Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education (PhD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Ketevan Mamiseishvili

Committee Member

Michael T. Miller

Second Committee Member

Jason W. Ridge

Third Committee Member

John W. Murry, Jr.


business education, entrepreneurial intention, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship education, gender, gender gap, new venture development, role models, self-efficacy, stereotype threat, universities


Entrepreneurship education in higher education has been cited as a key strategy in filling the entrepreneurship talent pool, preparing students with the skills and confidence needed to start new ventures (Westhead & Solesvik, 2016). However, outcomes of entrepreneurship education for female students are less positive than for their male counterparts (Shinnar et al., 2012; Westhead & Solesvik, 2016; Wilson et al., 2007). Working within the frameworks of Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (1977), Azjen’s theory of planned behavior (1991), and Steele and Aronson’s stereotype threat theory (1995), this quantitative study utilized an experimental research design to assess the impact of role model exposure, specifically, matched-gender versus mismatched-gender versus no role model, on self-assessed entrepreneurial self-efficacy (ESE) and entrepreneurial intentions (EI). Specifically, female and male students enrolled in six sections of a new venture development course at a research institution in the mid-south were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups. Based on their treatment group, students were given an assignment by their course instructor to read and reflect on an article about a matched-gender entrepreneur role model, a mismatched-gender entrepreneur role model, or an article that provided success tips for young entrepreneurs (no role model). Students who completed the reading and reflection assignment were then invited to complete an online survey instrument. The survey instrument asked students to report gender identity and course section, then respond to a set of questions to measure self-assessed ESE and EI. A total of 83 students completed both the reading assignment and responded to the survey. Results indicate a significantly lower level of EI for female students who were exposed to a mismatched-gender role model as compared to male students in this group. Analysis across the three treatment groups indicate that the impact of role model exposure is not moderated by gender, nor are the main effects of gender or role model exposure significant. The main effect of course section, a control variable, was significant in the ANOVA model for EI. More research is needed to better understand the impact of different curricular approaches in the development of ESE and EI among college students. Given the persistent nature of gender gaps, particularly for self-efficacy (Shinnar et al., 2014; Wilson et al., 2007), it is likely that more significant interventions are needed to close these gaps.