The Emergence of an Entrepreneurship Profession: Entrepreneurship Education Expectations vs Outcomes
Entrepreneurship has been a growing field within the university context. Several engineering faculties have created dedicated graduate programs to teach entrepreneurship as a distinct discipline. To better understand why these programs exist, how they acquire legitimacy, and what type of career their graduates pursue, we studied programs at a prestigious Canadian university. We analyzed the content and structure of the program and conducted more than 35 interviews including faculty and alumni that graduated between two and ten years prior. employing theories of emergence and holding environments, we analyzed our data, discovering a new profession that we identify as an “entrepreneurship profession.” Consistent with the normative isomorphic effect of educational organizations in institutional theory (Greenwood & Suddaby, 2006; Meyer & Rowan, 1977), we observed programs initially designed to graduate individuals who begin new start-up enterprises, had the unintentional outcome of creating the professionalization of entrepreneurship as an instructional and motivational career. We thus examine the emergent process and credentialing of entrepreneurship promotion as a new professional field.