An investigation into the entrepreneurial mind-set of the entrepreneurship educator
: a narrative-based empirical model

  • Breda O'Dwyer

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The entrepreneurial mind-set is a phenomenon that attracts increasing attention in academia, policy and practice. The ability to think and behave entrepreneurially is regarded as being essential to creating value for the self and for others, be that value social, cultural and/or financial in its nature. It has significant emancipatory potential, because we all have the ability to be entrepreneurial, we simply need to have our minds opened to it. Research has shown that there are a number of constructs that inform its development, centred with a model of experiential learning, the Learning Combination Lock. The national, European and global policy makers have tasked the Higher Education Institutions with developing the entrepreneurial mind-sets of the
future; and specifically those of the entrepreneurship educators. These educators are to be the conduit between the development of the entrepreneurial mind-set and its acquisition through an individual, experiential, and socially informed entrepreneurial learning process. However, little if anything, is known of the entrepreneurial mind-set of those tasked with achieving this ambitious goal; the entrepreneurship educator. This study aims to address this gap in the literature by investigating the entrepreneurial mind-set.

This research represents a synchronic view of the stories of twenty entrepreneurship educators and the extant literature. It does not purport to be a generalizable account representative of all entrepreneurship educators. A narrative based research design was carried out, using the Listening Guide voice centred relational method of data analysis). A number of shared rich insights were identified in the analysis of the stories of the twenty participating entrepreneurship educators. An empirical, interrelated model of the entrepreneurial mind-set developmental process of the entrepreneurship educator has been contributed to theory by this research. Other key contributions include evolved definitions of entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurial mind-set and entrepreneurial education, along with new perspectives on known models, including the Learning Combination Lock and integrated model of entrepreneurial intentions. The entrepreneurial mind-set of the entrepreneurship educator is a dynamic, non-linear process, similar yet unique to each individual. It is founded and supported by an experiential and socially-oriented learning process, that is continuous and evolving. It is a multi-dimensional model, built on the interrelations of a number of entrepreneurial constructs including entrepreneurial behavioural attributes and competencies, cognition, intention, and concept of self. It is seamlessly integrated into all aspects of the entrepreneurship educator’s life.

Given the limitations of this research, this study should be considered as an important foundation step in conceptualising and developing the empirical interrelated model of the entrepreneurial mind-set developmental process of the entrepreneurship educator. As such, this research provides a springboard for further research in the field of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship education. It contributes to the advancement of knowledge, practice and policy by contributing an empirical interrelated model of the entrepreneurial mind-set developmental process of the entrepreneurship educator. It proposes a number of recommendations including, the development of an EntreMINDSET framework. This study is not without its limitations. It concludes with the identification of areas worthy of further research.

“Every telling is an aspect, another facet, of a more multi-dimensional perspective of the nature of entrepreneurship”, (Gartner, 2007 p.625).
Date of AwardMay 2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorPauric Mc Gowan (Supervisor) & Alison Hampton (Supervisor)


  • Entrepreneurial behaviour
  • Entrepreneurial thinking
  • EntreCOMP
  • Experiential learning
  • Role models
  • Entrepreneurial intentions
  • Entrepreneurial competencies

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