Engineers learning to become entrepreneurs: stimulations and barriers in Israel.
Anderson, Alistair R.
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This paper explores the processes by which Israeli engineers become entrepreneurs. We employed a qualitative approach, using ethnographic life history interviews with nine entrepreneurial engineers. We find that the uniqueness of the Israeli political, economic and security situations have impacted on the ways that engineers become entrepreneurial. In particular, we note how three generations of engineers have been variously affected since Israel was founded in 1948. Each era brought with it different needs and different socio-economic circumstances. Some pushed engineers into enterprise, but later, we show how pull factors have determined the Israeli entrepreneurial milieu. However, for all eras, we find that learning to become an entrepreneur was a lifelong process, an amalgam of experience moulded with formal learning. These elements fused self and circumstance to determine the career trajectories of our enterprising engineers. Although this study is based on Israeli data, the conditions for the third generation reflect global convergence. Accordingly, the learning process for new engineers can be anticipated as universal.