Histories of entrepreneurship education: Exploring its past, understanding its present, and re-imagining its future
Manuscript deadline: 15 June 2023
Management & Organizational History
Special Issue Editor(s)
Christoph Viebig, Copenhagen Business School
Christian Stutz, Jyväskylä School of Business and Economics
Anders Ravn Sørensen, Copenhagen Business School
Entrepreneurship education is a global phenomenon. Over the last decades, we have seen tremendous growth in political and societal support for entrepreneurship education and a steep increase in entrepreneurship courses and programs at higher education institutions (Kuratko & Morris, 2018). At the same time, we are witnessing a scholarly debate about the current status and future direction of entrepreneurship education scholarship (Landström et al., 2021; Neck & Corbett, 2018; Pittaway & Cope, 2007). Most contributions to this debate paint an image of entrepreneurship education as a contemporary phenomenon linked to zeitgeisty agendas of self-fulfillment, grand societal challenges, and ideas about allegedly unprecedented economic and technological transformations (Dimov & Pistrui, 2022; Hägg & Kurczewska, 2021; Ratten & Jones, 2019). While this framing around newness arguably has helped to drive student interest and attract political support for entrepreneurship education on a global scale, it can also be seen as a liability calling into question the field’s academic legitimacy and limiting the ways in which we understand the present and imagine the future of entrepreneurship education (Cummings & Bridgman, 2016; Wadhwani & Viebig, 2021).
Entrepreneurship education is an underexplored historical phenomenon. Extending the dominant framing of entrepreneurship education as a new phenomenon, a recent study has shown that this form of business education has, in fact, a long tradition going back to the early nineteenth century, hence predating the modern business school and research-based university (Wadhwani & Viebig, 2021). While Katz (2003) has highlighted earlier entrepreneurship education initiatives, the conventional historical narrative of entrepreneurship education suggests that entrepreneurship education emerged at US business schools during the 1970s and grew domestically throughout the 1980s and 1990s (Kuratko, 2005). Since the 1990s, entrepreneurship education has expanded into all areas of higher education and especially internationally (Dana, 1992). During the late 1990s and early 2000s, it has turned into a global phenomenon with still growing numbers of students, courses, and programs around the globe (Kuratko & Morris, 2018). Those historical narratives serve an important purpose because our interpretations of the past are constitutive of our understandings and influence how we think about the future. Hence, revisiting the history of entrepreneurship education holds the potential to shape the current debates about entrepreneurship education and stimulate new ways of thinking about its future.
This special issue seeks to begin a more profound conversation about the history of entrepreneurship education by linking the scholarship of entrepreneurship education with the lively debates about the history of business education. Unlike the history of management education and the history of business school (Amdam & Dávila, 2021; Engwall et al., 2016), historical research about entrepreneurship education has been scarce and largely inexistent in the debates about the history of business education (McLaren et al., 2021). Developing new histories of entrepreneurship education requires identifying educational initiatives for entrepreneurs in temporal and regional contexts where the terminology of entrepreneurship may not (yet) exist and making a strong case to show that those educational initiatives can be accounted for as entrepreneurship education. In doing so, we encourage scholars to go beyond today’s definitions of entrepreneurship education and broaden our understanding of what has been an education for, in, and about different forms of entrepreneurship. We believe that by developing new historical perspectives (Bucheli & Wadhwani, 2014; Stutz & Sachs, 2018), this special issue can make a strong contribution to our contemporary understanding of the teaching and learning of entrepreneurship and link this form of education with debates about the history of business education more broadly.
Therefore, we invite empirical and conceptual submissions on the following topics and questions, amongst others.
Revisiting the dominant histories of entrepreneurship education and their effects:
- What are the current prevailing historical narratives of entrepreneurship education? Which stories, characters, events, and plots do those histories use? Are there dominant narratives in the past that disappeared again? How and why did they appear, exist, and disappear?
- How have the existent histories of entrepreneurship education been used? Which purposes, aims, and interests did those narratives serve? How do the prevailing histories influence the self-identity of entrepreneurship education research and practice? What can we learn from these histories-and what not (cf. Cummings et al., 2017).
Challenging prevailing narratives with deeper and broader histories:
- What are underexplored or overlooked aspects of the currently dominant histories of entrepreneurship education? What is the history of entrepreneurship education outside North America and Western Europe? What can we learn from incorporating those aspects into the prevailing narratives?
- What educational institutions within and outside higher education offered entrepreneurship education? How was their approach different from contemporary or other past forms of entrepreneurship education?
- What is the historical relationship between management, commercial and other forms of business education with entrepreneurship education? What are the differences and similarities between those forms of education?
- What is the relationship between different forms of entrepreneurship education and different contexts? Why did entrepreneurship initiatives appear in some contexts and not in others?
- How have family entrepreneurs been educated? What characterized family entrepreneurship education, and how is that different from contemporary approaches to entrepreneurship education?
History of entrepreneurship thought and pedagogies; historical consciousness:
- What is entrepreneurship education’s history of thought? What ideas have been influential in the formation of entrepreneurship education initiatives? What other ideas have existed and been forgotten? What can we learn from recovering those (cf. Prieto et al., 2021)?
- What pedagogies have been used to educate entrepreneurs historically? What advantages and disadvantages did those pedagogies have, and how did they shape the image and results of entrepreneurship education?
- What, if any, is the pedagogical role of practicing historical consciousness in educating entrepreneurs (cf. Tennent et al., 2020)?
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