Conceptualizing context in entrepreneurship education: a literature review

Mette Lindahl Thomassen, Karen Williams Middleton, Michael Breum Ramsgaard, Helle Neergaard, Lorraine Warren

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


Purpose – Context impacts the design and practice of entrepreneurship education, but there is limited focus on
context in entrepreneurship education literature. The purpose of this paper is to review the entrepreneurship
education literature to understand how context has been addressed, derives contextual elements fromprioritized
literature and explores how context can be adapted to and designed with in entrepreneurship education.
Design/methodology/approach – A systematic literature review is undertaken to explore context in
entrepreneurship education literature. Context entrepreneurship education yielded 239 items. After refinement,
232 entrepreneurship education associated publications were reviewed by the team of authors. Using selection
criteria, 26 prioritized publications were analyzed and categorized according to a theoretical framework.
Findings – Context has been addressed both conceptually and empirically, quantitatively and qualitatively,
and can be categorized across three sociological phenomena levels – micro, meso and macro. Within these
levels, more specific context elements emerge from the entrepreneurship education literature. The findings
assert that while context is highly influential in relation to entrepreneurship education, it is arbitrarily
described, and holds a variety of documented and diffuse elements. Educators have a limited span of control
in relation to context elements, however, for the most parts elements can be adapted to or designed with.
Finally, due to the influence of context it is difficult to identify a universal best practice of entrepreneurship
education because there simply is no ceteris paribus.
Research limitations/implications – Contextual elements which emerged from the literature consider
various subjects, spaces, structures and networks. Context is complex and has had limited treatment in
entrepreneurship education literature, thus additional analysis and experimentation is necessary.
Practical implications – Context shapes understanding and influences learning. Addressing entrepreneurship
education across three levels – micro, meso and macro – and through four framing questions – who, what, where
and when – guides educators in how context influences and can be used when designing education.
Originality/value – The paper gives new insight into how context is addressed in entrepreneurship
education literature, and how this can influence educational design.
TidsskriftInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
Udgave nummer5
Sider (fra-til)863-886
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 2020


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