Enterprise Education applied to Community Service: Educators and Practitioners’ Perceptions of Competencies and Learning Process

May 30, 2019 | Theses

Naina Mishra

Naina Mishra is a first-year studying economics. Outside of her research, Naina is involved in entrepreneurship and community service.


What is your research topic, in a nutshell?

My research topic is about enterprise education, which develops competencies that can be applied to influence economic change in various situations. My research proposes applying enterprise education to community service education for high school students to better prepare them to influence change in their communities.


How did you come to your research topic?

In my initial research I learned that most students performing community service in high school rarely receive training, which is concerning because it reduces their potential to make a positive social impact. I chose this research topic because I was curious about the potential of enterprise education for helping students become more effective change-makers.


Where do you see the future direction of this work leading?

My research provides an introduction and general overview of enterprise education and its applications to community service. Upon implementation of the program, future researchers could record the effectiveness of learning approaches and additional challenges that arise. They could also measure student’s progress according to the proposed competencies and investigate the impact the program has on students and their community.

I would like to thank Dr. Linda Lehmil and Dr. Wai Mui Christina Yu for their constructive feedback and guidance.

Community service participation among high school students has grown substantially worldwide and in Hong Kong. Despite the growing interest in this domain, little is known about how to prepare students to effectively influence change in their communities. This study proposes applying enterprise education to community service for high school students because enterprise education enables individuals to influence change. This study determines practitioners and educators’ perceptions of the learning process and essential competencies of an enterprise education program applied to community service. The paper culminates inwith a discussion of the implications for enterprise education and community service.

Keywords: Enterprise education, community service, entrepreneurship education, service-learning, high school, Hong Kong.

By encouraging students to be dutiful and socially responsible citizens, community service in high school has been attracting widespread interest over the last few decades (Youniss and Yates, 1997). Community service is defined as non-paying work that is performed for the benefit of the community. Community service in high school is linked to greater civic engagement, political participation, and community involvement as adults (Youniss and Yates, 1997). It may also lead to personal growth, including a greater knowledge of self and the development of a personal and collective identity (Jones and Hill, 2003; Rhoads, 1997; Youniss and Yates, 1997).

In Hong Kong, particularly, the past few years have seen a significant increase in community service participation in high school. In 2001, the 15-20 age group made up 43.1% of total volunteers. In 2009, this number increased to 58.1% (Centre for Civil Society and Governance, 2010). Additionally, volunteers are most likely to begin volunteering in high school (Chan and Chan, 2011). The rise in community service participation in high school could be attributed to the emphasis schools place on service in their curriculums (Table 1). Additionally, a number of high schools provide opportunities for community service locally and internationally.

Despite the increase in community service among high school students in Hong Kong and therefore, their growing potential to impact the communities they serve, there is a lack of discussion in schools and in academic research regarding the skills students need to have in order to effectively influence change in their communities. This is of concern especially because volunteers without relevant skills, such as language or technical skills, are more likely to hinder progress or complete unsatisfactory work (Guttentag, 2009; Wright, 2013). In addition, the current state of literature on high school community service focuses almost exclusively on its impact on students, rather than its impactthat on the communities served (Johnson et al., 1998; Newmann and Rutter, 1983; Mitchell, 2008; Riedel, 2002; Robinson, 2000; Ward and Wolf-Wendel, 2000). In fact, students who have undertaken community service perceive their contribution as a nice thing to do rather than as contributing to larger societal outcomes (Jones and Hill, 2003). Many community service efforts do not maximize the potential impact for social change since the emphasis is placed on student impact rather than community change, which is in contrast to the inherent purpose of community service––sparking beneficial change in the community (Chupp and Joseph, 2010; Mitchell, 2008; Robinson, 2000).

Consequently, the purpose of this study is to increase the potential for high school students to influence change in their communities by proposing an education program that equips them with relevant competencies. A competency is defined as knowledge, skills, and attitudes that are necessary to perform a job successfully (Miller et al., 2012).

Table 1: Community Service in High School Curricula In Hong Kong

The proposed education program applies enterprise education to high school community service. Enterprise education is defined as the development of competencies that enable individuals to adapt to and influence change (Ball, 1989). Since community service seeks to positively change existing conditions, this study hypothesizes that enterprise education is of relevance to high school students as it equips them with the necessary competencies to influence change.


The Emergence of Enterprise Education

On March 1988, government officials and high-level executives from around the world gathered in Paris for the OECD Intergovernmental Conference on Education and the Economy in a Changing Society. The chairman, John Dawkins, noted the widespread agreement among attendees that education should reflect and contribute to social and economic change. He called for:

The introduction of new methods to enable the development of skills and attitudes which equip the workforce and society more generally to adapt to and influence change, including qualities such as the habit of learning, curiosity, creativity, initiative, teamwork, and personal responsibility (Ball, 1989).

A year later, the OECD published a report based on this conference, which introduced the concept of enterprise education: The development of competencies that enable individuals, organizations, communities, and cultures to cope with rapid social and economic change (Ball, 1989).

The most cited purposes of enterprise education are to cope with the unpredictability of a globalized world and to support economic growth through entrepreneurship, which can be encouraged through enterprise education (Birdthistle et al., 2007; Caird, 1990; Gibb, 1987; Jones and Colwill, 2013; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Leffler, 2009; Pratten and Ashford, 2000). Consequently, many countries began emphasizing enterprise abilities in high school in the 1980s to develop students’ abilities to adapt to and influence change. The first few countries to begin enterprise education in high school were Australia, Canada, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK, and the US (Ball, 1989). Since then, enterprise education in high school has continued to grow in Europe (Birdthistle et al., 2007; Caird, 1990; Hytti, 2002; Hytti and O’Gorman, 2004; Jones and Colwill, 2013; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Leffler, 2009; Pratten and Ashford, 2000; Draycott and Rae, 2011), while also recently spreading to Hong Kong (Yu and Man, 2007).

 Types of Enterprise Education

Twiddle and Watt (1995) outlines three types of enterprise programs for high school: learning about enterprise, learning through enterprise, and learning for enterprise. Learning about enterprise refers to studying business and entrepreneurship through simulations, group discussions, project work, mentoring, competitions , or practical training (Hytti and O’Gorman, 2004; Jones and Iredale, 2010). It is often referred to as “entrepreneurship education” in the literature because its purpose is to prepare successful business owners (Cheung, 2008; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Kirby, 2004). Learning through enterprise refers to developing enterprise competencies in the context of a business. This definition is what researchers often refer to as “enterprise education.” While entrepreneurship education directly prepares individuals to run a small business, enterprise education indirectly helps form a culture of enterprise, in which an entrepreneur would be successful (Gibb, 1987). Additionally, although entrepreneurship and enterprise education have key differences, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably in the discourse (Cheung, 2008; Gibb, 1993; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Leffler, 2009). Furthermore, enterprise education is sometimes embedded into an entrepreneurship education curriculum through general skill and attitude development for enterprise; however, the emphasis remains on venture creation and management (Cheung, 2008; Elert et al., 2015; Hytti and Gorman, 2004; Johansen and Schanke, 2013; Jones and Colwill, 2013). Learning for enterprise posits that students can develop a range of enterprise abilities by initiating a business or community project. Its purpose is to develop competencies for various life situations, such as education, careers, and personal relationships (Caird, 1990; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Hytti, 2002, 2008). These competencies are developed in the context of a personal learning journey that increases self-awareness (Gibb, 2008). This form of enterprise education does not necessarily need to embrace the context of the small business (Gibb, 1993). Deuchar (2004), for example, proposes applying this form of enterprise education to promoting civic duty among students. Bridge (2015) suggests applications to social enterprises. Deuchar (2004) and Bridge (2015) assume that enterprise education can be applied to various situations to develop generalizable skills. This study builds upon the applications of enterprise education by proposing its connection to high school community service because both are associated with creating change.

 Enterprise Education vs. Social Entrepreneurship Education

Enterprise education applied to community service is different from social entrepreneurship education. Social entrepreneurs achieve social and commercial objectives, meaning the business, known as a “social enterprise,” can generate social benefit as well as profit (Pache and Chowdhury, 2007; Kummitha and Majumdar, 2015; Miller et al., 2012; Tracey and Phillips, 2000). This is unlike enterprise education applied to community service, which does not allow commercial gain. Furthermore, similar to entrepreneurship education, social entrepreneurship education prioritizes management skills rather than skills that can be applied to various situations (Pache and Chowdhury, 2007; Howorth et al., 2012; Tracey and Phillips, 2007).

To summarize key definitions, entrepreneurship education equips students with competencies to create a business. Social entrepreneurship education equips students with competencies to create a social enterprise. Enterprise education develops competencies that can be applied to influence change in various situations. Enterprise education for community service (EECS) applies these competencies to high school community service.

 EECS: Learning Process

This study seeks to determine the learning process of EECS. Enterprise education is taught very differently from traditional education. In fact, traditional approaches, such as lecturing, may inhibit the development of enterprise competencies because they often intend to teach students about enterprise not prepare them to be enterprising (Kirby, 2004). Instead, Dewey (1938) and Kolb (1984) argue that learning is a process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience. Similarly, enterprise education is learned experientially through practical experience (Birdthistle et al., 2007; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Pepin, 2012). In the context of EECS, these theories suggest that enterprise competencies should be developed through a community project. However, traditional community service might not do so because students alleviate existing social problems, perhaps through street cleanups or food drives, rather than challenge the root of the problem (Chesler, 1995; Mitchell, 2008; Robinson, 2000). EECS requires a rethinking of the nature of community service programs. For example, Future Problem Solving (2018) in New Zealand engages high school students in a 1-2 year project that solves authentic problems in the community. With the guidance of mentors, students define the community problem, propose a solution, create and implement a plan of action, and reflect on their projects’ outcomes. Similarly, Chupp and Joseph (2010) outlines a program in which students create a project strategy supported by data analysis, field research, and conversations with key stakeholders. While executing their projects, students take a skills practice course and reflect on their performance. Expectedly, the learning process would differ from project to project. This study seeks to propose a general approach to teaching enterprise education in the context of community service, which can be adapted as needed.

 EECS: Competencies

This study also aims to determine the essential competencies of EECS. In EECS, students develop a broader set of competencies (Table 2) that governments emphasize, compared to a single enterprise program or community service activity. These include enterprise competencies, such as confidence, motivation, collaboration, action-orientation, creativity, and innovation (Draycott and Rae, 2011; Gibb, 2005; Ministry of Education and Research, 2009), as well as social responsibility and desire for social impact (Ananiadou and Claro, 2009). As mentioned earlier, enterprise competencies are important because they enable students to create and cope with change (Ball, 1989). The competencies of social responsibility and desire for social impact are of importance because they are correlated with greater civic engagement, political participation, and community involvement as adults (Youniss and Yates, 1997). Thus, EECS addresses both the enterprise and social spheres of competencies for high school students, leading to holistic development, while simultaneously better preparing students to influence change in their communities.

The purpose of this study is to understand how educators and practitioners perceive the relevance of EECS for high school students in Hong Kong, focusing primarily on the learning process and essential competencies of EECS. Previous research has called for greater involvement of stakeholders in curriculum design (Rubin and Dierdorff, 2009; Rynes et al.,2003). Additionally, before implementing any education program, a systematic needs assessment should be conducted to certify that the competencies developed are relevant (Miller et al., 2012). Hence, surveying educators and practitioners could provide a learning and skills framework for EECS.



Research Design

This study employed exploratory sequential design, where the researcher first collected qualitative data and then used the findings in a second quantitative phase (Ormond and Leedy, 2005). An exploratory sequential design was necessary because the qualitative data determined the variables and research instrument for the quantitative phase. An exploratory design was also chosen due to the lack of research on EECS. Hence, this study seeks to create a framework for EECS that can be built upon by future researchers. Lastly, this research method is inductive because it answers open-ended research questions.

 Research Questions

  1. How can enterprise education be applied to high school community service in Hong Kong?
  2. What are the learning process and essential competencies of EECS?


  1. Enterprise education can be applied to community service.
  2. Applying enterprise education to community service involves initiating and managing a community project.


Two populations were interviewed. The first population consisted of practitioners from nonprofits. Only individuals who work closely with high school students were selected, so they were most likely to understand the competencies students require. The second population consisted of educators who specialize in entrepreneurship education, social entrepreneurship education, or service learning for high school. These educators were chosen because their education programs are similar to EECS. The varied backgrounds of participants triangulate the data. Purposeful sampling is used to ensure that participants meet the above criteria. Although it does not represent the population, it leads to information-rich cases for research (Creswell et al., 2003).

 Research Instrument and Data Collection

The qualitative phase consisted of 10 semi- structured interviews with 5 practitioners and 5 educators lasting approximately 60 minutes each. Semi-structured interviews enabled participants to explain experiences and feelings with rich descriptions (Christensen et al., 2011). These interviews were conducted in a public setting in February. First, participants were asked to describe their nonprofit or education program. Then, they were presented case studies of enterprise education selected from European Commission (2015) and Future Problem Solving (2017). After considering the case studies, participants determined how enterprise education could be applied to community service and the learning process. Finally, participants were given a list of competencies (Table 2) that had been adapted from Draycott and Rae (2011), Gibb (2005), Miller et al., (2012), and Kraemer (2016). They highlighted the competencies they perceived as most important, suggested new competencies, and deleted less important competencies.

 Ethical Guidelines

The researcher minimized the risk of harm, obtained informed consent, protected anonymity and confidentiality, avoided deceptive practices, provided the right to withdraw, and agreed to destroy raw data within 5 years. Participants were coded from 1-10. The first 5 participants were practitioners and the last 5 were educators.

 Data analysis

Data was analyzed through open coding and axial coding. Data was first divided into concepts, which emerged naturally from the data. The concepts were then connected with each other by considering their context to form themes and subthemes (Strauss and Corbin, 1990).


Part 1: Overview of Education Programs

Participants describpted their nonprofits’ interaction with high school students or their education program (Tables 3 and 4).

Part 2: Enterprise Education Applied to Community Service

Program Structure:  

  1. Learning Process

EECS would be taught through workshops with practitioners to highlight community issues. A pitch competition might follow, as part of which students present their community problem, proposed solution, and plan of action to a judging panel. Students might receive seed funding and mentorship. In addition to general workshops, mentors may need to conduct project specific lessons to meet the needs of diverse projects. Some participants clarified that these workshops need to be integrated into students’ projects. Participant 4 explained, “the learning by doing approach is really important […] it helps the lesson sink in better when you get to see the real world impact of what it is.” This reflects Dewey (1938) and Kolb’s (1984) claim that learning is an experiential process. This learning process is also similar to other enterprise education programs, as part of which students initiate projects (Birdthistle et al., 2007; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Pepin, 2012).

2.Role of Mentors

When assigning mentors to projects, the mentor’s experience and abilities should align with those required by the project. In order to do so, the EECS program must have an extensive network of mentors. Thus, according to participant 1, some challenges that might arise areis “how do they recruit them [the mentors], how do they retain them and how do they make their service meaningful.” This is a challenge especially because mentors need to make a long-term commitment to their students’ projects.

3. Program Provider

An issue that emerged was whether nonprofits or schools should be responsible for the EECS program. Nonprofits unanimously agreed that they cannot be fully responsible because they focus on a “certain niche that they are serving in a community” and “don’t have the bandwidth with their resources to be able to follow the [new ideas] that students are bringing in,” according to participant 1. Yet, all practitioners concurred that nonprofits should be involved in the EECS program when there is an opportunity for them to benefit. Participant 1 clarified that “if a service idea connects with the mission of a particular nonprofit then definitely connect it with the nonprofit.” This connection is important when students a) conduct needs-assessments because nonprofits are knowledgeable about local community issues and b) develop a plan of action because responsibility needs to be split among the student and nonprofit. However, when partnering with a nonprofit, the EECS program must address the aforementioned challenges regarding reliability and maturity that nonprofits encounter when working with high school students.

Similarly, educators doubted that schools could be responsible for the program. Schools in Hong Kong already have a heavy workload. Participant 7 explained “we as teachers wouldn’t have time to do this plus the normal things that we’re always doing.” Yet, the EECS program would require collaboration with schools because they play a significant role in determining which extracurricular activities students pursue. Hence, schools could provide encouragement for students to participate in the program.

Some participants believed that the solution is handing an external organization the responsibility. The organization would be responsible for educating students and establishing partnerships with nonprofits and schools.

4. Student Requirement

Participants recognized that EECS would differ depending on whether it is optional or mandatory. If the program is optional, according to participant 1, “you’re working only with highly motivated students who are already interested in this sort of thing and who already have a predisposition to those competencies, so you’re simply nurturing something that already exists.” Participant 4 added that these students already have “that passion for helping people that not everyone has.” Hence, recruiting, training, and running projects with these students would be significantly easier compared to a different group of students who first need to be convinced of the value of EECS.

On the other hand, if the program is mandatory, all students develop competencies that lead to success in any vocation or life situation, as theorized in the academic literature (Caird, 1990; Jones and Iredale, 2010; Hytti, 2002, 2008). Additionally, students that may not be interested in community service may realize that they have something to offer to the community. Participant 8 believed that “all students need to figure out what it is that they’re uniquely passionate to do in the world.” Regardless, most participants were skeptical that every student would like to participate in the program. If these students were required to undertake EECS, the student teams and projects might be weaker because some students would “not really do much,” as stated by participant 7.

Table 2: Overview of Nonprofits

Table 3: Overview of Education Programs

5. Impact on Students and Community

Most participants believed that EECS is impactful for both students and the community. The students learn about community problems and develop important competencies. In terms of community impact, participants agreed that high school students have the ability to make a difference in their communities. Participant 9 commented that students’ “feeling about something is very pure and that can drive them to do things that a lot of adults won’t care enough to do [such as] to really commit to creating a project.”

Participant 6 described the community impact:

“Over the long run, it might be more impactful for the world because these students might come out of it more motivated […] they might go out into the world and make even more of a difference as an individual.”

Benefits of EECS:

  1. Building Community

A strength of EECS is that it develops connections between students, mentors, nonprofits, and disadvantaged groups. Participant 1 believed that “working together to solve a problem in a meaningful way is one of the most significant relationship- building activities that could happen. Participant 9 believeds “in the power of each person to influence those around them […] so they’ll tell their friends and parents what they’ve been doing, which then opens up conversations about the kid’s own interests, about social problems.”

2. Real World Skills

Participants unanimously agreed that EECS would provide valuable skills for the real world. Participant 3 explained:

A lot of employers these days […] prefer to have students that pick up things quickly or think in a logical way or have real-life experience, not necessarily have been to university and got a degree in X, Y, and Z.

This perspective is similar to that of Gibb (2007), who believes enterprise education can equip students with the ability to cope with the increasing unpredictability of a globalized society.

3. A New Perspective for the Nonprofit

Some participants claimed that high school students can bring in new perspectives for nonprofits. Participant 4 explained, “the longer you work in the nonprofit sector, it can be easier to see obstacles than solutions [but] when working with high school students there is a different level of creativity” and having “those fresh eyes to look at things” is “very beneficial.” Participant 1 clarified that “fresh eyes are only helpful really if that person has that ability to think programmatically, systematically” and has an entrepreneurial mindset.

4. Feeling of Ownership

Participants concurred that another benefit of EECS is that students take complete ownership of their work. Participant 6 claimed that the project “becomes a real part of their life and they can take real pride in it. It’s more difficult for them to take pride in something that they contributed to, but someone else set up.” Participant 5 added, “you’re not only participating, you’re not only listening to other people’s requirements, but you’re taking initiative in realizing your ideas.”

Student Engagement:

All participants claimed that maintaining student engagement is a challenge. In order to remain engaged, students must find a cause that deeply resonates with them. Participant 3 claims that volunteering might develop students’ engagement because “you are able to understand the challenges of somebody else’s life” and if “students can tangibly see [the issue] in their community, then students are more likely to be engaged.” Therefore, encouraging students whoto have previous volunteering experience or embedding volunteering into the program could increase student engagement.

Additionally, EECS requires a long-term commitment, lasting at least 6 months. This is a challenge because “for a normal student in Hong Kong, the homework, the workload from school is really quite huge,” as stated by participant 5. Participant 4 added that if “there’s conflict between volunteering and school then school most of the time wins, which is fair,” but makes it difficult for students to invest time into running a community project.

Influencing Long-Term Social Change:

Many participants were skeptical that one student-run project could influence long-term social change. Participant 3 said “the challenge with the project is that the solution would be implemented in a short-term capacity [because] students have a timeline. But initiating social change can often be a very long process […] so the project students take on must be something that you could get quick results for.” On the other hand, participant 2 pointed out the challenge that “if I know already as an nonprofit leader your program is going to end in one month, why would I spend all of that effort developing something for your project if it doesn’t help people long-term?”

All participants mentioned that the solution would be ensuring that each project is sustainable in the long run. Many participants suggested that different successions of high school students should pick up the same project and advance it or take it a different direction. Participant 2 added that instead of starting new projects, students should “assess current projects and innovate to make it better and add projects only after understanding what’s already been done.” However, participant 4 worried that if “the experience of starting a project up” is a key component of enterprise education, the challenge is that “who’s going to continue this when the student is no longer there.”

Differences from Volunteering

One way that EECS differs from volunteering is that the former develops students’ critical thinking skills. Participant 1 explained that in most volunteering activities, students are not thinking about “why is it [the volunteering experience] set up this way? Why am I coming at this time? WhoHow is my interaction benefiting?” On the other hand, in EECS, students must address these questions to identify and solve a social problem. Secondly, students are more likely to take on a leadership role within EECS as compared to volunteering. Participant 5 highlighted that “with volunteering usually some organization already has a program and they need someone to help in a particular role.” On the other hand, in EECS, students are given the opportunity to make decisions about how they will solve the identified social problem, how they will allocate funding, how they will attract volunteers etc., which builds their leadership abilities.


Research question

What are the essential competencies of initiating and managing a community project?


The five highest ranked competencies are problem solving, collaboration, project management, communication, and initiative.


The target population was individuals with at least one year of experience at a nonprofit or social enterprise in Hong Kong. Nonprofits and social enterprises were chosen because both have experience running community projects; hence, they can provide insight on the essential competencies. Participants were selected through purposeful sampling from a public database of nonprofits and social enterprises. Additionally, snowball sampling was used to achieve a larger sample size.

Research Instrument and Data Collection

Upon completion of the qualitative phase, the competency list was amended. The top 30 competencies that were highlighted as most important by interviewees were identifiedselected. The final list can be found in the survey instrument in Appendix 3. Moreover, in the qualitative phase, interviewees agreed that a key component of EECS is initiating and managing a community project. Hence, in the quantitative phase, practitioners were surveyed on the essential competencies required to do so.

Drawing from the work of Miller et al., (2012), in the survey, respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they believe each competency is important to initiating and managing a community project. A 5-point Likert scale was used to allow for neutral responses and to avoid overwhelming participants with multiple choices. To increase validity, participants selected the top-10 most important competencies from the list. They could also write in competencies they felt were absent from the survey.

A pilot test of the survey was administered to a small group of individuals from nonprofits and social enterprises to gather feedback on survey design. Minor changes were made to improve clarity. The survey was administered through email with a hyperlink to an online survey collection tool. The target sample of the survey included 1183 participants. 124 people opted to participate, yielding a 10.5% response rate. Due to incomplete responses, the final usable sample size was 119.

Data Analysis

Data was analyzed by determining the mean and standard deviation for each competency. The percent of respondents that included the given competency in their top-10 was also calculated.


Table 5 shows the mean, standard deviation, and percent of respondents ranking the given competency in their top-10. The five highest ranked competencies are problem solving (4.66), communicating (4.65), sense of moral imperatives/ethics (4.51), commitment to see things through (4.50), and collaboration (4.48). These competencies are also emphasized in traditional enterprise education programs (Draycott and Rae, 2011; Gibb, 2005). The five lowest ranked competencies are negotiation and persuasion capacity (4.13), capacity to measure outcomes (4.11), ability to respectfully challenge traditional ways of thinking (4.05), pitching (4.00), and calculated risk taking (3.84). The last column of Table 5 shows the percentage of respondents ranking the given competency within their top-10. The results were similar. The competencies that received the five highest percentages of respondents ranking it in their top-10 are problem solving (36.1%), collaboration (25.2%), analysing and evaluating (25.2%), project management (25.2%), and empathy and compassion (25.2%), which mostly confirm the hypothesis. The competencies that received the five lowest percentages of respondents ranking it in their top-10 are initiative (6.72%), calculated risk taking (6.72%), pitching (5.04%), capacity to measure outcomes (3.36%), and the ability to respectfully challenge traditional ways of thinking (2.52%). Lastly, Table 6 presents 24 additional competencies suggested by respondents.

Table 4: Competencies Ranked by Mean


This work contributes to our understanding of enterprise education, community service, and their relevance to each other and high school students. This study confirms that enterprise education can be applied to community service through launching a community project instead of a business. The learning process of enterprise education and EECS is similar; both programs are taught experientially through workshops, mentorship, and projects. The essential competencies include enterprise competencies as well as additional competencies that relate more specifically to influencing social change. While all participants responded favorably to EECS, they acknowledged that EECS would need to overcome significant challenges such as maintaining student engagement and influencing long term social change. First, this study provides greater insight into the competencies required to initiate and manage a project that influences social change. By doing so, this study diverges from traditional literature on community service, which emphasizes student impact rather than community impact (Johnson et al., 1998; Newman, 1983; Mitchell, 2008; Riedel, 2002; Robinson, 2000; Ward and Wolf-Wendel, 2000). Second, this study builds upon the traditional discourse on enterprise education by expanding its applications from business (Cheung, 2008; Elert et al., 2015; Hytti and Gorman, 2004; Johansen and Schanke, 2013; Jones and Colwill, 2013), citizenship education (Deuchar, 2004), and social enterprise (Bridge, 2015) to high school community service.

Table 5: Suggested Competencies

Educators may benefit from the learning process and competency framework outlined if
they consider implementing EECS. School administration and government institutions may benefit from the discussion of the relevance of EECS in high school when determining education policy and curricular requirements. Furthermore, this study links teaching and practice by involving stakeholders in the design of the curriculum (Rubin and Dierdorff, 2009; Rynes et al., 2003). By being responsive to the perceptions of experienced practitioners, this study increases the likelihood that the competencies developed in the classroom will be those needed to initiate and manage a community service project.

While this study makes several contributions, there are some limitations. In the
qualitative phase, voluntary response bias might have led to stronger opinions because participants who felt strongly toward enterprise education or community service opted to participate. Second, researcher’s bias was prevalent in this study because the researcher is inclined to ask questions and interpret responses in a manner that supports his or her assumptions. To minimize bias, a pilot interview was conducted to ensure impartiality. Moreover, this study only surveyed practitioners on select competencies that were highlighted in the qualitative phase, rather than a comprehensive list of competencies. Although participants were able to suggest additional competencies, it is possible that many relevant competencies were missed. Finally, this study lacks external validity because the sample size is too small to generalize due to a low response rate. Nonetheless, this study is reliable because the instruments used for both the qualitative and the quantitative phases provide stable results.

Further research would continue to add insight to EECS. Upon implementation of the program, future researchers could record the effectiveness of learning approaches and challenges that arise. They could also measure student’s progress according to the proposed competencies and investigate the impact the program has on students and their community.

Community service in high school has been attracting widespread interest over the last few decades (Youniss and Yates, 1997) and recently, in Hong Kong (Centre for Civil Society and Governance, 2010). Despite the increase in community service among high school students, there is a lack of discussion in schools and in academic research regarding the skills students need to have in order to effectively influence change in their communities. This study proposes applying enterprise education to high school community service to encourage students to influence social change and determines the essential competencies they must have in order to do so. This study aims to inform educators, researchers, and practitioners on EECS.


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