Gender and Entrepreneurship
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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.
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Chapter 3: A Multilevel Theory of Gender and Entrepreneurship

Amanda Brickman Elam


___________________________________________________ In the previous chapter, I offered a practice theory view, inspired largely by Bourdieu’s theory of structured social action, status expectations state theory, and Lenski’s evolutionary theory of society. The main goal of this practice theory view is to reveal the ways in which social, cultural, and material systems combine to reproduce differential outcomes across social groups. In this chapter, I apply this theory to the case of gender and entrepreneurship. First I define entrepreneurship and elaborate a practice theory view of the decision to start a business. Next, I review the entrepreneurship literature as it applies to the key predictors articulated in my multilevel practice theory of gender and entrepreneurship. And, finally, I propose a set of five hypotheses to guide the test of this new theory. WHAT IS ENTREPRENEURSHIP? The term entrepreneurship holds different meanings for different people. For some, entrepreneurship is a way of thinking and feeling about the world. In this sense it represents a spirit of being—an energetic, innovative, strategic approach to the pursuit of profit. For others, it is something that people do— an economic activity or a set of tasks, bounded and goal-directed, that more or less involves risk-taking, strategic decision-making, innovation, and the mobilization and management of available resources. As scholars, we have really struggled with the basic definition of entrepreneurship. Contributing to the challenge of achieving some sort of consensus definition are the research interests and goals of various scholars, along with the various levels of analysis and the different...

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