Diverse Settings, Questions and Approaches
Edited by Karen D. Hughes and Jennifer E. Jennings
Chapter 5: How do Social Welfare and Support Systems Influence the Attitudes of Female Entrepreneurs Towards Risk and Options?
Nicholas C. Fairclough INTRODUCTION Over the last ten years the field of entrepreneurship has become a distinct and valued field of managerial research. As a consequence, entrepreneurs, entrepreneurial behaviour and characteristics, and the success and failure of new ventures, have been the subject of increasing amounts of academic research, theory-building and empirical testing. However, the majority of this research, valuable though it is, has been predominantly focused on North American individuals, practices, organizations and phenomena. Admittedly, there is a small, and growing, corpus of research which is concerned with data from Western Europe, transitional economies, and the Far East. However, with taking this research into account, the picture is still heavily skewed in favour of North American data and research sites. Because of the preponderance of North American literature, countryspecific factors have been lost or ignored. Thus, the power of institutions, cultures and national traits, and their role in entrepreneurial behaviour, success and failure, have not been properly researched or appreciated. Contextual information (country-specific information) is lacking as a meaningful component of current entrepreneurial thinking and theorybuilding. As Shane and Venkataraman (2000: 220) write, ‘to have entrepreneurship, you must first have entrepreneurial opportunities’; however, different societies, cultures, and legal and political systems will provide different opportunities, on different terms and at different times. As North (1990: vii) notes, ‘History matters . . . the present and the future are connected to the past by the continuity of a society’s institutions’. Understanding some of the factors that might affect these varied entrepreneurial settings will...
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