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Entrepreneurship: The role of gender, perceptions, and institutions

  • While women's evolving contribution to entrepreneurship is irrefutable, in almost all nations, gender disparity is an existing reality of entrepreneurship. Social and economic outcomes make women entrepreneurship an important area for scholars and governments. In attempts to find reasons for this gender disparity, academic scholars evaluated various factors and recognised perceptual variables as having outstanding explanatory value in understanding women's entrepreneurship. To advance our knowledge of gender disparity in entrepreneurship, the present study explores the influence of entrepreneurial perceptual variables on women's entrepreneurship and considers the critical role of country-level institutional contexts on the women's entrepreneurial propensity. Therefore, this study examines the impact of perceptual variables in different nations. It also offers connections between entrepreneurial perceptions, women entrepreneurship, and institutional contexts as a critical topic for future studies. Drawing on the importance of perceptual factors, this dissertation investigates whether and how their perception of entrepreneurial networks influences the individuals' decision to initiate a new venture. Prior scholars considered exposure to entrepreneurial role models as one of the most influential factors on the women's inclination towards entrepreneurship; thus, a systemized analysis makes it possible to identify existing research gaps related to this perception. Hence, to draw a clear picture of the relationship between entrepreneurial role models and entrepreneurship, this dissertation provides a systemized overview of prior studies. Subsequently, Chapter 2 structures the existing literature on entrepreneurial role models and reveals that past literature has focused on the different types of role models, the stage of life at which the exposure to role models occurs, and the context of the exposure. Current discourse argues that the women's lower access to entrepreneurial role models negatively influences their inclination towards entrepreneurship. Additionally, although the research on women entrepreneurship has proliferated in recent years, little is known about how entrepreneurial perceptual variables form women's propensity towards entrepreneurship in various institutional contexts. The work of Koellinger et al. (2013), hereafter KMS, is one of the most influential papers that investigated the influence of perceptual variables, and it showed that a lower rate of women entrepreneurship is associated with a lower level of their entrepreneurial network, perceived entrepreneurial capability, and opportunity evaluation and with a higher fear of entrepreneurial failure. Thus, this dissertation replicates the work of KMS. Chapter 3 explicitly investigates the influence of the above perceptions on women's entrepreneurial propensity. This research has drawn data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a cross-national individual-level data set (2001-2006) covering 236,556 individuals across 17 countries. The results of this chapter suggest that gender disparities in entrepreneurial propensity are conditioned by differences in entrepreneurial perceptual variables. Women's lower levels of perceived entrepreneurial capability, entrepreneurial role models and opportunity evaluation and their higher fear of failure lead to lower entrepreneurial propensity. To extend and generalise the relationship between perceptions and women's entrepreneurial propensity, in Chapter 4, two studies are conducted based on replicated research. Extension 1 generalises the results of KMS by using the same analysis on more recent data. Accordingly, this research implemented the same analysis on 372,069 individuals across the same countries (2011-2016). The recent data show that although gender disparity became significantly weaker, the gender gap is still in men's favour. However, similarly to the replicated study, this research revealed that perceptual factors explain a larger part of the gender disparity. To strengthen prior empirical evidence, in extension 2, utilising a sample of 1,029,863 individuals from 71 countries (2011-2016), the study conducted the same measures and analysis in a more global setting. By including developing countries, gender disparity in entrepreneurial propensity decreased significantly. The study revealed that the relative significance of the influences of perceptions' differs significantly across nations; however, perceptions have a worldwide effect. Moreover, this research found that the ratio of nascent women entrepreneurs in less developed countries to those in more developed nations is 2. More precisely, a higher level of economic development negatively influences the impact of perceptions on women's entrepreneurial propensity. Whereas prior scholars increasingly underlined the importance of perceptions in explaining a large part of gender disparities in entrepreneurship, most of the prior investigations focused on nascent (early-stage) entrepreneurship, and evidence on the relationship between perceptions and other types of self-employment, such as innovative entrepreneurship, is scant. Innovation is a confirmed key driver of a firm's sustainability, higher competitive capability, and growth. Therefore, Chapter 5 investigates the influence of perceptions on women's innovative entrepreneurship. The chapter points out that entrepreneurial perceptions are the main determinants of the women's decision to offer a new product or service. This chapter also finds that women's innovative entrepreneurship is associated with the country's specific economic setting. Overall, by underlining the critical role of institutional contexts, this dissertation provides considerable insights into the interaction between perceptions and women entrepreneurship, and its results have implications for policymakers and practitioners, who may find it helpful to consider women entrepreneurship in systemized challenges. Formal and informal barriers affect women's entrepreneurial perceptions and can differ from one country to the other. In this sense, it is crucial to design operational plans to mitigate formal and stereotypical challenges, and thus, more women will be able to start a business, particularly in developing countries in which women significantly comprise a smaller portion of the labour markets. This type of policy could write the "rules of the game" such that these rules enhance the women's propensity towards entrepreneurship.

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Author:Arezou Abbasianchavari
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Date of completion:2021/12/01
Publishing institution:Universit├Ąt Trier
Granting institution:Universit├Ąt Trier, Fachbereich 4
Date of final exam:2021/10/05
Release Date:2021/12/13
GND Keyword:Entrepreneurship; Frau; Geschlechtsunterschied; Vorbild
Licence (German):License LogoCC BY-NC-ND: Creative-Commons-Lizenz 4.0 International

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