Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship

Lund University School of Economics and Management

The importance of reflective thought in education

Published: 2016-09-18

Gustav Hägg awarded Best paper

At this year´s ESU conference, Gustav Hägg PhD candidate at Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship, Lund University School of Economics and Management was awarded “Best paper” for his paper The reflective novice entrepreneur: From habitual action to intelligent action using experience-based pedagogy as a vehicle for change. 

In the paper Hägg is looking into the importance of reflective thought in experiental entrepreneurship education. He argues that the action-oriented and experiental pedagogical approach is not enough for students to learn, but they also needs reflective thought to bridge between theory and practice. By developing reflective thought the students are able to develop self-awareness as learners and to apply and adopt theoretical insights to action. 

The ESU Doctoral programme is a yearly conference that offers a programme for PhD students of all phases in their studies. The programme offers sustainable networks and knowledge exchange between the ESU-members. This year the conference was held in Lyon, France. 



Why is it of importance to develop reflective thought when engaging in experiential entrepreneurship education? The question has motivated the present study for gaining increased understanding how different forms of knowledge interact when adopting experience-based pedagogy in entrepreneurship education. It has for long been argued that entrepreneurship demands a different pedagogical approach, which is action-oriented and experiential. However, learning through and from experience is not only to engage in action, as the fundaments for grasping actions taken has been positioned as a triangulation between the experiences gained, the conceptual knowledge that could explain the action, and reflective thought, which creates a bridge between theory and practice to develop knowledge and insights for future learning. The study adopts a mixed-method approach based on a dominant and simultaneous design, where the qualitative data in the form of reflective diaries are dominant, but complimented by a pre- mid- and post-survey on reflective thought. The study provides evidence of the importance to develop abilities of reflective thought for developing entrepreneurial knowledge when adopting an experience-based pedagogy. The study also acknowledge a pattern for developing reflective thought, which is based on developing conceptual understanding early in the learning process, which is then used to develop skills from the entrepreneurial experiences gained. Through development of reflective thought the students develop self-awareness as learners and are able to apply and adopt theoretical insights to actions taken, and by that increase their abilities to make intelligent acts in future uncertain situations.


Contact Gustav Hägg for more information regarding the paper
Visit the ESU website to get more inforamtion regarding the conference.