Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Roth, Gene L.

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


Businesspeople--Training of--United States; Entrepreneurship--United States


With the evolution of entrepreneurship during the 1990s, no other contemporary classification has emerged comprising such unique characteristics as the propreneur. Edwards and Edwards differentiated between conventional entrepreneurs by creating this modern classification. Although a body of research has been generated on both professionalism and entrepreneurship, investigations focused on the realm of the propreneur have been exiguous. The primary objective of this study was to construct a model of crucial success factors for propreneurs and to establish a clearer distinction of what transpires during their developmental learning phases. A qualitative grounded theory approach was used to collect, analyze, and synthesize data. Data were collected utilizing interviews and personal observations of 17 small business owners from various professional career fields located within the third largest career market in the United States. Interview transcripts were recorded and analyzed by the researcher to determine themes, patterns, categories, and properties. A theoretical model of crucial success factors (CSF) for small business propreneurs was developed from the research findings. The research indicated that propreneurs evolved over time after experiencing diverse stages of mentoring in different learning environments. These propreneurs had the opportunity to obtain firsthand knowledge of the essential components of entrepreneurship with experiential learning. The participants in this study systematically achieved the 10 crucial success factors depicted in the developmental model in sequential order. The subjects observed and learned the internal workings of a successful business which were crucial in their individual development and evolution. The developmental model of this study contains three separate learning phases. The three learning phases identified in the literature and the data helped the propreneurs absorb the meaningful knowledge necessary to continue advancing through the model. These findings will have significant influences on the field of adult continuing education as well as implications for adult learning and workforce training.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [167]-174).


xi, 197 pages




Northern Illinois University

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