Assertive and ambitious : do gender roles influence nascent entrepreneurs' intention to use business incubation?
Burton, Kristin Kathleen
University of Wisconsin--Whitewater
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Entrepreneurs are vital to the global economy as they create jobs, reduce unemployment, and accelerate economic growth. However, practitioners and scholars have recognized the existence of gender bias in opportunities and mechanisms that help create new business, which consequently cultivates fewer women entrepreneurs. A key support mechanism for entrepreneurs during their business infancy stage is the business incubator, which provides tailored business assistance and a conducive work environment for early-stage entrepreneurs. Despite the economic need for entrepreneurs and the proven success of business incubators, women are under-represented in the business incubation environment, indicating a gender-based barrier to business incubation participation. Extant research on business incubation is gender-neutral and most studies have focused on the extent of usage of services and programs offered for women but have not gotten to the root of the problem by understanding factors that lead to low usage of business incubators by women entrepreneurs. This research addressed the identified gap in scholarship by developing a behavioral intention model rooted in social psychology theories to explain entrepreneurs’ intention to use business incubation and examine if there is a gender and gender role-based difference in the intention to incubate. Empirical evaluation through a survey of 346 nascent entrepreneurs indicated that while a nascent entrepreneur’s perceptions of usefulness and ease of use of business incubation and environmental influences are positively associated with a nascent entrepreneur's intention to incubate, there is also a significant difference in how men and women perceive the usefulness and ease of use of business incubation.
Sex role in the work environment
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