Rahman, Hafiz (2014) The influence of entrepreneurial role models on entrepreneurial motivation. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research investigates the influence of role models on student entrepreneurial motivation. It aims to find out and explain the most influential role model from several possible constructs. The mechanism by which such individuals can influence student entrepreneurial motivation and how that works was considered. As a foundation this research used and extended a conceptual understanding and framework from two previous core studies. These were Gibson (2004) and Shane et al., (2003). The latter work discusses the determinants of entrepreneurial motivation from quantitative and qualitative point of views.
Gibson (2004) argued that the, then, existing literature had gaps concerning our understanding of entrepreneurial roles models. This gap still exists today but it is hoped that this study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of how role models influence others to consider taking up an entrepreneurial career. This study is particularly concerned with senior undergraduate business students at a university in Indonesia and underscores the importance of social influence as one of the determinants of the impact of role models on entrepreneurial motivation.
Two hundred and ninety-one undergraduates responded to the initial questionnaire and thirty-eight took part in a further in-depth interview with the researcher. To provide a common basis for their understanding of the entrepreneur and entrepreneurial activities, a seperate baseline questionnaire was used.
This study found that depending on the construct, the role model, directly or indirectly, exerted significant influence on individual entrepreneurial motivation. It found also that the closure mechanism (as suggested by Sorensen, 2007) which was developed out of the charisma and reputation components of Gibson (2004) was the most common mechanism when a student "appointed" another individual as their role model. This finding was strengthened by having considered the ways that role modles influence an individual and what is the possible influence and impact on that individual's daily and future life. The research also offers an important finding regarding the concept of proximity and the possible degree of influence of the role model on an individual's future career choice.
Correlation between the individual and possible constructs of the role model provided an insight into the relative influence of role models and this can be used to consider the possible alternatives to delivering entrepreneurship education in universities. Interestingly, parents had the most influence followed by entrepreneurs. Lecturers can influence future careers in general but not specifically influence entrepreneurial motivation.
Although it has contributed to filling the skill exisiting research gap, this study also has limitations, but offers interesting challenges. It is a study rooted in a single culture. The researcher understands that it would be possible to generalise the detailed findings and results to other countries given that cultural dimensions differ (Hofstede, 2012). However this very limitation offers the challenge of extending this research agenda through comparing and contrasting students from differing cultural backgrounds.

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