Original Research

Establishing student perceptions of an entrepreneur using word associations

Jasmine E. Goliath, Shelley M. Farrington, Shelley B. Saunders
Acta Commercii | Vol 14, No 2 | a239 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v14i2.239 | © 2014 Jasmine E. Goliath, Shelley M. Farrington, Shelley B. Saunders | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2013 | Published: 09 May 2014

About the author(s)

Jasmine E. Goliath, Department of Business Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Shelley M. Farrington, Department of Business Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Shelley B. Saunders, Department of Business Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: To understand entrepreneurial behaviour, it is important to understand the image or perceptions associated with entrepreneurship.

Research purpose: To identify the image or perceptions that students have of an entrepreneur.

Motivation for study: By establishing the image or perceptions that students have of an entrepreneur, insights could be provided into the factors influencing them to become entrepreneurs or not.

Research approach, design and method: A qualitative projective technique, namely continuous word association, was adopted. Convenience sampling was used and 163 students participated. The words generated were coded into categories by searching for themes and words of a similar nature. The total words generated, the frequencies of recurring words, the number of different types of words, first words recalled and the average number of words recalled were established.

Main findings: The students participating in the study have a good understanding of the general nature of an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship; an entrepreneur is perceived as someone who is a creative and innovative risk-taker, who owns a business involved in the selling of goods and services.

Practical/managerial implications: Future entrepreneurs need to be aware that, in addition to several innate attributes, successful entrepreneurs have learned skills and competencies. It is also important that educators of entrepreneurship create a realistic image of what it is like to be an entrepreneur, and that both positive and negative aspects are highlighted.

Contribution/value-add: By identifying the image or perceptions of an entrepreneur held by students, the marketing of entrepreneurship as a desirable career choice can be enhanced.


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