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Title: Entrepreneurial intent of engineering and business undergraduate students
Abstract Background

In recent years, technological innovation and entrepreneurship have been emphasized in engineering education. There is a need to better understand which individual‐ and contextual‐level factors are related to engineering students' entrepreneurial intentions.


This study explores individual and contextual predictors of entrepreneurial intent among undergraduate women and men in engineering and business majors. Entrepreneurial intent is defined as the personal importance that students ascribe to starting a new business or organization.


The participants included 518 engineering and 471 business undergraduates from 51 U.S. colleges and universities. We examined relationships first by discipline and then by gender in each discipline using regression models with interaction terms.


Innovation orientation and participation in entrepreneurship activities tied to intent more strongly for engineering students than for business students; in contrast, being at a research institution and selection of novel goals tied to intent more strongly for business students than for their engineering peers. Among engineering students only, being able to switch gears and apply alternative means for reaching one's goal in the face of setbacks was positively related with women's entrepreneurial intent but not with men's.


Entrepreneurial intent is a function of individual‐level characteristics and academic and social contexts, with some degree of discipline‐specific effects. Diversifying the community of aspiring engineering entrepreneurs is a critical issue that merits attention by the engineering education community.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Journal of Engineering Education
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 316-336
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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