|M.Sc Thesis||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management|
|Supervisors:||Prof. Emeritus Erez Miriam|
|Dr. Zehava Rozenblat|
|Full Thesis text|
This research examined the impact of entrepreneurship training (provided by the program Young Entrepreneurs - Israel) on entrepreneurial characteristics of junior high-school students, by designing a controlled field experiment with training group (students that participated in the entrepreneurship program) and control group (matched students who did not participate in the program) and measurement in two time points (the beginning of the program and the end of it) using self-report questionnaires.
The effect of the entrepreneurship training was assessed with respect to (a) initial differences in the entrepreneurial traits (core self-evaluation, need for achievement, risk taking, creativity and personal initiative) between the training and the control groups; (b) longitudinally, by comparing the changes in the behavioral characteristics (entrepreneurial self-efficacy and entrepreneurial knowledge) as a function of time in the program - the beginning and the end of it; and (c) the moderating effect of gender on the impact of the entrepreneurial training on the behavioral characteristics.
With respect to the initial differences between the training and the control groups, we found that the training group had initially higher scores in the entrepreneurial traits than the control group, meaning that even in such a young age, there are clear preferences towards entrepreneurship, anchored in the personality profile of the students.
With respect to the effects of the training on the behavioral characteristics, we couldn't find support for the expected positive effects when tested on the entire sample. Yet, we indeed found differences across gender: boys benefited from the entrepreneurship training much more than girls, as their entrepreneurial self-efficacy strengthened while that of the girls was attenuated; and their entrepreneurial knowledge gain was higher than that of the girls. The differential effect of the program on boys and girls was explained by the theory of the gender role stereotype, suggesting that the exposure to the masculine and competitive business world was experienced by the girls as less congruent with gender role's stereotypes.
Furthermore, our study showed that while entrepreneurial training affect behavioral characteristics, entrepreneurial traits did not change as a result of a one year training program, except for creativity: while there was a significant reduction in creativity for the training group following the program, for the control group there was no significant change. We explained the decline in creativity by the overemphasis in the YE program on systematic thinking relative to the emphasis given to generating new ideas.