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International Handbook of Women and Small Business Entrepreneurship

Edited by Sandra L. Fielden and Marilyn J. Davidson

The number of women entering small business ownership has increased significantly across the world in recent years. These women make a crucial contribution to the economic growth and development of local, national and global economies. Yet, despite their increasing numbers, they have received comparatively little attention from the academic community. This comprehensive and coherent book redresses the balance and provides an up-to-date, theoretical review of this important area of study. A distinguished group of international contributors presents the latest work from the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, India and Singapore, which explores practical initiatives and strategies related to the experiences of women entering small business entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 4: Career Paths of Women Business Owners

Dorothy Perrin Moore


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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