Department of Management

Identity transformation: Learning entrepreneurship through pedagogical nudging

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This paper develops the concept of ‘pedagogical nudging’ and examines four interventions in an entrepreneurship classroom and the potential it has for student identity transformation. Pedagogical nudging is positioned as a tool, which in the hands of a reflective, professional, with an understanding and rationale for using it, provides students with the opportunity to explore their own entrepreneurial identity in unforeseen ways.
It builds on insights from three different streams of literature: (i) Bordieu’s theory of practice is used to analyze student understandings of themselves and others, as well as the resources they have when they come to the classroom. It also incorporates perspectives from (ii) transformational learning and explores the concept of (iii) nudging from a pedagogical viewpoint, proposing it as an important tool in entrepreneurship education.
The study incorporates ethnographic data from over 400 reflection logs from around 100 students based on 120 hours of classes (same course repeated 4 times). Reflection logs were completed for each module of four hours. The main data sources are participant observation by a researcher and student reflection logs. The content of the courses lies outside the usual territory of entrepreneurship courses, being aimed at the students in the pre-idea phase.
During the course students change their understandings about what an entrepreneurial habitus is and as a result they become more willing to take on this habitus, for some of them it even becomes part of their own habitus, and the way they perceive their own potential in the world. The findings demonstrate that pedagogical nudging exercises leave what we would call (i) ‘footprints in the mind’, which (ii) helps develop individual potential combined with social interaction, (iii) assists students in straddling the divide between identities, the emotions and tensions this elicits, and (iv) transform student understanding.
We extend nudging theory into a new territory. Pedagogical nudging techniques may be able to unlock doors and bring our students beyond the unacknowledged and unarticulated boundaries of the self towards the kind of learning (transformation) that develops self-efficacy and an entrepreneurial habitus. They are not for those students who are already set on the path for entrepreneurship. They are for all those who are unsure about what they should do with their future, whether they have it within them to become entrepreneurs. Hence, we are opening up a door to a different set of opportunities or experiences that will enhance their ability to better choose their own future.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year4 Nov 2014
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 4 Nov 2014
EventInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship: The Future of Enterprise: The Innovation Revolution - Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Nov 20146 Nov 2014
Conference number: 37


ConferenceInstitute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship
CountryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Best paper award in enterprise education track

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