Gender and Entrepreneurship

Gender and Entrepreneurship

A Multilevel Theory and Analysis

Amanda Brickman Elam

This book examines three distinct contributions to the study of entrepreneurship. Firstly, it contributes to both sociological and institutional theories of entrepreneurship and the entrepreneur. Secondly, it presents a cross-national comparative framework for the multilevel analysis of entrepreneurship. Finally, this book produces a key multilevel finding with regard to the importance of national gender beliefs for the likelihood of business creation among both men and women.

Chapter 2: A Practice Theory View of Social Difference

Amanda Brickman Elam

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, entrepreneurship, gender and management


___________________________________________________ The arguments put forth in the previous chapter focused on the need for a new and improved theoretical framework for the study of entrepreneurship. Current findings are mixed and plagued with problems of bias toward business forms and experiences that are not representative of all social groups. As a consequence, theories of entrepreneurship tend to share similar biases. What is needed is an overarching theory of entrepreneurship that centers on the ways in which social, cultural, and material factors combine to create new businesses and new business owners. Such a theory should, importantly, provide a central place for notions of class, gender, race and other key social groups and locate current theoretical views within a larger social landscape. Moreover, certainly for the purposes of cross-national research, such a theory should be multilevel and testable (DiPrete and Forristal 1994). I am explicitly interested in a testable theory because, in the tradition of Emile Durkheim, I am interested in the links between theory and empirical reality. Grand theories are derived in some fashion or another from observations and analyses of the world around us. The most interesting and important part of any social theory is the extent to which it actually applies to the realities of our social world today. Scholars within the field of entrepreneurship have already made some progress in the direction of a comprehensive conceptual framework, but I think we can go further. One of the more interesting aspects of academic life for me is the discovery, translation, and...

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