Enterprising spirit rejuvenated: entrepreneurship education in shaping company employees' career commitment and turnover intentions

Yu-Yu Chang (National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)
Wei-Shiun Chang (National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)
Ahmad Fadhil (National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan)

New England Journal of Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 2574-8904

Article publication date: 14 June 2024

156

Abstract

Purpose

Entrepreneurship education is widely regarded as a fundamental means of fostering individuals' entrepreneurial intentions. In this paper, we delve into a distinctive empirical context: the integration of entrepreneurship education within Indonesia’s nationwide higher education system since 2010. Our goal is to investigate how prior participation in mandatory entrepreneurship training by company employees influences their inclination to leave their current employment and initiate a new business.

Design/methodology/approach

We employed structural equation modeling to analyze empirical data (n = 337) collected from full-time Indonesian employees in established companies.

Findings

Our findings indicate that previous engagement in entrepreneurship education predicts employees' entrepreneurial intentions, leading to reduced commitment to their current careers and an increased likelihood of having intentions to pursue new ventures. By comparing two groups of participants, our results suggest that government-mandated entrepreneurship education in Indonesia has a more substantial impact on employees' entrepreneurial intentions and turnover intentions.

Originality/value

This study, based on a unique sample from Indonesia, explores the entrepreneurial entry of organizational employees and the long-term effects of entrepreneurship education.

Keywords

Citation

Chang, Y.-Y., Chang, W.-S. and Fadhil, A. (2024), "Enterprising spirit rejuvenated: entrepreneurship education in shaping company employees' career commitment and turnover intentions", New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/NEJE-02-2024-0009

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Yu-Yu Chang, Wei-Shiun Chang and Ahmad Fadhil

License

Published in New England Journal of Entrepreneurship. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


1. Introduction

The influence of entrepreneurial education on individuals' sustained interest in initiating new ventures has been a topic of considerable intrigue within the entrepreneurship research. Despite extensive inquiry, convincing empirical evidence elucidating this relationship remains elusive. Over the past two decades, entrepreneurial education has gained momentum across global universities, aiming to nurture students' entrepreneurial mindset and business acumen (Kuratko and Morris, 2018). Notably, Indonesia has emerged as a prominent example of this trend through its national policy initiative aimed at ingraining an entrepreneurial spirit within the educational framework. This initiative mandates entrepreneurship training for all students. Since the reform’s implementation in 2010, the Indonesian government has demonstrated its commitment to fostering entrepreneurship among students by organizing an annual national entrepreneurship contest, providing robust institutional support and incorporating graduate entrepreneurship rates as a metric for university performance evaluation. The distinctive context of higher education in Indonesia presents a valuable opportunity to explore the enduring impact of entrepreneurial education on individuals’ motivation to initiate new ventures.

From the lens of social cognitive career theory (van Hooft et al., 2021), academia has delineated entrepreneurship and employment as the divergent career pathways for graduates, with individuals gravitating toward the path that aligns with their aspirations and perceived professional efficacy. Thus, entrepreneurial education has become a key influencer of the desire to embark on new ventures (Chang et al., 2021). Notably, initiating a startup often demands considerable social and financial resources, indicating that university graduates might not immediately venture into entrepreneurship upon completing their studies (Chang et al., 2022; Şahin et al., 2019). The impact of entrepreneurial education on career intentions has captured the interest of scholars across various disciplines, including higher education, career development and human resources (van Hooft et al., 2021).

Research indicates that entrepreneurial education not only boosts entrepreneurial ambitions but also equips students with employment-related competencies (Roslan et al., 2022; Ahmetoglu et al., 2021). It expands market understanding and cultivates innovative business concepts (Tomy and Pardede, 2020), while simultaneously preparing students for the workforce by enhancing their problem-solving abilities and initiative. This multifaceted effect of entrepreneurial education on career decisions can either solidify job tenure or inspire the creation of new enterprises. Despite its critical role in shaping career trajectories and professional capabilities, the lasting impact of entrepreneurial education on career preferences and job transitions remains underexplored.

According to social cognitive career theory (Zhu et al., 2021), an employee’s commitment to their career significantly influences their intention to exit an organization (Lin, 2020). Employees might consider leaving if they perceive a lack of advancement opportunities within their current role or are poised to actualize their entrepreneurial ambitions (Ye et al., 2021). While considerable research has focused on the nexus between entrepreneurship education, entrepreneurial intent and behavior, less attention has been paid to how such education impacts the career decisions of individuals in established firms. The goal of this study is to shed new lights on the long-term relationship between entrepreneurial education and individuals’ entrepreneurial aspirations, commitment to the current careers and their intentions to leave the current jobs to start their own businesses. Essentially, this paper offers a comparative analysis of the career paths of employees who have participated in mandatory entrepreneurship education versus those who have not, shedding light on how such education can fundamentally alter job transition dynamics.

2. Theory and hypotheses

2.1 Social cognitive career theory

As a seminal view in mapping an individual’s professional development trajectory, the social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Lent et al., 1994) has played a pivotal role in explaining the intention toward entrepreneurship. In the entrepreneurship research, SCCT provides an intentionality-based framework that explains individuals' proclivity for an entrepreneurial career by focusing on their self-efficacy of startup activities (Liñán et al., 2011b), outcome expectations about new venture creation and perceived supportiveness of the institutional environment (Cardon and Kirk, 2015). SCCT posits that educational experiences are pivotal in fostering individuals' professional intent by molding their career-related self-efficacy (Das et al., 2024). Given the phenomenon of high turnover rates for companies worldwide, SCCT has been applied to explore the antecedents of employees' intentions to leave their current jobs. We draw upon the SCCT to investigate the structural relationship between entrepreneurial education, entrepreneurial intentions and career commitment in influencing their long-term entrepreneurship that triggers their intention to leave the company to start a new venture (Lv et al., 2021).

2.2 Entrepreneurship education and entrepreneurial intentions

The intricate and challenging startup procedures, combined with the inherent risks of establishing new business ventures, make the lack of entrepreneurial experience a major obstacle for individuals aiming to turn their business ideas into functioning businesses (Lamb et al., 2022; Schulze and Dada, 2024). Entrepreneurship education has evolved to be a distinctive pedagogy that focuses on not only the establishment of new companies but also the theory and practice behind the behaviors of stakeholders in the startup ecosystem, such as entrepreneurs, investors, governments and the market. Research suggests that entrepreneurship education is the driver of students' entrepreneurial intention by boosting their positive attitudes toward an entrepreneurial career, adjusting the mindset for coping with the uncertainty of venturing activities and developing the cognitive ability to identify/capitalize on the unmet market demand (Fayolle et al., 2006). In addition, by receiving entrepreneurial education, students will have built up a better understanding of the access to resources that they need to kick off the early stages of startup activities, such as governmental schemes for small businesses and exposure to potential investors, etc. Therefore, entrepreneurship education has been considered a platform where students accumulate their human, social and financial capital as the basis of their subsequent startup initiatives (Şahin et al., 2019). Taken together, through strengthening students' entrepreneurial self-efficacy and ability to capture market opportunities, entrepreneurship education will broaden the vision of business development and cultivate the proactiveness in starting a new business. With the logic mentioned above, we propose the following:

H1.

Entrepreneurship education is positively associated with entrepreneurial intention.

2.3 Entrepreneurship education and career commitment

Knowledge is a vital cognitive resource that determines an individual’s career preference, decision-making and behavior. Career commitment is an employee’s dedication to their current job and the professional career they have engaged in (Zhu et al., 2021). Employees' career commitment accrues as they continuously invest their personal resources (e.g. time, knowledge, opportunity and loyalty) in their current role within a professional path (Lin, 2020). A considerable body of evidence indicates that employees' dedication to their careers is an essential factor in the success of any organization, as a highly committed workforce is likely to display greater work motivation, exhibit more organizational citizenship behavior and have less intention to leave (Spurk et al., 2019). When employees are committed to their careers, they are more likely to act for the common good of the organization, leading to better performance and productivity (Zhu et al., 2021). Employees' career commitment helps a company save the various costs resulting from hiring and training as well as staff turnover. Furthermore, when employees stay on the same career trajectory for the long term, it is more likely for them to develop deep skillsets that can help the business stay efficient and well-coordinated in an ever-changing market (Son and Kim, 2021). By maintaining employees' career commitment and the calling their professional occupation, companies can sharpen organizational competitiveness by preserving skilled talent and enriching knowledge capital.

Although entrepreneurship education aims to develop students' enterprising spirit and the ability to start/operate a new business, most participants may not devote themselves to new venture creation but pursue an employment-based career (Neergaard et al., 2021). Nevertheless, entrepreneurship education has been found to benefit the participants' professionalism in various ways, such as gaining the cognitive skills for problem identification, promoting creative ideation and developing competence in risk evaluation (Villena-Martínez et al., 2024). According to the recent findings of Alsos et al. (2022), entrepreneurship education is a catalyst for students' entrepreneurial competencies, which not only arouse the participants' career interest in new business formation but also bolster their subsequent career development as an intrapreneur and innovator in established organizations. Employees who have had startup experience or received entrepreneurship education are more likely to identify innovative ideas, take calculated risks in implementing the ideas and achieve goals through teamwork and effective communication (Ahmetoglu et al., 2017). Therefore, not only does entrepreneurship education develop individuals' human capital for new venture initiatives but also it elevates the professional skills that allow them to thrive in and be committed to an employment-based professional career. With this rationale, we propose:

H2.

Entrepreneurship education is positively associated with career commitment.

2.4 Entrepreneurship education and turnover intention

While the entrepreneurial aspirations inspired by entrepreneurial education do not typically result in the immediate launch of a new business, the long-term effects of engaging with entrepreneurial processes can be profound. This can manifest as shifts in career attitudes, an increased propensity for risk-taking and enhanced mental resilience (Larsen and Neergaard, 2024; Lv et al., 2021). From the perspective of self-concept theory (Mai and Dickel, 2021), employees who receive entrepreneurial education may be more likely to quit their jobs because they have developed a sense of self-reliant identity that is more closely aligned with being an entrepreneur than with being an employee. The pro-entrepreneurship self-identity creates dissonance between a stable, structurally supervised employment job and a venturing career where they enjoy more autonomy in building up their own business by grasping market opportunities (Ahmetoglu et al., 2021). Entrepreneurial education equips students with the knowledge and business skills needed for launching a startup project, enhancing an individual’s entrepreneurial self-efficacy and the motivation to pursue an entrepreneurial career path.

Entrepreneurial education plants a seed of entrepreneurship in students' minds and self-identity, and it begins to sprout when they are ready for an enterprising career through years of accumulation of personal resources, including work experience, financial capital and social capital (Ahmetoglu et al., 2021). Building on this rationale, employees with entrepreneurial education are more likely to quit their job for starting up a new business. Hence,

H3.

Entrepreneurship education is positively associated with turnover intention.

2.5 Entrepreneurial intention on career commitment and turnover intention

Entrepreneurship is a career path profoundly impacted by the extent to which individuals possess and harness the knowledge and resources for new venture creation (Das et al., 2024). Employees with strong entrepreneurial intentions may exhibit low engagement with their current role but actively seek market opportunities and supporting infrastructure that enables them to embark upon an entrepreneurial journey (Zhu et al., 2021). Additionally, employees interested in becoming entrepreneurs may invest more time researching potential businesses and networking with potential partners or investors, further decreasing their loyalty and dedication toward their positions in the current firm (Ye et al., 2021). Prior research shows that participation in entrepreneurship courses or training programs equips students with entrepreneurial competence and increases their motivation to become entrepreneurs; the impact may last for a decade (Lv et al., 2021). Employees with strong aspirations for venturing endeavors tend to stay committed to an entrepreneurial career rather than their current employment position, thereby leading to a greater likelihood of voluntary turnover for starting a new business (Cardon and Kirk, 2015; Lin, 2020). Accordingly, we propose:

H4.

Entrepreneurial intention is negatively associated with career commitment.

H5.

Entrepreneurial intention is positively associated with turnover intention.

2.6 Mediating effect of entrepreneurial intention and career commitment on turnover intention

Research has revealed that the alignment between personal growth, self-identity and expected job development is essential for fostering meaningful career commitment (Son and Kim, 2021). As a result, employees who are highly committed to their career tend to be more satisfied with their job and organization, feel more loyal toward their employer and demonstrate better organizational citizenship behaviors – ultimately reducing turnover intentions.

As discussed above, entrepreneurship education experience can provoke individuals' entrepreneurial intentions. In line with Fayolle and Gailly (2015), learning entrepreneurship sharpens students' ability to identify opportunities, develop ideas into viable products or services, craft a feasible business model, secure financing and learn from setbacks. Moreover, entrepreneurial education encourages students to gain hands-on experience and self-efficacy in running a new firm (Gera et al., 2024; Şahin et al., 2019). As their professional career unfolds, students with work experience become more aware of the risks associated with entrepreneurship and are better equipped to assess and handle them (Lin, 2020). The existing literature implies that employees with a keen interest in starting their own business may leave the established organization and do so on their own (Murnieks et al., 2020; Ye et al., 2021). Taken together, the effects of entrepreneurship experience obtained from startup training courses or programs may last for a long time and exert impacts on individuals' job-switching decisions by influencing their career commitment and arousing the intentions to leave their current job for an enterprising career. Therefore, we propose:

H6.

Entrepreneurship education positively affects employees' turnover intention through the dual-mediating effects of entrepreneurial intention and career commitment.

3. Methodology

3.1 Research framework

The conceptual framework of this study is shown in Figure 1. By focusing on employees in established companies, this study aims to disentangle the longitudinal effect of entrepreneurship education on individuals' long-term entrepreneurship and intention to leave their current job for pursuing venturing activities. The study’s empirical context is the workforce of Indonesia, which provides a unique institutional setting for testing our hypotheses. Specifically, given that in 2010 the Indonesian government launched a nationwide policy that makes entrepreneurship education a compulsory curriculum of most higher education institutes, the year 2014 (e.g. four years after the policy enactment) shall be the cut-off point between the batch of students who received systematic entrepreneurship training and those who did not.

3.2 Sample and procedure

Since the regulation of nationwide entrepreneurship education in Indonesia was activated in 2014 (issued in 2010), we compared the effect of compulsory entrepreneurial education with two cohorts who graduated before and after 2014. We collected our data through an online survey platform (i.e. Google Form) following several steps as illustrated in Figure 2. The targeted subjects were screened by the following criteria: We first screened whether the participant was an Indonesian, graduated from Indonesian higher education (for a bachelor degree), and is currently full-time working for a company. In the second step, we assigned participants different survey versions based on whether they graduated years before and after 2014. For the cohort of before-2014 graduates, they were older (30 years old or older) and without the compulsory entrepreneurial education. The questionnaire they answered involved two sets of questions regarding their perceptions and thoughts at the current time (noted as oldc) and at 10 years before (noted as old-10), respectively. For the cohort of graduates after 2014, they are younger and took compulsory entrepreneurial education. The questionnaire they answered involved two sets of questions regarding their perceptions and thoughts at the current time (noted as youngc) and at 10 years after (noted as young+10), respectively, see Table 1. The data does not allow us to make a clean comparison between the two cohorts directly; however, we attempted to reduce some noises, i.e. social status bias, wealth effect, age effect, etc. by cognitively placing participants in different temporal presences. Therefore, we compare oldc to young+10 for the older employee’s attitude and old-10 to youngc for the younger employee’ attitude with more parallel conditions between the two cohorts. We reached out to the targeted sampling subjects by sending out invitations to participate in the survey via LinkedIn, the leading social networking and professional platform. Previous studies on entrepreneurial behaviors have utilized LinkedIn to connect with entrepreneurs and professionals for gathering empirical data (Graziano et al., 2023; Piazza et al., 2023). The questionnaire was designed in English, translated into Indonesian by a professional translator and used a back-translation approach to ensure that the item meanings remained intact. After removing the invalid and incomplete responses, a total of 337 participants were included in our sample for further analysis.

3.3 Measures

All variables were measured using multiple-item scales developed in previous studies. The scale of entrepreneurship education (EE), which was adopted from Lv et al. (2021), consists of nine items. Entrepreneurship education captures the extent to which individuals receive training programs for entrepreneurial activities (e.g. courses, competitions and grants for startup initiatives) when they study at college. To measure entrepreneurial intentions, we adopted the six-item scale developed by Liñán et al. (2011a). For career commitment (CC), a four-item scale was adapted from the work of Kim et al. (2012) and Chang (1999). Turnover intention (TI), which reflects the possibility of an employee leaving his/her current job for starting a new business, was measured on a three-item scale obtained from Liñán et al. (2011a, b). Given that our sample consists of two cohorts of participants (i.e. those below age 30 who received compulsory entrepreneurship education and those above age 30 who did not receive the compulsory entrepreneurship education), respondents were directed to different versions of the questionnaire based on their age. To measure EE, EI, CC and TI in the appropriate decision scenario, we set up the time frames for each item. For instance, an original question item from construct TI is “I have been trying to set up a business” as the current scenario; when it is measured in the past scenario, the item is modified as “During the past 10 years, I have tried to set up a business” and when it is measured in the future scenario, the item is modified as “In the next 10 years, I will try to set up a business”. All items were measured on a seven-point Likert scale (1 = totally disagree; 7 = totally agree). All questionnaire items are presented in the Appendix.

In addition, we controlled for variables that have been found to profoundly affect individuals' entrepreneurial intention and career decisions, namely age, marital status, course experience and education major (Chang et al., 2021; Fayolle and Gailly, 2015; Lent et al., 1994).

4. Results

4.1 Measurement model

In this study, the evaluation of the measuring model serves as the basis for evaluating the quality of the constructs. Before determining construct validity and reliability, loadings are investigated for each factor in the model.

4.1.1 Factor loadings

As shown in Table 2, we divided our sample into the cohort of younger employees (under age 30) and older employees (above age 30) in running the factor analysis. According to the results, all factor loadings are above the threshold recommended in the prior literature (Hair and Babin, 2018). Table 2 shows the factor loadings of all questionnaire items included in the study.

4.1.2 Reliability and validity analysis

As shown in Table 3, the test of measurement reliability and validity for all constructs is conducted on two sub-samples of this study. Based on the confirmatory factor analysis, the results suggest that the average variance extracted (AVE) and composite reliability (CR) for all construct measures meet the criteria recommended in the literature (Hair and Babin, 2018), indicating that the scales used in this study have adequate reliability and convergent validity. We adopted the analytic approach proposed by Fornell and Bookstein (1982) to examine the discriminant validity. Results indicate that the square roots of AVE for all constructs are all greater than their correlation coefficients with any other variables in the correlation matrix. Therefore, the discriminant validity for the variable measurement is established.

4.2 Hypothesis testing

The present study employs a structural equation modeling (SEM) for testing the hypotheses. The bootstrapping approach was utilized to verify the indirect effects. Thus, at a confidence level of 95%, it is examined whether the existence of non-mediation is possible, that is, the indirect effect is zero for several bootstrap samples (Brown, 2015). Results suggest that the model fit of the structural model is satisfactory for both sub-samples (younger employees: Chi-Square/df = 2.528, goodness-of-fit index (GFI) = 0.904, normed fit index (NFI) = 0.947, comparative fit index (CFI) = 0.967, root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA) = 0.067; older employees: Chi-Square/df = 2.104, GFI = 0.922, NFI = 0.957, CFI = 0.977 and RMSEA = 0.057).

Table 4 displays the results of the SEM. The In the sample of younger employees, EE positively affected EI (β = 0.501, p < 0.01) but shows not significant effect on CC (β = 0.104, n.s.) and TI (β = −0.083, n.s.). In the older employees, EE was positively related to EI (β = 0.481, p < 0.01) and CC (β = 0.156, p < 0.01). In contrast, EE does not have a positive impact on TI as predicted by the H3 (β = −0.203, p < 0.01). Based on these results, H1 was supported, H2 was partially supported and H3 was not supported.

Second, we examine the direct impacts of EI on the CC and TI. In the sample of younger employees, results show that EI is negatively related to CC (β = −0.605, p < 0.01) and positively related to TI (β = 0.378, p < 0.01). For the sample of older employees, EI was negatively associated with CC (β = −0.682, p < 0.01) and positively associated with TI (β = 0.629, p < 0.01). Therefore, H4 and H5 are both supported.

Third, we examine the relationship between CC and TI. The tests on both younger and older employees show that CC is negatively related to TI (β = −0.494, p < 0.01 and β = −0.166, p < 0.01, respectively). Furthermore, we investigated the EE’s indirect impact on TI through the mediating role of EI. Results confirm that EI mediates the relationship between EE and TI for the younger employees (β = 0.227, LB = 0.125 and UB = 0.318) and older employees (β = 0.389, LB = 0.263 and UB = 0.511) with the 95% confidence intervals excluding zero. Likewise, we test the EE’s indirect effect on TI via the mediating effect of CC. We found that CC also plays a mediating role that underpins the negative indirect effect of EE on TI for both sub-samples (younger employees: β = −0.062, LB = −0.134 and UB = −0.005; older employees: β = −0.033, LB = −0.080 and UB = −0.009) and the two confidence intervals do not include zero.

The tests in the third step justify the necessity of examining hypothesis 6, which postulates the dual-mediating effects of entrepreneurial education on employees' turnover intention through entrepreneurial intention and career commitment. According to the results obtained from 5,000 bootstrapping estimations, the EE’s indirect effect on TI through EI and CC is positively significant for the subsample of younger employees (β = 0.180, LB = 0.120 and UB = 0.239) and for the sub-sample of older employees (β = 0.070, LB = 0.024 and UB = 0.137); the 95% confidence intervals for the two sub-samples exclude zero too. Based on the above-mentioned results, H6 is supported.

5. Discussion

5.1 Theoretical implications

Studies indicate that a majority of individuals do not immediately pursue entrepreneurial ventures after completing entrepreneurship training programs (Alsos et al., 2022). However, the literature has yet to fully address how entrepreneurship education impacts the long-term career paths of students. This study leverages longitudinal research to examine the enduring effects of entrepreneurship education on the entrepreneurial intentions and career choices of individuals employed in established firms, utilizing social cognitive career theory (Lent et al., 1994) and concepts of entrepreneurial intentionality (Kuratko, 2005; Kuratko and Morris, 2018). Focusing on Indonesia, where entrepreneurship education became a mandatory aspect of higher education in 2010 (implemented in 2014), this research investigates the potential for entrepreneurship education to influence the intentions of company employees to start their own businesses, particularly examining intentional variances between groups with and without mandatory entrepreneurship education through the lens of younger versus older employees.

The findings suggest that entrepreneurship education significantly affects the propensity of employees to leave their jobs to embark on entrepreneurial endeavors, enhancing their entrepreneurial aspirations while diminishing their loyalty to their current positions. According to Treanor et al. (2021), individuals educated in entrepreneurship are more receptive to innovation and more adept at seizing market opportunities, a reflection of how entrepreneurship education fosters cognitive skills and knowledge that motivate employees toward entrepreneurial pursuits. Specifically, such education prepares individuals to deal with uncertainties and take risks by assessing the benefits and drawbacks of leaving their jobs (Lembana et al., 2021). Thus, collegiate entrepreneurship education indirectly but lastingly influences entrepreneurial ambitions, lowering commitment to present employment and increasing entrepreneurial intentions.

A comparison between two groups – one with extensive entrepreneurship education and the other with minimal – revealed that thorough engagement with entrepreneurial education significantly boosts employees' enthusiasm for entrepreneurship, especially among younger employees who benefited from compulsory entrepreneurship training. Entrepreneurship education has become a unique pedagogical approach that emphasizes knowledge creation and experience in innovation, problem-solving and risk-taking through a practice-based learning model (Neergaard et al., 2021; Thomassen et al., 2020). This method, which involves startup projects, interaction with market players and collaborative learning, not only strengthens entrepreneurial self-efficacy but also prepares participants for the challenges of starting new ventures.

Interestingly, while entrepreneurship education tends to increase the likelihood of employees starting new businesses by fostering entrepreneurial intentions, the study uncovered that previous entrepreneurship training directly enhances commitment to their current careers among older employees, a contrast to its negligible impact on younger employees. Entrepreneurial training is deemed valuable for its comprehensive skillset and emotional resilience against failure (Shepherd et al., 2009). Hence, entrepreneurship education can also enhance job satisfaction and loyalty among older employees, albeit this value develops over time.

For younger employees, the emphasis on entrepreneurship in their education might initially seem less pertinent to their current job roles. However, this view tends to shift with age, aligning with observations by Chang et al. (2022) that indicate a marked decrease in entrepreneurial endeavor post-mid-30s. Our results indicate that, for younger employees, entrepreneurial education does not have a significant association with their intentions to leave their current positions, despite its positive effect on fostering their entrepreneurial aspirations. Specifically, being at the nascent stages of their career paths, younger employees are more adept at channeling the entrepreneurial mindset and skills acquired through mandatory entrepreneurial education into the exploration of startup opportunities (Murnieks et al., 2020; Schulze and Dada, 2024). Although entrepreneurial education might not immediately influence younger employees’ commitment to their current careers, it acts as a catalyst for fostering their entrepreneurial ambitions.

5.2 Practical implications

While entrepreneurship education may not directly lead to immediate startup endeavors by students, it effectively plants a conceptual seed within their minds. The knowledge and experience gained from subsequent professional endeavors act as nourishment, enabling this seed to flourish into resilience, professional adeptness and the confidence to establish their own enterprises. For governments focused on innovation-driven economic growth and sectoral evolution, embedding entrepreneurship within educational systems and nurturing a collaborative ecosystem that includes partnerships between universities, businesses, investors and policymakers are pivotal actions. More crucially, the evaluation of entrepreneurship education’s success should extend beyond short-term quantitative metrics (i.e. startup formation rates) to encompass long-term societal effects, such as a qualitative evaluation of the entrepreneurial culture’s pervasiveness. This approach can have a profound impact on steering a country toward industrial innovation and economic rejuvenation.

Individuals with entrepreneurial experience are often distinguished by their comprehensive skillset, which encompasses problem-solving, project management, marketing and innovation as well as notable psychological attributes such as risk-taking propensity, resilience and a growth mindset. Despite the high value traditionally placed on these qualities, recent research by Botelho and Chang (2022) suggests that having a background as a startup founder might negatively impact an individual’s employability. Recruiters may view candidates with entrepreneurial backgrounds as potentially difficult to assimilate into existing organizational cultures, fearing that they might exhibit lower engagement levels and a greater likelihood of leaving the company. However, our study reveals that while entrepreneurship education may heighten the likelihood of long-term turnover intentions, it does not imply that prior entrepreneurial endeavors diminish an individual’s contribution. In fact, entrepreneurship education aims not only to stimulate the creation of new businesses but also to enrich the caliber of human resources. In a market characterized by relentless uncertainty and swift transformations, entrepreneurship’s relevance extends beyond the realm of self-employment, proving indispensable for a knowledge-driven workforce adept at navigating these changes.

Far from being seen as liabilities, employees with entrepreneurial experiences are valuable assets to their organizations. To maintain their engagement, leadership should cultivate a workplace that nurtures their entrepreneurial spirit, sparks their work enthusiasm and resonates with their personal goals (Zenger and Folkman, 2022). Providing them with the autonomy to take strategic risks and encouraging a culture of inquiry can render their roles more impactful, solidify their dedication to their careers and enable them to contribute their entrepreneurial expertise for the organization’s benefit as intrapreneurs.

5.3 Limitation and future research

This study is not without limitations. First, despite the uniqueness of our sample that allows us to adopt a quasi-natural experimental approach to testing the effect of entrepreneurship education, the findings should be interpreted with caution. Specifically, because our sample is obtained in Indonesia, it is unclear if our findings are affected by the country’s institutional system and contextual dynamics, leading to a concern over the study’s intercultural generalizability. A cross-national experiment is recommended for future research to control for the potential bias of the methodological design. In addition, future studies may yield more robust results by adopting a longitudinal approach to data collection. Second, it is plausible that employees' entrepreneurship is rooted in their professional background and their satisfaction with their current job. For example, the opportunity cost for high-income employees in an established company can be too high for them to leave the job and take the risk of new venture creation. Third, our model does not consider employees' familial conditions (e.g. marital status, average family income, financial abundance, etc.), which are the essential factors in determining adults' entrepreneurial motivation. This line of work can benefit from the effort in a comprehensive investigation of employees' motivation and decisional process in starting a new business. Finally, according to prior research (Murnieks et al., 2020), individuals' gender and the industry in which they currently work are two fundamental factors that may either encourage or hinder their entrepreneurial motivation; this is due to the dynamics in the perceived startup feasibility, professional circumstances, and identity centrality, ultimately contributing to different levels of affordable loss. Therefore, we encourage future research to disentangle the complex relationship between entrepreneurial education and the different aspects of employees' career development in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing employees' entrepreneurial mindsets (Ye et al., 2023).

Figures

Research model and predictions

Figure 1

Research model and predictions

Data collection procedure

Figure 2

Data collection procedure

Comparison illustration of two cohorts

Decision scenariosGraduation year
Questionnaire A (<30 y/o)Questionnaire B (>30 y/o)
Younger employeesCurrent
Measurement (youngc, as is)
Past measurement (old−10, as was)
Older employeesFuture
Measurement (young+10, as if)
Current
Measurement (oldc, as is)

Source(s): Table by authors

Factor loadings

Younger employeesOlder employees
EEEICCTIEEEICCTI
EE10.877 0.877
EE20.892 0.893
EE30.890 0.890
EE40.783 0.783
EE50.797 0.797
EI1 0.858 0.928
EI2 0.889 0.905
EI3 0.866 0.884
EI4 0.869 0.850
EI5 0.862 0.878
EI6 0.907 0.927
CC1 0.884 0.833
CC2 0.852 0.863
CC3 0.843 0.856
CC4 0.817 0.849
TI1 0.933 0.888
TI2 0.930 0.929
TI3 0.782 0.863

Source(s): Table by authors

Reliability and validity of construct measurement

CRAVEEECCTIEI
Younger employees
EE0.9280.7210.849
CC0.9120.721−0.1970.849
TI0.9150.7820.304−0.7160.884
EI0.9520.7660.506−0.5540.6350.875
Older employees
EE0.9280.7210.849
CC0.9130.723−0.1780.850
TI0.9220.7990.331−0.5680.894
EI0.9610.8090.490−0.6240.6670.896

Source(s): Table by authors

Results of structural equation modeling

Younger employees
HypothesesEstimateSECRр-value
EE → EI (H1)0.5010.0519.2550.000
EE → CC (H2)0.1040.0581.7250.085
EE → TI (H3)−0.0830.059−1.6790.093
EI → CC (H4)−0.6050.067−9.2080.000
EI → TI (H5)0.3780.0696.9740.000
CC → TI−0.4940.065−9.4430.000
Control variable
Age−0.1040.151−2.3360.019
Marital status−0.0480.122−1.3320.183
Course experience0.3280.1707.0230.000
Educational major0.0070.1760.1860.852
Mediating relationEstimateSELBUBT-T
EE → EI → TI0.2270.0460.1250.3180.015
EE → CC → TI−0.0620.033−0.134−0.0050.022
EE → EI → CC → TI (H6)0.1800.0350.1200.2390.014
HypothesesEstimateSECRр-value
Older employees
EE → EI (H1)0.4810.0588.9810.000
EE → CC (H2)0.1560.0522.7930.005
EE → TI (H3)−0.2030.062−4.2050.000
EI → CC (H4)−0.6820.052−10.9980.000
EI → TI (H5)0.6290.06711.1240.000
CC → TI−0.1660.068−3.3850.000
Control variable
Age0.1360.1583.1090.002
Marital status−0.0070.128−0.1890.850
Course experience0.2950.1796.4600.000
Educational major0.0880.1862.2570.024
Mediating relationEstimateSELBUBT-T
EE → EI → TI0.3890.0650.2630.5110.025
EE → CC → TI−0.0330.015−0.080−0.0090.006
EE → EI → CC → TI (H6)0.0700.0270.0240.1370.004

Source(s): Table by authors

Survey question item for current measurement

ConstructQuestions (current measurement)Source
Entrepreneurship education (EE)There are various types of entrepreneurship education courses in my schoolLv et al. (2021)
My entrepreneurship course teachers have entrepreneurial experience
The contents of the entrepreneurship courses were closely combined with my professional knowledge
A special entrepreneurial fund supported the entrepreneurial practice
My school provides integrated entrepreneurial practice services
Entrepreneurial practice projects are highly integrated with professional learning
Business plan competitions improve my entrepreneurial confidence
Business plan competitions expand my interpersonal networks
Business plan competition improves my teamwork ability
Entrepreneurial intention (EI)I am ready to do anything to be an entrepreneurLiñán et al. (2011a)
My professional goal is to become an entrepreneur
I will make every effort to start and run my own firm
I am determined to create a firm In the next 10 years
I have got the intention to start a firm in the next 10 years
I have a strong intention to start a business in the next 10 years
Career commitment (CC)I definitely want to pursue a career in my current areaChang (1999), Kim et al. (2012)
My current job is the ideal job for a work life
I like my current job too well to give it up
If I had all the money needed, I still wanted in this vocation
Turnover intention (TI)I frequently thought about leaving my current employer to establish a businessChang (1999), Kim et al. (2012)
I am thinking of quitting my current job to establish a business
I have been trying to set up a business

Source(s): Table by authors

Survey question item for past measurement

ConstructQuestions (past measurement)Source
Entrepreneurship education (EE)There are various types of entrepreneurship education courses in my schoolLv et al. (2021)
My entrepreneurship course teachers have entrepreneurial experience
The contents of the entrepreneurship courses were closely combined with my professional knowledge
A special entrepreneurial fund supported the entrepreneurial practice
My school provides integrated entrepreneurial practice services
Entrepreneurial practice projects are highly integrated with professional learning
Business plan competitions improve my entrepreneurial confidence
Business plan competitions expand my interpersonal networks
Business plan competition improves my teamwork ability
Entrepreneurial intention (EI)During the past 10 years, I have done everything to be an entrepreneurLiñán et al. (2011a)
During the past 10 years, becoming an entrepreneur has been my professional goal
During the past 10 years, I have made every effort to start and run my own company
During the past 10 years, I have been intended to create a firm in the following 10 years
During the past 10 years, I intended to start a firm in the following ten years
During the past 10 years, I had a strong intention to start a business in the following ten years
Career commitment (CC)During the past 10 years, I have built a career in my current areaChang (1999), Kim et al. (2012)
During the past 10 years, I thought my current job was ideal for work life
During the past 10 years, I really liked my current job, and it is hard to leave it
During the past 10 years, I worked in this vocation even after getting all the money I need
Turnover intention (TI)During the past 10 years, I frequently thought about leaving my job back then to establish a businessChang (1999), Kim et al. (2012)
During the past 10 years, I was thinking of quitting my job to establish a business
During the past 10 years, I tried to set up a business

Source(s): Table by authors

Survey question item for future measurement

ConstructQuestions (future measurement)Source
Entrepreneurship education (EE)There are various types of entrepreneurship education courses in my schoolLv et al. (2021)
My entrepreneurship course teachers have entrepreneurial experience
The contents of the entrepreneurship courses were closely combined with my professional knowledge
A special entrepreneurial fund supported the entrepreneurial practice
My school provides integrated entrepreneurial practice services
Entrepreneurial practice projects are highly integrated with professional learning
Business plan competitions improve my entrepreneurial confidence
Business plan competitions expand my interpersonal networks
Business plan competition improves my teamwork ability
Entrepreneurial intention (EI)In the next 10 years, I believe I will do everything to be an entrepreneurLiñán et al. (2011a)
In the next 10 years, I believe I will choose entrepreneurship or becoming an entrepreneur as my professional goal
In the next 10 years, I believe I will start and run my own company worth every effort
In the next 10 years, I believe I will always be intended to create a firm even for the following ten years again
In the next 10 years, I believe my intention will remain to start a firm even for the following ten years again
In the next 10 years, I believe my intention will remain strong to start a business even for the following ten years again
Career commitment (CC)In the next 10 years, I will build a career in my current areaChang (1999), Kim et al. (2012)
In the next 10 years, I believe my current job will always be ideal for work life
In the next 10 years, I believe I will still love my current job, and it will be hard to leave it
In the next 10 years, I believe I will stay in this vocation even if I have all the money I need
Turnover intention (TI)In the next 10 years, I believe I will often think about not staying long in a job because I want to establish a businessChang (1999), Kim et al. (2012)
In the next 10 years, I believe I will often think about switching jobs to establish a business
In the next 10 years, I will try to set up a business

Source(s): Table by authors

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Corresponding author

Wei-Shiun Chang is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: wschang@mail.ncku.edu.tw

About the authors

Dr Yu-Yu Chang is Associate Professor at the Institute of International Management and the Cross College Elite Program, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. He also serves as Director of the Innovative Teaching Center at NCKU College of Management and the Executive Secretary of the Chinese Professional Management Association of Tainan City. His current research focuses on entrepreneurship, user innovation and innovation commons. Dr Chang is Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences and serves as Editorial Board Member for the British Journal of Management and the Journal of Business Economics and Management. He has published papers in the Journal of Business Research, Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Entrepreneurship Research Journal, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Human Resource Management Review, European Management Journal, Technovation and more.

Dr Wei-Shiun Chang is Associate Professor of Behavioral Decision Sciences at National Cheng Kung University. His research interests include individual preferences and decision-making in operations management and entrepreneurship. His work can be found in various scholarly journals, such as Management Science, Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics, Electronic Commerce Research, etc.

Ahmad Fadhil earned his Master’s Degree from the Institute of International Management, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. His research focuses on entrepreneurship education and human capital development.

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