An Examination of the Relationship between the Mission of the University, the Business School, and the Entrepreneurship Center: An Application of Chandler's Strategy and Structure Hypothesis*

Article excerpt

Executive Summary

This study examines the mission statements of select colleges and universities in the United States in comparison to the mission statements of entrepreneurship centers at their respective institutions. A mission statement is important because the strategic direction, goals and objectives of the organization flow directly from it. It is a public proclamation of the values and mores of the organization. The mission statement is particularly important to an entrepreneurship center because the statement explains the role of the center in the overall mission of the governing institution. The mission statement of an entrepreneurship center works in concert with, and is derived from, the mission statement of its governing institution which follows Chandler's strategy and structure hypothesis. This study explored the mission statements of entrepreneurship centers at Catholic colleges and universities in the United States and their relationship to their governing institutions' mission statement and business schools' mission through thematic analysis. It was found that there was little, if any, relationship between them. Future research is discussed.

Introduction

With the growth in entrepreneurship around the globe, there has been a corresponding growth in entrepreneurship centers and endowed chairs in entrepreneurship and related disciplines at universities and colleges, particularly in the United States. Kuratko (2005) calls entrepreneurship, "the most potent economic force the world has ever experienced." The growth spurred by this economic force can be identified as the most radical change to our thought patterns and ways of doing business at colleges and universities in the 20th century. Indeed, entrepreneurship education has permeated across the bounds of colleges, departments, centers, and majors. Entrepreneurship is teamed with engineering; law; science; literary, visual, and performing arts; and even physical education. There are entire departments of entrepreneurship and even a college of entrepreneurship. Katz (2003, 2004) has documented the growth of the field through continuous studies that at last count has 1,600 colleges and universities offering over 2,200 courses related to entrepreneurship from a few in the 1970s. Eighty percent of all U.S. colleges and universities now offer courses in entrepreneurship. While issues are raised among academics questioning the legitimacy of the field of entrepreneurship, these concerns are certainly not shared by the general public. Entrepreneurship is the accepted route out of the world economic crisis of 2007-2010.

Indeed, entrepreneurs are what young people strive to be at increasingly greater numbers. Seventy percent of today's high school students intend to start their own companies, according to a recent Gallup poll published in the Wall Street Journal (Malone, 2008). Twenge (2006) identified never giving up on your dreams as very important to GenMe-those under 35 years of age. While she saw this as focusing on self, it is also an important characteristic of entrepreneurs. It is estimated that 5.6 million Americans in this age bracket (under age 34) are actively trying to start their own businesses (Tulgan, 1999). Half of all new college graduates believe that self-employment is more secure than a full-time job. Eighteen to 24-year-olds are starting companies at a faster rate than 24 to 44-year olds. Sixty percent of Gen Y business owners, born in the late 1970s, consider themselves to be serial entrepreneurs (Malone, 2008). Horatio Alger would have been proud.

Entrepreneurship Centers

In response to the overwhelming surge in interest in entrepreneurship-starting and growing businesses as well as corporate entrepreneurship-being creative and innovative in an organization, entrepreneurship centers have become more and more prevalent on college campuses. According to the most recent study on entrepreneurship centers dated 2006; there are 146 collegiate entrepreneurship centers nationally. …