Determine your Entrepreneurship Philosophy
Learn more about our research by downloading our paper published in the
September 2020 issue of the Academy of Management Learning & Education (AMLE)
What is Entrepreneurship?
The starting point for understanding your Entrepreneurship Philosophy begins with examining your beliefs about what constitutes entrepreneurship.
When you teach and provide mentorship, how broad or narrow is your lens for this field? Some define entrepreneurship narrowly as starting a business, while others believe those that act entrepreneurially (even with an existing company) are also entrepreneurs.
Must entrepreneurs be profitable, or does your philosophy also consider people that lead social ventures or even social movements as entrepreneurs?
Finally, for some disruptive innovation and high scalability are requirements for entrepreneurship. Does this mean that your local coffee shop, a franchise, and a family business are not examples of entrepreneurship?
Who are entrepreneurs?
Some believe only certain types of people are inclined toward entrepreneurship. These are people with special qualities, intelligence, grit, or other trait. Others have a belief that entrepreneurship is merely a matter of having an expertise. Maybe its simply having a certain amount of work experience in the field or maybe its being expert in technology or the sciences.
Finally, there are those that believe that entrepreneurship is a tool for everyone. That we all have the capacity and some level of resource to draw from to be entrepreneurs.
What perspective are you taking into your classroom?
What do we do with new ideas?
Novel ideas are often considered a key ingredient to entrepreneurship. What are your perspectives on where novel ideas come from and how they are advanced?
People hold a variety of beliefs and positions about novel ideas. Many focus on how entrepreneurship should come from novel ideas that solve a compelling market need. Some view novel ideas as belonging only to technology and science --- areas where disruptive innovation can lead to groundbreaking change.
Beyond these beliefs, what you do with novel ideas can be equally important in entrepreneurship. Do you encourage your students to collaborative and share freely their ideas, or do you believe that ideas should be carefully guarded?
What do we do with risk?
A key lesson for managers is learning to identify, measure, and manage risk. Do you believe these skills are still foundational for entrepreneurs? Are they more effective in some parts of the entrepreneurship process than others?
Alternatively, many believe that risk is a natural component of entrepreneurship and the uncertainty it involves. They argue that a certain amount of risk must be accepted as a part of taking action.
What type of impact do you want?
Ultimately the way you approach entrepreneurship education should be guided by the learning you want to impart and the impact you seek. Many of these questions about who entrepreneurs are and what entrepreneurship is will have an impact on whether you see entrepreneurship playing limited roles in only groundbreaking innovation or whether it seen as a tool for everyone.
Whether you are a professor, teacher or entrepreneur (providing mentorship), your beliefs about entrepreneurship have an impact on what your students are learning and how they may approach new ideas and ventures.