Date of Award

Fall 2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Business

Supervisor

Benson Honig

Co-Supervisor

Dirk De Clercq

Language

English

Committee Member

John Medcoff

Abstract

Government efforts to improve the self-employment prospects of persons with disabilities are increasing, yet there is a dearth of information about the outcomes of these initiatives. Further, methodological limitations in the entrepreneurship literature make it difficult to determine the effectiveness of entrepreneurship education more generally. This three-wave, quasi-experimental study provides the first quantitative examination of the outcomes of entrepreneurship education programs for persons with disabilities, indicating that the programs are effective in helping participants to create their own businesses. Contributions are also made to entrepreneurship pedagogy via the first quantitative assessment of the place-train model applied to entrepreneurship development, showing that this approach when combined with financial incentives yields significantly better results than the train-place approach without financial incentives. The study contributes to theory building in entrepreneurship by investigating theory of planned behaviour relationships that have not been adequately assessed, showing significant relationships between intentions and nascent gestation behaviours. The relationship between nascent gestation behaviours and actual business creation is also shown, thus helping to demonstrate the value of utilizing the theory of planned behaviour in examining education interventions designed to promote business creation. Also, the study assesses whether those persons with disabilities who are successful at creating their own businesses have an associated increase in self-esteem, and thus the potential to reap both economic and social psychological rewards, with results indicating it is the activity of trying to start a business, rather than actual business creation, that best predicts increases in self-esteem.

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