'Sometimes, the mouse gets eaten.’ . Initiating a boundary-spanning study on competitions in entrepreneurship education

Catherine Brentnall, Iván Diego Rodríguez, Nigel Culkin

Research output: Working paper

96 Downloads (Pure)


Competitions are a highly visible practice and an enthusiastically promoted model in entrepreneurship education policy. However, studies on the effects of competitive pedagogy in entrepreneurship education are notable by their absence. For example, a recent meta-analysis of entrepreneurship education literature (Bae et al., 2014) revealed that of all the moderating factors utilised by researchers - economic status, gender, education of parents etc. - no study, at any level of education could be found that investigated the effects of an intervention controlling for ‘winners’ and ‘losers.’ Within this context, this authoring team, combining practitioners and an academic, aim to initiate an exploration of competitions in entrepreneurship education which spans the boundaries of rigour and relevance, the practical and academic (Gulati, 2007).
The research philosophy and logic of scientific realism (Pawson, 2006), is harnessed in this paper to analyse European policy and guidance over a ten-year period in order to make explicit the taken-for-granted assumptions which underpin the promotion and use of competitions in entrepreneurship education and policy. This process identifies that competitions are described as: effective for motivating, rewarding and inspiring learners; an effective way to develop the entrepreneurial skills of learners and, finally, are an appropriate pedagogy for classroom teachers to embed entrepreneurship in education. The paper challenges these deeply held assumptions by drawing on evidence from education, psychology and social research which suggests that competitions do not qualify for the uncritical recommendations and widespread application observed in entrepreneurship policy and practice.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Hertfordshire
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2017

Publication series

NameUH Business School Working Papers
PublisherUniversity of Hertfordshire


Dive into the research topics of ''Sometimes, the mouse gets eaten.’ . Initiating a boundary-spanning study on competitions in entrepreneurship education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this