In Pursuit of a New 'Enterprise' and 'Entrepreneurship' Paradigm for Learning: Creative Destruction, New Values, New Ways of Doing Things and New Combinations of Knowledge

37 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2003


The paper argues for a new approach to the study of entrepreneurship and a new paradigm as a basis for entrepreneurship education. It also argues that such an approach is unlikely to come from university business schools. It needs an organisational revolution which, however, can be managed within a university as a whole. The paper is divided into two parts. The first explores the political imperative in Europe for development of the 'enterprise culture' and attributes this mainly to pressures for greater international competitiveness. The educational response is then examined and, with the help of a number of recent surveys, some of the key issues pertaining to the development of entrepreneurship education in higher education institutions in the UK and Europe are reviewed. The second part attempts to address the imperative at a more conceptual level. The pursuit of entrepreneurial behaviour is seen as a function of the degree of uncertainty and complexity in the task and broader environment and/or the desire of an individual, in pursuit of an opportunity or problem solution, to create it. It is argued that the key trigger for the growing interest in entrepreneurship is globalization. The way in which this has impacted on the role of the state, the organization of business activity and public services and on individuals to create greater uncertainty and complexity in the environment is explored. This leads to a conclusion that a wide range of stakeholders are being confronted with the need for entrepreneurial behaviour, for example, priests, doctors, teachers, policemen, pensioners and community workers and, indeed, potentially everyone in the community. Entrepreneurship is therefore not solely the prerogative of business.

It follows that the traditional focus of entrepreneurship education on business, and new venture management in particular, provides an inadequate basis for response to societal needs. Moreover, the pervasive ideology of the 'heroic' entrepreneur can be seen as a dysfunctional when viewed against the needs of a wider community. The wider notion of 'enterprise' is therefore introduced as a means of moving away from the hitherto narrow paradigm. How this relates to the development of the individual and the design of enterprising organizations is explored. The paper explores the challenge of this broader context by reference to a number of issues central to the globalization debate including: culture, market liberalization, forms of governance and democracy. It then links these with the ontological and epistemological challenge to education. It concludes with discussion as to how this relates to the traditional concept of a university and argues that universities as a whole are in a much better position to respond to the challenge than are business schools.

Suggested Citation

Gibb, Allan, In Pursuit of a New 'Enterprise' and 'Entrepreneurship' Paradigm for Learning: Creative Destruction, New Values, New Ways of Doing Things and New Combinations of Knowledge. Available at SSRN:

Allan Gibb (Contact Author)

University of Durham

Mill Hill Lane
Durham, Durham DH1 3HY
United Kingdom

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