Abstract

Theory predicting differences between male and female entrepreneurs is under-developed. Most theory is gender neutral. However, recent research suggests women’s socialization leads them to perceive opportunity differently (DeTienne & Chandler, 2007), their social roles/place might exclude them from social networks creating information asymmetries (Welter, et al, 2006), and institutional aspects of entrepreneurship affect women differentially (Baughn, Chua and Neupert, 2006). New theoretical development in women’s entrepreneurship proposes a gender aware framework comprising “5 M’s” (Brush, de Bruin & Welter; 2009). The framework is rooted in the premise that entrepreneurship is socially embedded (Davidsson, 2003) and draws from institutional theory. It extends three “M’s” - market, money and management, described as the building blocks of business viability (Bates, et al, 2007). Market encapsulates opportunity, management encompasses human and organizational capital and money refers to financial capital. It adds “motherhood”, as a metaphor representing the household/family context, proposing this has a larger impact on women than men in the entrepreneurial process. The fifth “M” is the meso and macro environment; meso, reflecting intermediate structures and institutions, and macro, referring to expectations of society and cultural norms. The framework is intended to be holistic, but simultaneously suggests that distinct gender differences would be identified because of the gender embeddedness of women (de Bruin, et al, 2007).

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