Core entrepreneurial competencies and their interdependencies: insights from a study of Irish and Iranian entrepreneurs, university students and academics

  • Morteza RezaeiZadeh
  • Michael Hogan
  • John O’Reilly
  • James Cunningham
  • Eamonn Murphy


The purpose of this paper is to advance our understanding of core entrepreneurial competencies and their interdependencies. Developing entrepreneurial competencies is increasingly seen as important to foster entrepreneurship. Studies to date have highlighted different entrepreneurial competencies in the context of different sectors, regions and countries. However, there has been a lack of consensus in relation to the perceived relative importance of core entrepreneurial competences and their interdependencies among students, academic and entrepreneurs. Our paper focuses on two key questions: first, what are the core entrepreneurial competencies that need to be developed in educational contexts? Second, what are the interdependencies between these entrepreneurial competencies that need to be developed in educational contexts? Using a collective intelligence methodology a comparative study of Iran and Ireland was undertaken that involved three stakeholder groups of students, academics and entrepreneurs. This methodology was used to identify, rank, and structure entrepreneurial competencies considered important for university students. The results of the study indicated that productive thinking, motivation, interpersonal skills and leadership are core entrepreneurial competences that need to be developed in educational contexts. Findings also highlight critical interdependencies between entrepreneurial competencies and the relative influence of different competencies across groups and regions. We outline the implications of our findings for designing a curriculum for improving students’ entrepreneurial competencies.


Entrepreneurial competencies Entrepreneurship Interactive management (IM) Cross-cultural 



The authors of this paper wish to thank Mr Michael Hennessy, Education Programmes Manager of Enterprise Research Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland, as well as Mr Mohsen Ansari, Senior Researcher at University of Tehran, Iran, for their kind attention and supports in organising the five IM sessions which have been conducted by this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Morteza RezaeiZadeh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Hogan
    • 3
  • John O’Reilly
    • 2
  • James Cunningham
    • 4
  • Eamonn Murphy
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of EducationShahid Beheshti UniversityTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Education and Professional StudiesUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland
  3. 3.School of Psychology, NUIGalwayIreland
  4. 4.Newcastle Business SchoolNorthumbria UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  5. 5.Enterprise Research CentreUniversity of LimerickLimerickIreland

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