Entrepreneurship Education in Humanities and Social Sciences: Are Students Qualified to Start a business?/Verslumo Ugdymas Humanitariniu Ir Socialiniu Mokslu Studijose: Ar Studentai Yra Pasirenge Pradeti Savo Versla?

By Vazquez-Burgete, Jose Luis; Lanero, Ana et al. | Business: Theory and Practice, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Entrepreneurship Education in Humanities and Social Sciences: Are Students Qualified to Start a business?/Verslumo Ugdymas Humanitariniu Ir Socialiniu Mokslu Studijose: Ar Studentai Yra Pasirenge Pradeti Savo Versla?


Vazquez-Burgete, Jose Luis, Lanero, Ana, Raisiene, Agota Giedre, Garcia, Maria Purificacion, Business: Theory and Practice


1. Introduction

In the last few years, adaptation of university systems to the requirements of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) are entailing significant transformations in surrounding countries, in an effort to deliver a better response to the social needs and expectations frequently assigned to these institutions. In this respect, it has been traditionally assumed that the educational level acquired must qualify college students to practice a professional activity, which in turn must satisfy the demands of human capital required by the productive sector, in order to contribute to socio-economic welfare. Nevertheless, the traditional flow of transactions between higher education and labor market has been proved to be insufficient in contemporary occidental societies, since unemployment, flexibility and over-qualification are considered the more representative descriptors of young people's work insertion over the last decade in Europe (Eurostat 2009; Garcia-Montalvo, Peiro 2009; OECD 2009a, 2009b).

For this reason, different academics and researchers agree that European universities face the challenge of orienting their academic programs to new social demands (Flavian, Lozano 2004; Michavila 2009; Zabalda 2009), in an attempt to close the gap between students' acquired knowledge and labor market exigencies, and provide full coverage of the needs of all university users and, by extension, those of society. Looking for this purpose, entrepreneurship can be seen as a promising option of work insertion and professional development of recent university graduates, at the service of broader objectives of sustainable socio-economic welfare.

Not in vain, in the context of the wide-ranging social and economic changes that have been occurring in industrialized countries over recent decades, new, small enterprises have become a key element in creating employment, innovation and social welfare in all modern, competitive economies (Acs et al. 1994; Thurik 1999; Audretsch et al. 2002; Bosma et al. 2008). This is true to such an extent that encouragement for entrepreneurship is currently at the heart of a host of requirements and public standards in the countries of the European Union (EU), in an effort that has reached out to affect economic, social, educational and employment policies (COM 2000, 2003, 2008).

From this general framework, this paper reviews the concept of entrepreneurial competence and uses it to analyze differences in entrepreneurship education across various Social and Humanities disciplines. In doing that, we first review the guidelines marked by the European common policy with regard to the inclusion of entrepreneurship education as part of the university academic mission and provide a global description of the current state of the matter in European and Spanish institutions of higher education. Next, we review previous literature on entrepreneurship education and define the construct of entrepreneurial competence in terms of specific knowledge, skills and attitudes. According to that, we present an empirical study carried out in two Spanish universities aimed to validate the model proposed and analyze differences in entrepreneurship education between students in the various Social and Humanities areas. Finally, conclusions and implications of the study are discussed.

2. Entrepreneurship education in the European Higher Education Area

Encouragement for entrepreneurship education is currently at the heart of a host of political requirements in the countries of the European Union (EU), in an effort to develop a dynamic enterprising culture and foster new firm creation as a source of sustainable competitiveness in the continent (European Parliament 2000; COM 2010). An outcome of that has been the inclusion of the sense of initiative and entrepreneurship in a European Framework on Key Competences for Lifelong Learning (Recommendation 2006). From this view, it is recognized that entrepreneurship acts as a source of personal and professional self-realization, active citizenship and social inclusion for individuals, and that's why entrepreneurial competences should be developed by the end of compulsory school or training, acting as a foundation for further lifelong learning. …

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Entrepreneurship Education in Humanities and Social Sciences: Are Students Qualified to Start a business?/Verslumo Ugdymas Humanitariniu Ir Socialiniu Mokslu Studijose: Ar Studentai Yra Pasirenge Pradeti Savo Versla?
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