CEC Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computing Technology in Education (DCTE)

Department

Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

John Scigliano

Committee Member

Marlyn K. Littman

Committee Member

Ling Wang

Abstract

A significant proportion of the population engages in entrepreneurial behavior but many ventures do not survive beyond startup thus decreasing the pool of entrepreneurs available to contribute to the economy. Opportunity recognition is central to entrepreneurial success and the improper delineation of opportunities is cited as a leading cause of venture failure. There is a logical link between creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. The goal of the researcher in this study was to explore the relationships between CPS training and the generation of entrepreneurial ideas.

The investigation studied the relationship of training in creative problem solving (CPS) to the opportunity identification skills of entrepreneurial learners. It was hypothesized that CPS training would positively impact attitudes relating to divergent thinking, would increase the number of opportunities identified and would increase the quality of opportunities identified. The tutorial was targeted at novice entrepreneurs who were in the initial stages of identifying an opportunity. Quality at this early stage in the venture formation process was defined as the degree to which the idea meshed with the learner's interests and passions and the extent to which they possessed prior experience.

An experimental research design was used and participants were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. There were no statistically significant differences in composition between the treatment and control groups. There were statistically significant differences found in one of the two divergent thinking constructs - the tendency to make premature evaluations. Two measures of ideational fluency were tested. No statistically significant differences were found in fluency for the post-test/pre-test measure within the treatment group or between the treatment and control group. Statistically significant differences were found in the number of unique ideas generated post-test/pre-test (within the treatment group and between the treatment and control group) and statistically significant differences were also found in the unique bottles measure (within group only). There were no statistically significant differences found in the 4 quality measures.

The findings in this study have the potential to strengthen the link between the enhancement of creative performance and the generation of entrepreneurial ideas. The research also holds the potential to provide practical guidelines for use of instructional techniques for training in opportunity recognition but also more broadly across the continuum of entrepreneurship education. The objective of the training was to increase the size and the quality of the venture idea pool that entrepreneurs draw from when initiating ventures.

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