Purpose: This analysis has three purposes. First, to present a vision of entrepreneurship education that has the student‟s capacity for autonomous action as its ultimate aim. Second, to convince the reader of the timeliness and relevance of such an approach. Third, to outline how this can be implemented.
Approach: This analysis integrates several strands of the literature: research on entrepreneurial autonomy; educational psychology; and entrepreneurship education.
Findings: The importance of autonomy is suggested by research on entrepreneurial motivation and satisfaction, as well as by a range of societal trends that favour increased self-reliance. Two perspectives, Self-Determination Theory and Self-Directed Learning, provide leads about how to put autonomy centre stage in entrepreneurship education. Several implementation-related issues are discussed. These include trade-offs between guidance and freedom, information and pressure, the self and others, and choice and relevance; the effects of student behaviour on autonomy support by faculty; and the suitability of autonomy-supportive entrepreneurship education for different kinds of students and educational settings.
Practical implications: Teachers, schools and institutions wishing to adapt this approach need to adopt individualised, empowering approaches.
Originality/Value: It is novel to conceive of entrepreneurship education as an exercise in the service of the capacity for autonomous action.
Classification of Paper type: Viewpoint.
van Gelderen, M. M. (2010). Autonomy as the guiding aim of entrepreneurship education. Education And Training, 52(8), 710-721. doi:10.1108/00400911011089006