Published Online:https://doi.org/10.5465/amle.2019.0201

There is a healthy skepticism regarding whether one can learn entrepreneurship in a business classroom setting. One unique challenge of entrepreneurship education is that at least to some degree, entrepreneurship involves disruptions of the usual business rules, norms, and models. Furthermore, entrepreneurship may not conform to the scientific management rationality that is promoted in most management education. This underscores a dilemma: In a business school, how do we teach a discipline that may not conform to our traditional ideas of rationality?

Prior research has observed a variety of definitions and approaches taken to teaching entrepreneurship, yet scholars have given less consideration to how we are constructing and disseminating knowledge in entrepreneurship and the nature of rationality we are enacting during the educational process. In this field study, we show that three MBA programs address the challenge of entrepreneurship education by enacting distinct attitudes toward knowledge in entrepreneurship—or epistemic stances—each aligning with the notion of scientific rationality to a different extent. We offer the epistemic stance lens as a new avenue for understanding the practiced rationality of business education. Using this lens, we show the breadth of what is “rational” in entrepreneurship education beyond scientific management rationality.

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