'Is someone in your family an entrepreneur?': Examining the influence of family role models on students' entrepreneurial self-efficacy and its variation across gender

Prateek Shekhar, Aileen Huang-Saad, Julie Libarkin, Anastasia Katharine Ostrowski

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Universities and institutions of higher education are increasingly introducing programs to expose undergraduate engineering students to entrepreneurship. However, there is a lack of research examining different factors that might impact student success and learning in these entrepreneurship education programs. Our study focuses on one such factor, Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy (ESE), which is described as an individual's confidence in his/her ability to perform different entrepreneurship-related tasks. ESE is widely being used as an important metric to assess student outcomes in entrepreneurship programs, particularly due to past research and theoretical support that recognizes ESE as a critical influencer of entrepreneurial intention. In addition, researchers have indicated that this ESE may be mediated by the presence of entrepreneur role models in students' family and this mediating influence may differ across gender. However, these studies have been conducted in business and psychology courses. There is minimal work examining the influence of family role models on students' ESE and differences of the influence across gender in engineering entrepreneurship programs. Furthermore, these studies have examined just general ESE and not the influence on different ESE sub-constructs. Using McGee's validated ESE scale, we examined the influence of family role models on students' five ESE constructs and differences across gender. The study was conducted in a senior-level entrepreneurship course in Fall 2016 and Winter/Spring 2017 semesters at a large research university located in the United States (US). In this paper, using descriptive statistics, bivariate Pearson correlation and hierarchical linear regression analysis, we present an examination of differences in ESE scores and statistically significant interactions of our dependent variables (searching, planning, marshaling, implementing people and implementing finance) with our two independent variables (gender and family role model). Our results show that overall, students with an entrepreneur in their family reported higher ESE for all the five constructs than students who did not have an entrepreneur in their family. However, statistically significant differences and interactions with gender were found for only searching, marshaling and implementing finance constructs. For searching, both the independent variables (family role models and gender) were noted as significant predictors. In contrast, only presence of family role models was found to be a statistically significant predictor for marshalling. Similarly, only gender was significant predictor for implementing finance. These findings show that presence of role model has different influence on ESE associated with different entrepreneurship-related tasks and this influence further varies across gender. Detailed results of analysis are presented in the paper and implications for entrepreneurship education are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jun 23 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event125th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Salt Lake City, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2018Dec 27 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Engineering


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