Student Entrepreneurial Identity Formation: The Role of Reflection

Birgitte Wraae, Andreas Walmsley

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding


The overall aim of this empirical paper is to contribute to the understanding of how students through video clips and narration develop their entrepreneurial identities. Literature on entrepreneurial identity development is regularly linked
to either identity theory or social identity theory. Identity theory relates to the notion of roles that an individual assumes. In entrepreneurship education students are in a transition period between roles, i.e. role transformation from student to entrepreneur and/or professional. Furthermore, existing literature suggests how students can both develop and have an entrepreneurial identity while not necessarily starting up a business. Identity formation is further supported by the narrative the student creates with regard to their selves as the student engages in a form of dialogue with themselves but also with
others as part of the entrepreneurial learning process. Upon this backdrop, this study proposes the following problem statement: “How can student self-insights assist with their entrepreneurial identity development journey?” To tackle this
question, we analysed 51 student video clips after students had participated in an entrepreneurship course. Our findings support the theory of identity formation relating to the concept of roles: the self-reflective video clip as a form of assessment creates a means by which the students both raise their self-awareness and, crucially, construct their entrepreneurial identities. The results underline that students’ entrepreneurial identities are formed in a social process and by what happens both inside and beyond the entrepreneurial classroom. These findings will be of interest to researchers and educators as it moves beyond a pure skills or competency approach of understanding the impact of entrepreneurship education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication15th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Subtitle of host publicationHosted by Universita degli Studi Internazionali di Roma
PublisherAcademic Conferences International
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912764-68-6
ISBN (Print)978-1-912764-67-9
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2020
Event15th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Rome, Italy
Duration: 17 Sep 202018 Sep 2020
Conference number: 15


Conference15th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Abbreviated titleECIE 2020


  • entrepreneurship education
  • identity formation
  • higher education
  • career development

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    Wraae, B., & Walmsley, A. (2020). Student Entrepreneurial Identity Formation: The Role of Reflection. In 15th European Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Hosted by Universita degli Studi Internazionali di Roma (Vol. (In-press), pp. 694-701). Academic Conferences International.