Context, Process and Gender in Entrepreneurship

Context, Process and Gender in Entrepreneurship

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship Research

Frontiers in European Entrepreneurship series

Edited by Robert Blackburn, Ulla Hytti and Friederike Welter

By combining high quality and in-depth research in the field, this book provides a state of the art analysis of the current topical issues in European entrepreneurship and small business research. With contributions from international experts, the book provides a particular focus on the behaviour between individuals and groups within different contexts; the personal and structural factors that shape entrepreneurial and small business activity; and a focus on gender in entrepreneurship within different contexts.

Chapter 8: The gendered nature of family business succession: case studies from France

Janice Byrne and Salma Fattoum

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management


The issue of daughter exclusion in family business succession remains an under-researched area (Ip and Jacobs, 2006). Indeed, the role that gender plays in succession has received little attention in the literature (Martinez Jimenez, 2009; Martin, 2001; Wang, 2010). In light of the expected increase in turnover of ownership in family business in the coming decade, it is important to understand the issues facing women in the succession process. More research on gender and succession is required (Wang, 2010; Constantinidis and Nelson, 2009): we need to understand why so few women currently lead family businesses (Vera and Dean, 2005). Without such research, there is a danger that gender bias will lead to potential successors being ignored or undervalued (Martinez Jimenez, 2009) which could create a situation where worthy successors are not ‘groomed’ and failure becomes in-built (Wang et al., 2008). However, at the same time, we need to recognize that researching gender is not just about pinpointing the impact one’s sex category has on one’s potential to be a successor. Following our colleagues in entrepreneurship, we insist on the need for more research which uses a ‘gender as a lens’ approach as opposed to a ‘gender as a variable’ approach (Greene et al., 2006; Brush et al., 2012). This implies recognition of the importance of context and a conceptualization of succession as a gendered activity.

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