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Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson
Chapter 4: Career Paths of Women Business Owners
Dorothy Perrin Moore Introduction A wide spectrum of career paths leads women to business ownership. The paths are heavily inﬂuenced by the experiences women have working for others in organizations where they are exposed to business plans, structures and designs, technological innovations, and leadership and managerial styles. This chapter examines the inﬂuences of corporate-life experiences on women’s career aspirations and how female entrepreneurs structure their businesses. Career and entrepreneurial research – Two parallel paths Edgar Schein’s career anchor model allowed for a gender-blind study of entrepreneurship. Other researchers, however, tended to aggregate people in the workforce into the distinct categories of employment in someone else’s business or operating their own, and from there it was a short step to conclude that the behaviour and values of the selfemployed and the organizational employee diﬀered fundamentally (Gartner et al., 1992). Early work thus tended to follow a fundamental premise that entrepreneurs were characteristically diﬀerent from people who worked in organizations. Most career researchers did not study business ownership as a possible career step while researchers who studied entrepreneurs focused on what motivated people to start businesses of their own and left enquiries into career progression and advancement, to the career theorists (Dyer, 1994). Studies of entrepreneurs originating from these baselines usually compared and contrasted the fundamental antecedent inﬂuences related to the individual, social and economic factors that led to the selection of entrepreneurship as a career choice. The studies were nearly always about men (Moore, 2000). Within this...
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