Title

Transformation from Entrepreneur to Happeneur: Disrupting the Status Quo

Date of Degree

5-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Program

Education

Advisor

Francis Musa Boakari

Advisor

Richard Gray

Advisor

Sharon Herbers

Abstract

This qualitative program evaluation was conducted to determine the efficacy and usefulness of a two-pronged Internet business-development education program in promoting the entrepreneurial competencies of a group of executive and business coaches who participated in the 26-week-long Charter Happeneurship Program (CHP). Eight CHP members, 4 females and 4 males, whose ages ranged from 35 to 65, participated in the study. Interviews were conducted with the participants, who were located throughout the United States and in 3 international locations. The analysis revealed 4 major themes and 14 sub-themes that related to the perceived success of the program. The 4 major themes were: (a) entrepreneurial background, (b) delivery of program, (c) delivery of instruction, and (d) outcomes. The majority of the participants reported less-than-positive feelings about the efficacy and usefulness of the Internet technology skills acquisition component of the CHP in terms of how well it met their Internet entrepreneurship needs and expectations. Whether participants viewed this segment as positive or negative depended on their perceptions about the course curriculum and the delivery of instruction, their comfort with technology, and the level of support they received. By contrast, all participants viewed the professional development component as positive and satisfactory. This module offered them the opportunity for enhanced self-knowledge, critical self-reflection, and greater insights into their entrepreneurial propensities, strengths, and weaknesses. Overall this transformative learning experience stimulated a desire among the participants to learn more about what Internet entrepreneurial strategies work best. Despite challenges faced during the active CHP engagement, the participants still reported motivation to take action on their Internet entrepreneurial visions. The conclusion drawn from this study was entrepreneurship education programs could offer opportunities for aspiring and nascent entrepreneurs to shorten their learning curve and improve upon their entrepreneurial acumen through hands-on practice within a structured learner-centered setting. Recommendations focus on (a) the need for key stakeholders to ensure compatibility between what is being taught and supporting the needs of the learners, and (b) the importance of conducting ongoing evaluations and assessments to obtain feedback to benchmark "what works" and for developing and delivering effective curricula adequate for the task in entrepreneurship course offerings.

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