Skip to main content

Examining the impact of small business institute participation on entrepreneurial attitudes (Harris et al. 2008)

Citation

Harris, M., Gibson, S., & Taylor, S. (2008). Examining the impact of small business institute participation on entrepreneurial attitudes. Journal of Small Business Strategy, 18(2), 57-75.

Highlights

    • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of attending an undergraduate class as part of the Small Business Institute (SBI), an entrepreneurial program, on students’ entrepreneurial attitudes.
    • The authors compared students’ entrepreneurial attitudes before and after taking an SBI class in one of six universities across the United States. Entrepreneurial attitudes were measured using the Entrepreneurial Attitudes Orientation survey.
    • The study found a positive relationship between participation in an SBI class and students’ entrepreneurial attitudes.
    • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors compared the attitudes of students measured at a single point before and after they participated in the class, but did not compare these changes in attitudes with those of a comparison group of students who did not take an SBI class. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the SBI class; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Intervention Examined

SBI Courses

Features of the Intervention

The authors did not describe the exact components and requirements of the courses at each university, but stated that generally SBI courses allowed students to work on a project with local business owners, many of whom were entrepreneurs.

Features of the Study

The study examined outcomes for students enrolled in an SBI undergraduate course at six universities in various regions of the United States. To analyze the effect of the program on students’ entrepreneurial attitudes, the authors compared the entrepreneurial attitudes of 216 students before and after taking an undergraduate SBI class. The authors measured attitudes using the Entrepreneurial Attitudes Orientation survey, which was organized into four key measures: achievement in business, innovation in business, perceived personal control of business outcomes, and perceived self-esteem in business. Survey items within each of the four measures required students to indicate how strongly they agreed with a statement, on a 10-point scale.

Findings

    • The study found that students had significantly higher entrepreneurial attitudes after the SBI course, compared with before the course, for measures of achievement in business (0.24 points), innovation in business (0.33 points), perceived personal control of business outcomes (0.33 points), and perceived self-esteem in business (1.27 points).

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors compared the attitudes of students measured before and after they took an SBI class. However, they did not compare those changes in attitudes with those of a comparison group of students who did not participate in the class. Thus, the changes in attitudes observed might reflect natural maturation of students who are motivated to take an entrepreneurial class or other factors taking place in their schools at the same time, and not the SBI class.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the authors compared the attitudes of students measured at a single point before and after they participated in the class, but did not compare these changes in attitudes with those of a comparison group of students who did not take an SBI class. This means we are not confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the SBI class; other factors are likely to have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

April 2016