A Research Perspective
Edited by Candida G. Brush, Anne de Bruin, Elizabeth J. Gatewood and Colette Henry
Chapter 9: The Work–Family Interface Strategies of Male and Female Entrepreneurs: Are There Any Differences?
1 Jennifer E. Jennings, Karen D. Hughes and P. Devereaux Jennings INTRODUCTION Three predominant perspectives are evident within existing work on the factors influencing the growth of female-led firms and the reasons why they tend to be smaller than those headed by men. The first focuses on individual-level characteristics, attributing the differential to gender differences in personality traits (e.g., Buttner and Moore, 1997; Sexton and Bowman-Upton, 1990) or human and social capital (e.g., Cooper et al., 1994; Davis and Aldrich, 2000; Fischer et al., 1993). The second draws attention to strategic choices, emphasizing that male and female entrepreneurs tend to differ with respect to the growth objectives established for their firms (e.g., Cliff, 1998; Orser and Hogarth-Scott, 2002) and/or the industries in which they operate (e.g., Carter et al., 1997; Hughes, 2005; Kalleberg and Leicht, 1991). The third considers the role played by broader external determinants, such as the existence of any discriminatory practices with respect to the provision of financial capital (e.g., Fabowale et al., 1995; Haines et al., 1999). Although these predominant perspectives are wide-reaching, intuitively appealing and theoretically grounded, empirical investigations reveal that they account for only a modest amount of variation, at best, in the relative performance of male-headed and femaleheaded firms (see, for example, Fischer et al., 1993; Kalleberg and Leicht, 1991; Loscocco et al., 1991). As such, the field is in need of new approaches to the puzzling and socio-economically important questions of what factors might lead to differences between female and male-run businesses....
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