Teacher Entrepreneurial Orientation – Part 1

Author’s Note: This summary is from my 31,000 word, 151 page doctoral dissertation on Teacher Entrepreneurial Orientation. Since it would be cruel and unusual punishment to ask anyone to read that, I have broken it into three approximately 400 word sections. If you are a doctoral student interested in this line of work, I would be happy to share EO resources with you. Contact me via the form on the About page.

Where Are The Risk Takers? Using The Entrepreneurial Orientation Construct To Identify Innovative And Proactive Teachers

Entrepreneurs in education have altered the services and the delivery of services that the public expects to receive from traditional school systems. Many current innovations require teachers to be more entrepreneurial. Research indicates that entrepreneurial characteristics that contribute to success in other professions may predict success for entrepreneurs in education. Yet, most personality profiles of teachers reveal they do not share entrepreneurs’ risk taking propensities. Thus, promising educational innovations may not be realized because there are insufficient numbers of entrepreneurial teachers to implement them. This quantitative study of 729 California teachers adapted an Entrepreneurial Orientation instrument, widely used in management research, to determine whether teachers in charter, traditional public, and private schools differ along scales of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking.

Many policy makers see innovation as a lever for change in public education. Education entrepreneurs have been investigated by numerous researchers: (Childress, 2010; Hess, 2006, 2008, 2010; Lake, 2008; Lubienski, 2003, 2009). Teacher leadership has been subject to widespread focus (Darling-Hammond, 2000; Schmoker, 2011). Farris-Berg et al. (2013) posit that teachers could be the social entrepreneurs we need for K-12. They found teacher partnerships design stunningly different approaches to teaching and learning and create management cultures that emulate those of high-performing organizations. Sears, Kennedy and Kaye (1997) found teacher personalities are not likely to lead reform movements, or become tomorrow’s educational leaders. (Clark & Guest, 1995) suggest that more risk-taking, visionaries, and trouble-shooters will be needed, as teachers expand their roles.

Carsrud & Brannback (2011) maintain that research on personality traits can be a way to understand entrepreneurial behavior. Study of entrepreneurial orientation as a construct has evolved and expanded over thirty years. (Rauch, Wiklund, Lumpkin, & Frese, 2009) This meta-analysis suggested that EO is a significant predictor of performance. Several EO researchers (Bolton & Lane, 2012; Covin & Slevin, 1991; Miller, 1983; and Rauch, Frese, Koenig, & Wang, 2009) argue for conducting inquiry with the original three dimensions of innovativeness, proactiveness, and risk taking. Others (Basso, Fayolle, & Bouchard, 2009; Chadwick, Barnett, & Dwyer, 2008; Covin  & Lumpkin, 2011; Dess, Pinkham, & Yang, 2011; and Lumpkin & Dess, 1996) claim the Entrepreneurial Orientation construct should be expanded to a larger set of five dimensions: autonomy, innovativeness, proactiveness, risk taking and competitive aggressiveness.


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