Title: Altering student preferences for takeover entrepreneurship: action research based on threshold theory

Authors: Lex Van Teeffelen; Edwin Weesie; Lorraine M. Uhlaner

Addresses: Research Center of Business and Innovation, HU Business School Utrecht, P.O. Box 850293508 AA Utrecht, The Netherlands ' Research Center of Business and Innovation, HU Business School Utrecht, P.O. Box 850293508 AA Utrecht, The Netherlands ' People, Markets and Humanities Department, EDHEC Business School, 24, avenue Gustave Delory, CS 50411, 59057 Roubaix Cedex 1, France

Abstract: This paper investigates whether students change their entrepreneurial entry preference if they are presented with different options. We propose that students' entry preferences are mediated by concepts proposed by threshold theory: choice options, opportunity costs and psychic income. This study is exploratory in nature, analysing 31 case studies. Though lacking a control group, enrolment in a six-week module on entry mode options by a group of third year undergraduate students resulted in some interesting changes - in particular, greater clarity in the entrepreneurial entry mode preference as well as a shift toward takeover options (including firm acquisition and family succession). Thematic analysis of students essays reveals that the perceived ability to act on such preferences may still be limited by opportunity costs (i.e., the higher need for financial capital) and a self-perceived lack of human capital (entrepreneurial or management experience).

Keywords: threshold theory; entrepreneurial entry preferences; start-ups; takeover entrepreneurship; franchising; psychic income; opportunity costs; choice options; undergraduate students; student entrepreneurs; case studies; higher education; firm acquisition; family succession; financial capital; human capital; managerial experience; entrepreneurial experience; student preferences.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2014.065683

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2014 Vol.23 No.4, pp.568 - 586

Available online: 04 Nov 2014 *

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