The development of entrepreneurial competencies: a transdisciplinary approach

Guerra Velásquez, Mauricio Esteban (2022) The development of entrepreneurial competencies: a transdisciplinary approach. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Entrepreneurial competencies are a major topic of interest within the field of entrepreneurship, providing a better understanding of the generation and development of new ventures across different settings (Ardichvili, Cardozo, & Ray, 2003; Chandler & Jansen, 1992; Hayton & Kelley, 2006). In the area of academic entrepreneurship, the work of Rasmussen and colleagues (Rasmussen, Mosey & Wright., 2011, 2014, 2015; Rasmussen & Wright, 2015) have recognised that entrepreneurial competencies play a critical role in the development of university spinoffs. However, what is not yet clear is the impact of the broader context of academic entrepreneurship on entrepreneurial competency development.

Scholars have argued for the existence of an emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem in universities (Wright et al., 2017), with calls to evaluate contemporary changes (Siegel and Wright, 2015), considering different stakeholders (Nabi et al., 2017) and emphasising the evaluation of the social impacts of these activities (Fini et al., 2018). At the same time, universities have been called to build collaborative strategies with the participation of non-academic actors to adequately address the challenges facing society (Lang et al., 2012), recognising that complex social challenges cannot be addressed by academe alone. Instead, it requires a paradigm shift, coalescing within the literature as transdisciplinarity (Gibbons et al., 1994; Lang et al., 2012; OECD, 2020).

This thesis defines transdisciplinarity within academic entrepreneurship as “a collaborative process to address societal problems, bringing together scholars from different disciplines and non-academic actors from society, who integrate their knowledge to find transferable solutions to society, which can be exploited through entrepreneurial activities”. Moreover, to differentiate these novel elements of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, this research defines the new actors of such entrepreneurial activities as ‘university entrepreneurs’ and their entrepreneurial projects as ‘non-traditional new ventures’.

Empirically, this thesis explores the potential impact of transdisciplinarity upon developing competencies by following projects that participated in the intervention ‘Ingenuity19’ at University of Nottingham. Ingenuity 19 encouraged social and environmental challenges to be addressed through the interaction of academic and non-academic actors. Using a qualitative multiple-case study research design,13 cases are investigated longitudinally, representing a variety of industrial sectors, disciplinary perspectives and founders such as students, alumni and individuals who are not directly involved in academic activities.

The findings of this study show that a transdisciplinary setting influences the development of entrepreneurial competencies (Opportunity Development Competency, Championing Competency and Resource Acquisition Competency) for non-traditional new ventures. In this vein, the evidence reveals that competency development was influenced before, during and after participation in the entrepreneurial intervention, supporting the idea of an evolving process of competency development (Ahuja & Katila, 2004; Rasmussen et al., 2011).

The thesis also explores the impact of this intervention at the individual level of university entrepreneurs, indicating a positive effect on developing individual skills such as opportunity recognition and evaluation, communication, and confidence. Further, building upon Stokols et al. (2008), this thesis also identifies institutional, interpersonal and intrapersonal enablers and barriers as factors that influence the entrepreneurial process of non-traditional new ventures.

This research concludes that transdisciplinarity is an appropriate research context to contribute to the study of academic entrepreneurship study, as it reveals new insights into competency development within entrepreneurial universities (Urbano & Guerrero, 2013) Finally, recommendations for research, educational practice, and policy are proposed.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Mosey, Simon
Carter, Christopher
Keywords: Entrepreneurial Competencies, Academic Entrepreneurship, Transdisciplinarity
Subjects: H Social sciences > HB Economic theory
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 71657
Depositing User: Guerra, Mauricio
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2024 09:28
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 09:28

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