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This book focuses on the specific traits and nature of entrepreneurial human capital and the extent to which it can be stimulated by entrepreneurship education – especially when these activities combine collaborative practices and innovation. It includes a comprehensive collection of articles on how entrepreneurship education can be structured, providing theoretical reflections as well as empirical evidence. As such it contributes to the ongoing debate on the teachability of entrepreneurial skills and the role of innovation and collaboration in the design of educational programs that aim to spread entrepreneurial human capital.




The last decades have witnessed a number of structural changes (such as increasing demand for skill, population ageing and new waves of technological progress) that are posing new challenges to firms, also in terms of entrepreneurial human capital. In this context, entrepreneurship education plays a crucial role for the development of entrepreneurial skills, including the value of collaboration in the business activities. This book focuses the attention on entrepreneurial human capital by investigating to what extent it can be stimulated by entrepreneurship education through activities that combine collaborative practices and innovation. This introductory chapter provides a background for the book, a brief overview of its main contents, pointing out, for each chapter, the main research questions, methodology and results. Finally, it proposes some avenues for future research on the relationship between entrepreneurial human capital, innovation and collaborative practices.

Giulio Bosio, Tommaso Minola, Federica Origo, Stefano Tomelleri

Structural Changes and Entrepreneurial Human Capital


Is the Nature of Jobs Changing? The Role of Technological Progress and Structural Change in the Labour Market

We examine the process of radical transformation that during the last decades has changed labor markets in developed countries and, in particular, the nature of jobs. Indeed, the advances in ICT and robotics have generated the concern that automation could substitute people in a wide range of activities, therefore contributing to the potential increase in the fraction of jobs at risk in the next future. However, empirical evidence on labour demand in the majority of OECD countries emphasizes a process of labour market polarization that consists in the hollowing out of routine occupations accompanied by a quasi-simultaneous rise of non-routine occupations, both high skilled conceptual and manual low skilled ones. This process has been explained by the routinization hypothesis, whereby computer-based technologies allow machines to perform repetitive tasks and replace workers in routine jobs where such tasks are prevalent. In this perspective, structural and occupational changes are naturally interwined with technological change; their understanding can therefore help unravelling the features of new technologies and how they can influence demand for skills. In such a setting, entrepreneurship can play an important role as driver of innovation and employment growth.

Giulio Bosio, Annalisa Cristini

Mutual Gains? The Role for Employee Engagement in the Modern Workplace

I examine the history of employee engagement and how it has been characterised by thinkers in sociology, psychology, management and economics. I suggest that, while employers may choose to invest in employee engagement, there are alternative management strategies that may be profit-maximising. I identify four elements of employee engagement—job ‘flow’, autonomous working, involvement in decision-making at workplace or firm level, and financial participation—and present empirical evidence on their incidence and employee perceptions of engagement, drawing primarily from evidence in Britain. I consider the evidence regarding the existence of mutual gains and present new evidence on the issue. I find a non-linear relationship between human resource management (HRM) intensity and various employee job attitudes. I also find the intensity of HRM use and employee engagement are independently associated with improvements in workplace performance. I consider the implications of the findings for policy and employment practice in the future.

Alex Bryson

Entrepreneurs’ Export Orientation and Growth Aspirations: The Moderating Role of Individual Human Capital

We investigate the effect of entrepreneurs’ export orientation on growth aspirations, contingent on their level of human capital. We argue that the higher the entrepreneurs’ export orientation, the higher their growth aspirations. Importantly, we also suggest that these aspirations will vary depending on two endowments of individual human capital. To test our hypotheses, we employ a multilevel model analysis, using a combined dataset drawn from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and the World Bank in 78 countries. The results show that entrepreneurs’ export orientation does not significantly affect growth aspirations. However, we find that its effect on aspirations is significantly higher for those entrepreneurs holding greater levels of both higher education and entrepreneurial experience. Implications from these findings are discussed.

Joan-Lluís Capelleras, Victor Martin-Sanchez, Josep Rialp, Waleed Shleha

Collaboration and Entrepreneurship Education: Requirements and Perspective

In a collaborative economy, resources are shared and meeting with others produces a collective capital that generates a value. This creates a social exchange space, where members establish a communal identity through their mutual cooperation. For this reason, networking, working in groups and community actions are methods that must be dealt with strategic skills. However, neither the technology nor the technique are enough to make people work together. Therefore, in relation to contemporary theories of human cooperation Aristotle’s concept of philìa becomes important in the modern political context and collaboration and entrepreneurship are really successful only if the debate on competencies is preceded by some prerequisites, which are a conditio sine qua non for ensuring the effectiveness of the technical skills themselves. The road had already been marked in the fourth century BC by the Greek historian Xenophon in his Socratic dialogue Oeconomicus, which strongly draws the essential antecedence of ethics in every speech about management. But how much of this “classical” perspective remained—in terms of awareness and effective use—related to the word “competence”? In 2006 the European Commission started a discussion about the increase of entrepreneurial spirit and several governments aim even more at fostering self-employment and job creation by investing in entrepreneurial education not only at the secondary education level, but also at the higher education level. Therefore, recovering those prerequisites, identified by Xenophon and which involve a sphere of values, allows to embrace and revive a pedagogical perspective centered on the human person.

Francesco Magni, Alessandra Mazzini

Collaboration and Innovation in Entrepreneurship Education Practices


Entrepreneurship Education as a Service

This chapter addresses the extension of entrepreneurship education across disciplines and divisions on a university campus. We draw on service science theory to examine how such academic programs may be designed, implemented and assessed. The experience at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in the United States serves as a case study, which we review using the Service Science Canvas, a tool for analysis that incorporates the common elements of service systems. Besides making a methodological contribution to the entrepreneurship literature, the framework developed in this chapter can be used for strategic planning by university leaders and program directors.

Oleg V. Pavlov, Frank Hoy

Collaborative Practices and Multidisciplinary Research: The Dialogue Between Entrepreneurship, Management, and Data Science

Digital technologies and their applications are systematically altering established practices and making new ones emerge in different realms of society. Research in social sciences in general and management in particular is no exception, and several examples that span various fields are coming into the spotlight not only from scholarly communities but also the popular press. In this chapter, we focus on how management and entrepreneurship research can benefit from ICT technologies and data science protocols. First, we discuss recent trends in management and data science research to identify some commonalities. Second, we combine both perspectives and present some practical examples arising from several collaborative projects that address university–industry collaborations, the impact of technology-based activities, the measurement of scientific productivity, performance measurement, and business analytics. Implications for using data science in entrepreneurship and management research are discussed.

Riccardo Fini, Monica Bartolini, Stefano Benigni, Paolo Ciancarini, Angelo Di Iorio, Alan Johnson, Marcello Maria Mariani, Silvio Peroni, Francesco Poggi, Einar Rasmussen, Riccardo Silvi, Maurizio Sobrero, Laura Toschi

What Happened Next? A Follow-Up Study of the Long-Term Relevance and Impact of a Collaborative Research Project

Focusing on the impact of management research has increasingly triggered reflections on collaborative modalities that may generate more engaged and impactful research. Continuing this debate, this chapter aims to contribute to foundational knowledge in the realm of collaborative research. The social nature of the collaborative relationship and process, as well as criteria for impact and the role of key actors, appear to enhance the generation of relevant results, determining impactful courses of action that develop even in the long term. This chapter draws on follow-up interviews on the long-term relevance and impact of an earlier collaborative research project, illustrating the relevance of actionable knowledge and its long-term impact in an organisation. In this context, the discussion emphasises the social nature of the collaboration, while the implications focus on relationships between collaborative research and the development of soft skills and entrepreneurial human capital.

Stefano Cirella

Enhancing Collaboration: Does a Game Make a Difference?

In recent decades, collaboration has become increasingly central in the management strategies of private companies due to the complexity of organizational design and workflow and the heterogeneity of professional profiles and knowledge domains. Collaboration is also relevant for public institutions, where the progressive reduction of resources requires an increasingly cooperative approach among actors who are supposed to follow the same socio-economic orientation for the “common good”. Given the growing attention towards this topic, this study implemented and tested an educational tool for stimulating collaborative behaviours and attitudes. The tool is named Totem & Tribe, and it is a sociological-rooted educational game. For testing the game’s reliability and effectiveness in shaping collaborative behaviours and attitudes, a mixed sample of students and entrepreneurs was asked to play within a university setting. The participants were first-year students in Economics and Education at the University of Bergamo and entrepreneurs who participated in the Executive Education Programme organized by the Department of Management Engineering of the same university. Participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire with several questions regarding different aspects of collaboration and competition. The same questionnaire was administered before and after the game (pre and post test). This chapter presents in detail the theoretical and pragmatic characteristics of the game, the testing procedure (design, sample and method) and the main results.

Mara Grasseni, Roberto Lusardi, Stefano Tomelleri
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