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Locus of control, need for achievement and risk taking propensity: A framework for the "entrepreneurial" learner of the 21st century

Connie Irene Reimers-Hild, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study tested a theoretical framework designed to examine the characteristics of adult distance learners through the lens of entrepreneurship. The proposed framework suggested a relationship between entrepreneurial personality, determined by the combined score of locus of control, need for achievement and risk taking propensity, and success (cumulative grade point average) and persistence (number of credit hours completed via distance) in the academic environment. The variables of gender and age and the moderating variables of personal fulfillment, professional/career advancement and pleasing someone other than myself were also studied. ^ Simple linear regression revealed that there was not a statistically significant relationship between Entrepreneurial Personality and success ( N = 310) or persistence (N = 342). Multiple regression analysis determined that locus of control, need for achievement and risk taking propensity did not have statistically significant relationships with success or persistence. ^ Simple linear regression analysis determined that there were statistically significant differences between age, locus of control and risk taking propensity (N = 343). There were no statistically significant relationships between age and entrepreneurial personality or need for achievement. An independent t-test revealed significant differences in the scores of entrepreneurial personality, locus of control and risk taking propensity for females (N = 204) and males (N = 137). No statistically significant differences were observed in need for achievement scores for female and male participants. Lastly, the moderating variables associated with participants' motivation to continue their educational endeavors influenced many of the relationships between the independent and dependent variables in this study. ^ Data were collected from a sample of convenience consisting of learners enrolled in graduate-level, distance courses at a large Midwestern university, therefore, the findings are limited to the participants of this study. However, results confirm that the relationships between these variables are very complex and intertwined. Additional research, in a number of different contexts, is necessary to further explore and develop the concept of the “entrepreneurial” learner in greater detail. ^

Subject Area

Education, Adult and Continuing|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Reimers-Hild, Connie Irene, "Locus of control, need for achievement and risk taking propensity: A framework for the "entrepreneurial" learner of the 21st century" (2005). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3180813.