Women in Family Business Leadership Roles

Women in Family Business Leadership Roles

Daughters on the Stage

Mary Barrett and Ken Moores

Mary Barrett and Ken Moores breathe new life into research on one of the largest and yet frequently overlooked business sectors. They analyse thirteen international cases of women in family business to discover how women attained leadership or, sometimes, failed to do so. By examining in detail how women have reached the top in the traditionally conservative environment of family business, the book avoids essentialist assumptions about women as leaders. It illuminates classic issues of entrepreneurship in a family business context, particularly the dual imperatives of innovation and business continuity. Women in Family Business Leadership Roles presents contemporary research that looks at the patterns of success and failure, and understand whether this is the result of gender or other factors.

Chapter 2: A Global Perspective

Mary Barrett and Ken Moores

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


With the growing attention to women’s entrepreneurship which Chapter 1 discusses, there is increasing interest in the profile of women entrepreneurs in the international context, and in how women everywhere may be encouraged to start new businesses. This interest focuses especially on how women can be encouraged to start opportunity-based (rather than necessity-based) firms—that is, how they can choose to be an entrepreneur as one of several desirable career options, rather than take that path through lack of other opportunities. Here we add insights from the empirical research findings which Chapter 1 discusses, about the value of a family business background for creating capacity and interest in entrepreneurship. This chapter sets out some recent findings about characteristics of women’s entrepreneurial activity worldwide and discusses them in the light of the potential of family businesses as training grounds for entrepreneurship. THE GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP MONITOR (GEM) The data for this chapter is drawn from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), a not-for-profit academic research consortium that aims to ‘make high quality international research data on entrepreneurial activity readily available to as wide an audience as possible’ (GEM, 2008). Specifically, it aims to ‘measure differences in the level of entrepreneurial activity between countries, uncover factors determining national levels of entrepreneurial activity and identify policies that may enhance national levels of entrepreneurial activity‘ (Allen et al., 2008, p. 8). The GEM is the largest single study of entrepreneurial activity in the world. Following its inception in 1997, it has reported annually since 1999. The...

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