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Appears in:
Pages: 728-731
Publication year: 2010
ISBN: 978-84-614-2439-9
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 15-17 November, 2010
Location: Madrid, Spain

RISK TRAINING AT THE UNIVERSITY. A PRELIMINARY DESCRIPTIVE STUDY WITH POTENTIAL ENTREPRENEURS

J. López Puga

Universidad de Almería (SPAIN)
Richard Cantillon (1755) proposed that entrepreneurs are people who have a special ability to deal with uncertainty. Some psychologists have recently claimed that reasoning under risk is a skill that can be taught (Bond, 2009). Given that risk taking and uncertainty management are related constructs we have challenged a sample of undergraduate students to complete a computer task to measure their uncertainty tolerance.

A sample of 40 psychology undergraduate students (21.1 % male, 78.9 % female, age range = 18-50, M = 24.37, SD = 7.9) were classified as potential and non-potential entrepreneurs and asked to complete an adaptation for humans of the task developed by Bromberg-Martin and Hikosaka (2009). Participants sat in a chair, facing a 15 inches screen, were asked to click with the left hand side button of a mouse on one out of two different possible squares in the screen. For each participant the computer selected randomly one type of square and marked it with an informative clue. Clicking on an informative square allowed participant to see an informative clue about the number of points they subsequently would receive, otherwise, the number of points and the informative clue were not related. Participants responded to 100 trials. Potential entrepreneurs were thought to select more frequently the informative square compared with non-potential entrepreneurs.

The results show that potential entrepreneurs (Mdn = 51.52) selected the informative square more frequently than non-potential entrepreneurs (Mdn = 45.45) in the second third of the trials, U = 79, z = -1.68, p < .05, r = .27. However, potential entrepreneurs (Mdn = 48.48) and non-potential entrepreneurs (Mdn = 50.03) did not differ significantly neither in the fist third, U = 112.50, z = -0.53, ns, r = .08, nor in the last 33 trials, Mdn (potentidal entrepreneurs) = 51.61, Mdn (non-potential entrepreneurs) = 56.45, U = 115.50, z = -0.43, ns, r = .07.

Although we did not find a strong relationship between entrepreneurial attitude and the election of an informative clue, it seems that potential entrepreneurs tend to select the less risky choice quicker in a set of trials than non-potential entrepreneurs. These results are useful theoretically because it identifies a feature previously not documented in scientific literature about potential entrepreneurs. In addition, our results are useful from an applied point of view because if we can teach to make decisions under uncertainty as proposed earlier, we could design training programs at universities to improve the possibilities of success in potential entrepreneurs. However, that work has methodological problems and more research is needed to clarify the uncertainty tolerance in entrepreneurs. Firstly, it was carried exclusively with psychology undergraduate students which might have biased the results (Henrich et al, 2010). If we had used a varied sample of students coming from different fields of study, or even from other cultures, we could have probably established statistical differences more reliably. Secondly, the sample size is quite small and, as a result, parametric test were unsuitable. To finish with, it would be desirable to test actual entrepreneurs instead of potential entrepreneurs in order to detect whether differences exist between them.
@InProceedings{LOPEZPUGA2010RIS,
author = {L{\'{o}}pez Puga, J.},
title = {RISK TRAINING AT THE UNIVERSITY. A PRELIMINARY DESCRIPTIVE STUDY WITH POTENTIAL ENTREPRENEURS},
series = {3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2010 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-2439-9},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {15-17 November, 2010},
year = {2010},
pages = {728-731}}
TY - CONF
AU - J. López Puga
TI - RISK TRAINING AT THE UNIVERSITY. A PRELIMINARY DESCRIPTIVE STUDY WITH POTENTIAL ENTREPRENEURS
SN - 978-84-614-2439-9/2340-1095
PY - 2010
Y1 - 15-17 November, 2010
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 3rd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2010 Proceedings
SP - 728
EP - 731
ER -
J. López Puga (2010) RISK TRAINING AT THE UNIVERSITY. A PRELIMINARY DESCRIPTIVE STUDY WITH POTENTIAL ENTREPRENEURS, ICERI2010 Proceedings, pp. 728-731.
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