategies influence teamwork in higher education experiential learning-based entrepreneurship courses?


Employing a multiple case study design, the authors examine 38 student teams from three different entrepreneurship courses with different team formation paths to uncover potential links between team formation and learning outcomes.


The authors find that team formation mode matters. Randomly assigned teams, while diverse, struggle with handling uncertainty and feedback from potential stakeholders. In contrast, student self-selected teams are less diverse but more robust in handling this pressure. Results suggest that in randomly assigned teams, the entrepreneurial project becomes the team's sole reference point for well-being. Seeking to protect the project, the team's ability to deal with uncertainty and external feedback is limited, stifling development. In student self-select teams, team well-being becomes a discrete reference point. This enables these teams to respond effectively to external project feedback while nurturing team well-being independently.


Education theories' implications about the benefit of team diversity may not apply to experiential learning-based entrepreneurship education's typical level of ambiguity and uncertainty. Therefore, educators may have to reconsider the unique dynamics of team formation strategies to ensure strong teamwork and teamwork outcomes.



Warhuus, J.P., Günzel-Jensen, F., Robinson, S. and Neergaard, H. (2021), "Teaming up in entrepreneurship education: does the team formation mode matter?", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 27 No. 8, pp. 1913-1935.



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