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Student Entrepreneurship Societies as the change agents of the future world of work?
(presentation at 3E ECSB Entrepreneurship Education Conference, 2018)

Julkaisun tekijät: Päivi Siivonen, Kirsi Peura, Ulla Hytti, Kati Kasanen
Julkaisuvuosi: 2018
Kirjan nimi *: 3E Conference, Book of Abstracts
ISSN: 2411-3298


Questions we care about (Objectives)

Entrepreneurship Societies have been defined in
research literature as extra-curricular, informal, non-accredited, student-led
organizations that aim to promote entrepreneurship by arranging various
activities around entrepreneurship but so far only a few studies have
investigated them (Pittaway et al. 2011; Pittaway et al. 2015), and even fewer
that have focused on ESs in Finland (Parkkari & Kohtakangas 2018). This is
surprising given that there are already 19 entrepreneurship societies in 13
cities in Finland (StartupFinland 2018), and are actively contributing to
start-up culture in different ways. We aim to fill this gap by
investigating the following research questions: (1) What kinds
of collective ES identities are constructed? (2) How do the two ESs position
themselves in the HE context and the world of work? (3) How is
entrepreneurship, employability and the world of work discursively constructed
in the ES group discussions?


The paper assumes a qualitative, discursive approach
based on an analysis of two ES board group discussions in two Finnish
Entrepreneurship Societies. We apply a
discursive approach to analyze our data focusing on cultural divisions,
interpretations, modes of speech, categorizations and discursive practices
(Pietilä 2010.) Theoretically we draw from the collective identity (Polletta
and Jasper, 2001); how contribute the common collective identity defining story
that is internalized and shared between the members (Wry et al., 2011).


The group discussions construct a homogeneous collective
identity for the Entrepreneurship society. The ESs position themselves as
change agents. World of work is depicted as static state and old-fashioned, and
the future is seen through changing employment structures and multiple revenue
streams. The ES members believe to possess entrepreneurial skills (through ES)
necessary to take charge of their future work, and to cope in the uncertain and
unpredictable future. The collective identity is enforced by humour and
laughter, and the ES members are promoting forward-looking optimism, courage,
and individual initiative. The strong collective identity and sense of
committing to doing things together mitigates the pressures of being
entrepreneurial and neoliberal ideas of individual responsibility.


Our study is one of the few to investigate Entrepreneurship
Societies. In particular we demonstrate how they constructing a collective
identity by navigating between the individual initiative and collective support
by working and doing together in a supportive, playful environment filled with
humour and laughter. This we interpret as a coping mechanism needed for coping
with the future filled with uncertainty.

Key words: Higher Education, Entrepreneurship Society, collective identity,
entrepreneurship, employability, the world of work

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Last updated on 2019-21-08 at 21:37