Learning and teaching entrepreneurship: Dilemmas, reflections and strategies

Publication: ResearchBook chapter

The question as to whether entrepreneurship could be learned - and whether it should be taught as part of University Studies in general, more particularly as part of business studies, has been discussed for a number of years. The most widespread answer today seems to be positive; yes, entrepreneurship can be learned and should be taught. A major problem is that the traditional forms of teaching at universities and business schools have shown themselves quite inappropriate for enhancing the motivation and competencies of students towards innovation and entrepreneurship. This phenomenon has increasingly been dealt with in the literature and has now led to the publication of special issues of journals, annual workshops on teaching entrepreneurship and even an academic journal dedicated solely to the study of this phenomenon. The phenomenon holds several dilemmas. One is whether teaching should be for entrepreneurship or about entrepreneurship and another concerns the foundation of teaching; whether it should be based on management theories or rather on some not-as-yet-defined theory of entrepreneurship and intra-preneurship. A third dilemma concerns the situating of this education; should it be placed within the secure context of the university auditorium or in small firms - or perhaps somewhere in between academia and practice. A fourth dilemma is whether students should work individually or collectively and a fifth is the question of how the substance of what is taught is formulated; whether entrepreneurship is conceptualized as an art or a science. Most of these dilemmas are related to the relationship between learning and teaching entrepreneurship and to the question as to whether entrepreneurship or rather enterprising behaviour is to be promoted. The chapter takes its starting point in the personal experiences and the related dissatisfaction of the authors in respect to the way in which they have so far done things themselves by being involved in courses such as 'entrepreneurship', 'the renewal function of the firm', and an 'MBA in Change Management'. The authors are also involved in the creation of a 'Centre for Entrepreneurship' in Aarhus, involving four universities and schools of higher education with the mission of 1) supporting an innovative culture of entrepreneurship; 2) increasing the number of knowledge-based entrepreneurs and 3) strengthening the educational milieu for entrepreneurship. Further, the research behind this chapter is part of a larger study of pedagogy, innovation, learning and entrepreneurship processes financed by the Danish Agency for Trade and Industry. The authors are all part of the PILE group performing this study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Entrepreneurship Education: Issues and Newness
EditorsAllain Fayolle, Heinz Klandt
Place of PublicationUK
PublisherEdward Elgar Publishing, Incorporated
Publication year2006
Pages21-34
StatePublished - 2006

    Keywords

  • Pedagogy, Innovation, Learning, Entrepreneurship processes

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