Institutional and learning impact on student entrepreneurial inclination at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).
This study investigated the institutional environment and learning impact on student entrepreneurial intention at the University of KwaZulu Natal; one of the notable universities in South Africa ranking in the top 3% of the world top universities. The high declining entrepreneurial intent among South African students as compared to the international sample is a matter of concern. Literature has pointed the role of institutional environment as well as learning in entrepreneurial intent development. To what extent these variables among others influence entrepreneurial intent is a subject that this thesis addressed. An entrepreneurial behaviour is preceded by an entrepreneurial intent. The feared unemployment crises that left over 25 countries with job strikes after the economic recession that begun in 2008 spells out the untold significance of entrepreneurship as a remedy. The role of entrepreneurial employees in organisations is something of significance. The global economic slowdown that begun in 2008 does not seem to be promising with a global job growth rate of 1 % per annum. This is against the backdrop of where two out of five globally earn $2 per day and are at a poverty threshold. The dire global unemployment outlook is not only apparently worsened by the present 200 unemployed millions but by the projected rise of 41.4% youth employment to population ratio in 2018 from 12.6% in 2013. These findings have also been supported by the fact that unemployment among the youth is two to three times the adult rate. Some authors have called for urgent attention over the unemployment of university graduates, school leavers, tertiary level graduates and other vulnerable societies in Africa. This is augmented by the reality that whereas the global average of youth unemployment is 14.4%, Africa has 21%. Through an online quantitative study, the College of Law and Management final year undergraduate students participated in this research. The data was analysed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) for its descriptive narration as well as inferential analysis. Along SPSS, Warp Partial Least Squares (PLS) in Structural Equation modelling (SEM) was used in the model performance and development for the entrepreneurial intent of learners. The model enabled the interaction between the predictor latent variables and criterion latent variable to be performed. Two preliminary empirical models were developed: model 1 tested the relationship between the predictor latent variables against each other and the criterion latent variable [student entrepreneurial Intent]. Model2 performed an interaction of each predictor latent variable and the criterion variable directly. This study found that the institutional environment of the University had a higher impact on entrepreneurial Image of the learners but this was not the case with the learning latent variable; though respondents reported that the University course as an indicator of the learning latent variable had enhanced their entrepreneurial intent. Although previous studies have indicated that there is a gender difference in entrepreneurial intention, yet this study did not find any such difference. This affirms a research in social psychology which holds it that personal values are responsible for behaviour performance. The less impacting learning entrepreneurial environment will call for policy measures to foster creative learning methods. There is also a need to consider an equal emphasis on all the identified components that influence student entrepreneurial intention as pointed out by the SEI model developed through this study. This study could not conduct a comparative analysis between private universities and public universities. It is a limitation future studies may address among others. Furthermore, though this study was done in a premier University with an international ranking, yet their environment and learning may need comparative studies with other international universities of the same magnitude. Nonetheless, in spite of these limitations, the study has been able to contextualise the findings and develop a model that is relevant for decision making in fostering entrepreneurial inclination. Further research should focus on a comparative analysis on the various institutional entrepreneurial ecosystems impact on student entrepreneurial intention. This study should be conducted in the entire country with universities that lie within the same category. Further comparative studies with established institutional entrepreneurial ecosystems would be desirable so as to analyse the effective components in various institutional entrepreneurial ecosystems. Other recommended studies would need to explore the unexplored strategies necessary for the development of an institutional entrepreneurial ecosystem.