Abstract

This paper is among the first to examine the interplay between deinstitutionalization and the rollout of novel business models by women entrepreneurs in developing countries. Extant scholarship has largely focused on the capacity and resolve of existing institutions to enhance or inhibit women’s entrepreneurship. Implicit in this approach is a presumption that institutional change is the key driver of entrepreneurial activity and novel organizational forms among women. This, in turn, suggests that the fate of women entrepreneurs is tied to, and emanates from, deinstitutionalization efforts (Oliver 1992). While this premise is intuitively enticing, we believe that the “institutional cascading” model (e.g. Thornton & Ocasio 2008) may actually be constructed upside down. Unstudied to date is an alternative perspective in which novel business models developed by women entrepreneurs may instead lead to deinstitutionalization. Our central argument is that women entrepreneurs bring to market radicalizing business models for the sake of profiting from market success, but in so doing unintentionally trigger a reassessment of institutional structures and aims.

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