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About this book

This book updates the theory and brings together empirical research based on the multidimensional entrepreneurship–professionalism–leadership (EPL) framework for subjective career ‘space’. It also discusses the extension of the original ‘person-centred’ framework to other levels of analysis, for example, ways of considering the EPL (human capital) capacities of an organisation, city, or even nation.

By providing insights into the development of EPL motivations and efficacies over time, the book helps readers appreciate the application of the EPL framework in a wider range of contexts, such as research–innovation–enterprise, healthcare, and pre‐university settings. It also shows how EPL research contributes to a better understanding of leadership and entrepreneurial development.

Table of Contents


Theoretical and Methodological Advances


Chapter 1. Entrepreneurship-Professionalism-Leadership as Dimensions of Career Space: Career Agency in the Macro Context of Boundaryless Careers

The emergence of the boundaryless career paradigm in the 21st century has triggered new approaches to career guidance that aim to strengthen individual agency in the context of a wide variety of work arrangements and career forms. A divide has emerged between the person-centered, psychological approach to careers versus the sociological approach that focusses on macro structural factors in society that shape individuals’ careers. While the former has focused on examining within- and between-person factors like personality traits, skills, new career mindsets and attitudes, the latter has focused on studying different forms of boundaryless careers. Chan et al. (2012) offered an alternative approach; drawing on Kanter’s (1989) ideas, they reframed Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Leadership (EPL) as the dimensions of subjective career space with which individuals may envision or think of their careers. This chapter discusses how Chan et al.’s EPL framework for subjective careers complements recent career education and guidance approaches such as Arthur’s Intelligent Career Theory, and the vocational psychologists’ focus on certain traits, attitudes, and psychological resources. We suggest that the EPL framework presents individuals with a conceptual tool to envision and describe their career journeys in context of the structural dimensions of work and careers that exist in nations and societies. We also discuss the implications of a multidimensional approach in relation to Intelligent Career development.
Kim-Yin Chan, Jeffrey C. Kennedy, Regena Ramaya

Chapter 2. Entrepreneurship-Professionalism-Leadership as a Framework for Careers and Human Capital Across Levels of Social Organization

This chapter presents the EPL framework as a way of conceptualizing individual careers and the multilevel contexts which shape and facilitate them. We suggest ways in which the EPL framework can be used as a common language for considering careers across levels. Starting with a consideration of the EPL development of individuals over time, we discuss how EPL dimensions can relate to the concept of team roles, and how EPL profiles can assist by matching people to roles so as to facilitate skill development at the individual level as well as to benefit team performance. At the organizational level, the relevance of EPL to talent management is discussed, building on work which emphasizes the importance of moving beyond a “leadership pipeline” to a more comprehensive understanding of talent. Cities are seldom considered as contexts for careers, but urban planning has major impacts on employment opportunities, and the quality of working life. At the city level, city plans can influence the mix of entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders in the community, which in turn influences city success and attractiveness. Finally, at the national level, EPL can be used as a framework for considering workforce composition and development priorities.
Jeffrey C. Kennedy, Kim-Yin Chan

Chapter 3. Measurement Equivalence of the Entrepreneurship, Professionalism, and Leadership Career Aspiration Scale

Measurement equivalence is often neglected when conducting research. This is especially the case when scales are used in different contexts that share the same language but have different cultural backgrounds. In this chapter, we examined the measurement equivalence of Entrepreneurship, Professionalism, and Leadership (EPL) career aspiration scale (Chan et al., 2012), which measures EPL intent, motivation, and efficacy, across two English speaking countries with different cultures (Singapore and the United States). Confirmatory factor analysis was used to assess equivalence. Overall, measurement equivalence analysis showed that most of the EPL sub-scales demonstrated configural and metric invariance but not scalar invariance. Despite commonality in language, we found that negatively-worded items were problematic and at times loaded poorly on the hypothesized latent factors. Our results highlight the importance of establishing measurement equivalence when importing scales across cultures and even between cultures that share a common language. The practical implications of these results for scale creation as well as future directions are discussed.
Wei Ming Jonathan Phan, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho, Emma Yoke Loo Sam

Chapter 4. Development of Entrepreneurship-Professionalism-Leadership Motivations Scale for Working Adults Population

In this paper, we report the adaptation and validation of Chan et al. (2012) “Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Leadership” (EPL) motivation scales for use in the working adult population. Three studies were conducted. In the first study, 214 working adults from healthcare, research, innovation and enterprise sectors were surveyed for the development of an initial item set. Data from another 464 adult working samples from similar sectors were collected with the revised version of the measurement. Confirmatory factor analyses showed that the scales had acceptable psychometric properties. Scale means compared across the various survey groupings (e.g., healthcare high-potentials vs. research scientists vs. entrepreneurs vs. administrative staff) seemed to be in expected directions. Moreover, Chan et al.’s finding that the more “multidimensional” an individual’s E, P and L motivations, the stronger their boundaryless mindset and protean career attitudes, was replicated. In the third study, 231 working samples from New Zealand were recruited to check the factor replicability cross-culturally. The potential of the EPL framework for talent development in an innovation economy is discussed.
Moon-Ho Ringo Ho, Kim-Yin Chan

Chapter 5. Latent Difference Score Analysis—Stability and Change in Entrepreneurship-Professionalism-Leadership Aspirations

Chan et al. (2012) have proposed an innovative Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Leadership (EPL) framework for understanding career growth and development in the 21st century. To date, there are no studies examining how EPL aspiration changes over time. This paper attempts to characterize the variation of EPL motivation across time from 1,748 university students using the Latent Difference Score (LDS) approach. Changes in EPL dimensions were found to be inter-related, and differences in the EPL development between Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and non-STEM students were detected.
Jia Lin, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho

Chapter 6. Operationalizing Developmental Readiness via Entrepreneurship, Leadership, and Professionalism Career Dimensions

This chapter seeks to contribute to the emerging literature on developmental readiness (Avolio and Hannah, 2008). First, we propose to broaden the developmental readiness (DR) concept beyond leadership domain to include other viable career tracks (e.g., expert or entrepreneur). To that extent, we use Chan’s et al. (2012) EPL model to represent DR constructs in a multidimensional career space defined by entrepreneurship, professional, and leadership vectors. We also describe and initiate the effort to develop and validate a suite of DR measures that can be readily used in research and practice.
Oleksandr S. Chernyshenko, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho, Kim-Yin Chan, Kang Yang Trevor Yu

Empirical Studies


Chapter 7. A “T-shaped” Metaphor for Holistic Development: Entrepreneurial, Professional and Leadership (EPL) Efficacies Predict Self-perceived Employability

Today, tertiary educational institutions are especially concerned with the work-readiness and employability of their graduates beyond mere education for education’s sake. More than academic results, university graduates are expected to possess transferable skills, life-long learning and self-managing career skills and mindsets beyond their technical, vocational or professional knowledge and skills to navigate highly dynamic job/labor markets. Chan et al. (2012) first introduced the Entrepreneurial, Professional and Leadership or EPL framework using the “dimensions of boundaryless career space” as a heuristic to help individuals visualize how they can advance their careers simultaneously in E, P and L dimensions. This chapter suggests how the EPL framework can relate to the popular “T-shaped” metaphor in the popular human resources literature, where “T-shaped” is used to describe the need for both breadth (transferable) and depth (specialized/technical) skills needed for various reasons from collaboration to employability. We present empirical evidence to show how E, P and L efficacies contribute to the prediction of self-perceived employability in a sample of 5,874 university students, as a way to justify how individuals can think of developing their E, P and L skills to ensure employability in the future. We discuss how universities can provide future graduates with more holistic T-shaped EPL development for greater employability and career adaptability.
Kim-Yin Chan, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho, Regena Ramaya

Chapter 8. Measuring Preference for Non-standard Work: Relationships with EPL Motivations, Efficacies, Perceived Employability, and Career Adaptability

We report the development of a new self-report measure of individual differences in Preferences for Non-Standard Work (PNSW), and an effort to explore relationships between PNSW and Entrepreneurial-Professional-Professional motivations and efficacies, alongside measures of perceived employability and career adaptabilities. Using data collected from a sample of 225 undergraduate students, confirmatory factor analysis showed that individuals can discriminate between five forms of nonstandard work as follows: independent contracting, outsourced work , temporary or part-time work, working in a “start-up”, and external deployment. Correlation and regression analyses revealed that while the preference for outsourced, temporary/part-time work and external deployments were not predicted by EPL motivations, efficacies, or career adaptability factors, entrepreneurial motivation and efficacy were significantly predictive of preferences for independent contracting and start-up work, as one would expect. The preference for start-up work was also weakly but significantly correlated with all four career adaptability factors, with overall career adaptability correlating significantly with start-up preference at r = 0.26. The findings are discussed in relation to understanding individual differences in Preferences for Non-Standard Work (PNSW), and the use of such measures in career counselling.
Kang Yang Trevor Yu, Kim-Yin Chan, Jia Lin

Chapter 9. The Influence of Values on Entrepreneurial, Professional, and Career Motivations

Organizations increasingly expect people to move between roles which involve varying combinations of professional (vocational), leadership, and entrepreneurial responsibilities. While there has been considerable research into the relationship between values and leadership style, we know little about how values contribute to entrepreneurial, professional and leadership motivations. This study of 272 undergraduate students from a Singapore public university suggests that both universal and cultural values can distinguish between these motivations. Leadership and entrepreneurial motivation share a basis in personal achievement and stimulation values, while entrepreneurial motivation is distinguished by low emphasis on values of conformity and security. Entrepreneurial motivation also appeared grounded in collectivist values, while leadership motivation seems to be underpinned by a desire to benefit others. Professional motivation shares little in common with the other two types; it is characterized by hedonism and uncertainty avoidance, raising questions about the extent to which students pursuing vocational or professional careers may be willing to explore entrepreneurial and leadership options.
Jeffrey C. Kennedy, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho

Applications in Innovation and Enterprise


Chapter 10. Entrepreneurship-Professionalism-Leadership: A Framework for Nurturing and Managing the R&D Workforce for a National Innovation Ecosystem

Today, many developed countries around the world are embracing science, technology and innovation as an important engine for economic growth. Innovation is fundamentally a human activity and a social one that involves more than any single individual’s efforts. It is thus important not only to study core innovation processes but also the approach to nurturing and managing the people in the innovation system. In this chapter, we highlight four unique challenges of innovation arising from the unique management and development needs of highly specialized scientific/engineering workers for innovation, given the motivational complexity and diversity of this workforce. We propose that Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Leadership (EPL) can serve as a broad framework to specify the dimensions of talent needed for innovation to succeed at different levels of analysis from individuals to teams, units, organizations and even the national innovation ecosystem. We discuss potential applications of EPL framework for innovation workforce development and human resource management and call for more research using this framework to better understand and thereby enhance the nurturing and management of R&D personnel for the innovation economy.
Kim-Yin Chan, Kwee Hoon Lim, Marilyn A. Uy

Chapter 11. Using the EPL Framework to Understand Career Preferences of STEM Researchers

Singapore’s focus on innovation requires a better understanding of the career preferences and career development for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) doctoral-level graduates. To that end, we conducted and report a survey on the preferences of 310 STEM doctoral students and post-doc researchers for academic teaching versus R&D careers in various settings including university, government, industry and start-up contexts. We found interesting patterns in how our participants’ self-reported career preferences may have changed since the start of their doctoral education. Additionally, faculty culture shaped participants’ career preferences, and meaningful relationships were observed between these preferences and participants’ entrepreneurial, professional and leadership (EPL) efficacy and motivations. We discuss the findings from this study in relation to enhancing the career development aspect of STEM doctoral education as part of the broader innovation workforce development.
Terri S-M. Tan, Marilyn A. Uy, Emma Yoke Loo Sam

Chapter 12. NTU Career Aspiration System: Providing “Boundaryless” Career Development and Feedback to University Students for Employability in the 21st Century

This chapter begins by documenting the origins of Chan et al.’s (2012a) early Entrepreneurship, Professionalism and Leadership (EPL) research, which began with an annual university-wide survey of students’ entrepreneurial motivation. Following that research, we embarked on a 3-year project to transform the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Career Aspiration Survey into an IT-based career development and feedback System, whose goal was to provide students with career development and feedback based on EPL framework. Original career development content was developed that aimed to help NTU’s students to better understand the increasingly “boundaryless” and Protean nature of careers in the 21st century as part of supplementing conventional vocational guidance and job matching services already provided by the University. We conclude by sharing a vision of how universities can better support the life-long career education and development of its students for greater employability in a more complex and changing world of work.
Kim-Yin Chan, Regena Ramaya, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho

Chapter 13. An Examination of Entrepreneurial, Professional and Leadership (EPL) Career Aspirations Among Adolescent Youth

In this study, we incorporated the Entrepreneurship, Professional, and Leadership (EPL) framework into social cognitive theory in an attempt to better understand adolescent career aspirations. Specifically, we explored how encouragement, as reported by the adolescent and the corresponding parent at Time 1, shaped the respective E, P, and L self-efficacy and resulting E, P, and L career outcome measures (i.e., motivation and intent) three months later at Time 2. Data from 252 students indicated that parental encouragement played a positive role in increasing the adolescent’s career self-efficacy, motivation, and intent, with self-efficacy mediating some of the relationships. We also found gender differences in professional career intent and leadership self-efficacy. Our findings suggest that encouragement from parents is critical in shaping career development of adolescents particularly in the Singapore context. Given the nontrivial parental influence, government initiatives aiming to promote entrepreneurship among adolescents must involve their parents.
Bianca Ni Ying Kang, Marilyn A. Uy

Chapter 14. EPL Career Aspirations and Early-Stage Entrepreneurship Activities: Insights from Singapore Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Adult Population Survey 2012–2014

This chapter aims to extend past research on predicting early entrepreneurial activities by studying the role of entrepreneurship, professionalism, and leadership (EPL) career aspirations (Chan et al., 2012a, b). Using data from Singapore Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Adult Population Survey (N = 6002), we show entrepreneurship (E) career aspirations to have positive relationships with early entrepreneurship activities, while professional (P) career aspirations to have negative relationships with early entrepreneurship activities. Moreover, both E and P career aspirations exhibited incremental validities even after demographics and entrepreneurial attitudes were included in the regression model. These patterns of findings are similar to those obtained with past research using university student samples, suggesting that the EPL career aspirations model may generalize beyond university settings.
Oleksandr S. Chernyshenko, Marilyn A. Uy, Weiting Jiang

Chapter 15. Examining the Influence of Individual, Social Cognitive and Environmental Factors on Students’ Entrepreneurial Intentions: Application of the Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) Framework Within a Multidimensional Career Space

Chan et al. (2011, 2012) proposed the Entrepreneurial, Professionalism, and Leadership (EPL) framework to characterize one’s lifelong career evolutions within the EPL dimensions. However, the current EPL framework does not specify how one’s EPL aspirations may develop, nor does it examine the relevant factors that may facilitate or hinder the development of EPL aspirations. This paper adopts the Social Cognitive Career Theory—to delineate how one’s career decisions—, as defined by the Entrepreneurial, Professionalism, and Leadership (EPL) career framework, can be facilitated and highlight factors that may affect the career choices. In particular, we examined the influence of individual, social cognitive, and environmental factors on the development of 396 university students’ entrepreneurial intentions and the process of career choice-making through structural equation modelling technique. Consistent with earlier findings, the results of this study found support for hypotheses concerning core SCCT variables (self-efficacy, outcome expectations, goals, and interests) while suggesting a need to include additional constructs (such as individual differences and contextual factors). Implications and suggestions for future research on the SCCT choice model and its application within the multidimensional EPL framework are discussed.
Keren-Happuch Fan Fen E, Moon-Ho Ringo Ho


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