2019-Carol Jarvis

Developing an entrepreneurial mindset: The impact of team learning

Principal Investigator: Prof. Carol Jarvis (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Co-Investigators: Dr. Hugo Gaggiotti (University of the West of England, Bristol), Dr. Selen Kars-Unluoglu (University of the West of England, Bristol)

Project summary: The changing nature of work attaches greater significance, by organisations, entrepreneurs and students alike, to the development of entrepreneurial capacities, with growing interest in entrepreneurial mindset and psychological capital (self-efficacy, hope, optimism, resilience), shown to increase job performance and satisfaction.

Through a collaborative, mixed methods research design, this project sought to understand key capacities underpinning an entrepreneurial mindset and therole of the learning environment and approach for its development. The research setting was a programme developed in partnership between a university and a specialist community Trust located in an area of low participation in higher education, which takes an enquiry-led, team-based and emancipatory approach to learning entrepreneurship through doing (completing, reflecting on and evidencing learning from live projects).

Through co-creation workshops, focussed discussion groups and observationswhich utilised a range of creative methods, the project team, together with learners and staff in an entrepreneurship programme and external stakeholders from the wider entrepreneurship ecosystem, identified 12 capacities underpinning an entrepreneurial mindset: risk-taking, grit, positivity, adaptability, creativity, drive, resilience, confidence, passion, motivation, networker, willingness to learn from failure. Inquiry-led, team-based, student-centred pedagogies have been identified as a primary accelerator in development of such an entrepreneurial mindset. A psychological capital questionnaire administered indicated students’ development was faster and greater compared to students in traditional, content-led, theory-driven, business management programmes.

The project provided rich insights into a 360-degree understanding of an entrepreneurial mindset by juxtaposing experiences of entrepreneurs, student entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship educators and researchers and considering the implications for learner and educator development.