Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Which Classroom-Related Activities Enhance Students' Entrepreneurial Interests and Goals?: A Social Cognitive Career Theory Perspective

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

Which Classroom-Related Activities Enhance Students' Entrepreneurial Interests and Goals?: A Social Cognitive Career Theory Perspective

Article excerpt


Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT: Lent, Brown & Hackett, 1994, 1996) proposes that career interests, goals, and choices are related to self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations. Segal, Borgia, and Schoenfeld (2002) found the SCCT model predicted goals for an entrepreneurial career. In this exploratory research, we survey entrepreneurship educators to determine their perceptions of which classroom related activities best enhance student's entrepreneurial self-efficacy and outcome expectations. Based on this, we provide pedagogical recommendations that entrepreneurship educators may use to boost students' interests and goals for entrepreneurial careers.


As career choices go, becoming an entrepreneur is one of the most risky and unstructured choices an individual can make (Campbell, 1992). Being an entrepreneur is often viewed as an aversive career choice where one is faced with everyday life and work situations that are fraught with increased uncertainty, impediments, failures, and frustrations associated with the process of new firm creation. It seems unlikely that an individual would make a goal for an entrepreneurial career if they did not feel confident to perform the necessary tasks associated with forming and developing his or her own business.

Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) is one of the most accepted and validated models discussed in the careers literature to understand career interests and goals (Gore & Leuwerke, 2000; Smith & Fouad, 1999; Swanson & Gore, 2000). It has been the basis for a growing and now established body of research in the career field (Fouad & Smith, 1996; Hackett & Lent, 1992; Lapan, Shaughnessy, & Boggs, 1996; Lopez, Lent, Brown, & Gore, 1997; Smith, 2002; Fouad, Smith, & Zao, 2002; Lent, Brown, Sheu, Schmidt, et al., 2005; Williams & Subich, 2006). Recent research (Segal, Borgia, and Schoenfeld, 2002) found the SCCT model strongly predicted predict interest and goals for an entrepreneurship as a career choice.


The career development process is affected by a variety of personal, environmental and situational factors that interrelate and change over the course of time. A number of theoretical works exist on the career development and selection process; however, the empirical evidence remains sketchy. Hackett and Lent (1992) suggested that the field would profit from theory-building efforts that "(a) bring together conceptually related constructs (e.g., self-concept, self-efficacy), (b) more fully explain outcomes that are common to a number of career theories (e.g., satisfaction, stability), and (c) account for the relations among seemingly diverse constructs (e.g., self-efficacy, interests, abilities, needs)". They presented a theoretical framework that attempted to explain central, dynamic processes and mechanisms through which career and academic interests develop, career-relevant choices are forged and enacted, and performance outcomes are achieved. The model is anchored in social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) and highlights the importance of self-beliefs and self-thought in fostering an individual's motivation and subsequently guiding their behavior.

Figure 1 illustrates the specific interrelatedness of the three main variables of the SCCT model, which affects the choice of career. These core variables are self-efficacy, which affects an individual's expectations for outcomes as well as their intentions towards performance, outcome expectations that affects their future performance or goals and, ultimately, their actual career goals.


This career development theory may be particularly relevant for entrepreneurs. Krueger, Reilly, and Carsrud, (2000) compared models of entrepreneurial intentions to the ultimate choice of becoming an entrepreneur. …

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