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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    NGT involves five steps: (a) presentation of a stimulus question to participants; (b) silent generation of ideas in writing by each participant working alone; (c) “round-robin” presentation of ideas by participants, with recording on flipchart by the facilitator of these ideas and posting of the flipchart paper on walls surrounding the group; (d) serial discussion of the listed ideas by participants for sole purpose of clarifying their meaning (i.e., no evaluation of ideas is allowed at this point); and (e) implementation of a closed voting process in which each participant is asked to select and rank five ideas from the list, with the results compiled and displayed for review by the group.

  2. 2.

    Note: for Figs. 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6, numbers in parenthesis beneath competencies refer to the total number of votes the competency received during step 5 of NGT.

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Acknowledgments

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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RezaeiZadeh, M., Hogan, M., O’Reilly, J. et al. Core entrepreneurial competencies and their interdependencies: insights from a study of Irish and Iranian entrepreneurs, university students and academics. Int Entrep Manag J 13, 35–73 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11365-016-0390-y

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Keyword

  • Entrepreneurial competencies
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Interactive management (IM)
  • Cross-cultural