Rising Above: How Women's Entreprneurial Intentions Improve Through Stereotype Protection And Stereotype Boost
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentBusiness and Management
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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To date, much of women entrepreneurship has been focused on documenting the differences between male and female entrepreneurs and their ventures (Jennings & Brush, 2013). The literature on women's entrepreneurship has mostly focused on problems and challenges, the causes and roots of such problems, and on offering explanations for these problems (James, 2012). Previous research has failed to provide an explanation for how women overcome such problems. This leaves a gap in the literature on women's entrepreneurship when it comes to how women surmount the challenges they face, and how they build and run ventures despite such challenges. Negative gender stereotype has been recognized as one of the problems women entrepreneurs face when starting and growing a business. Specifically, negative gender stereotypes have detrimental impact on women's entrepreneurial intentions (Gupta, Turban, Bhawe, 2008). This dissertation explains how women entrepreneurs overcome the negative gender stereotypes through the implications of stereotype reactance/protection theory (Kray, Thompson, & Galinsky, 2001; Javadian & Zoogah, 2014), entrepreneurial self-efficacy, perception of opportunities, and relative deprivation theory (Runicman, 1966). Moreover, research on women entrepreneurs largely ignores the possibility of entrepreneurial advantages. The second purpose of this dissertation is to examine whether and how femininity is advantageous to women entrepreneurs. I argue that there are several feminine characteristics, such as passion, affection, sensitivity to the needs of others, and understanding, which are beneficial to entrepreneurial activities. Then, the stereotype boost theory (Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady, 1999), entrepreneurial self-efficacy, perception of opportunities and relative gratification theory (Martin, 1981) are applied to explore any positive impact of femininity on entrepreneurial intentions. Two separate studies were conducted to examine the hypotheses of this dissertation. The first study examined the effects of stereotype protection and stereotype boost as they relate to venture creation intentions. The second study examined the effects of stereotype protection and stereotype boost as they relate to venture growth intentions. The results indicated that when negative gender stereotype was present, women with low levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and perception of opportunities had lower venture creation intentions compared to men. On the other hand, women with high levels of entrepreneurial self-efficacy and perception of opportunities did not report lower venture creation intentions than men when negative gender stereotype was present. However, women's venture creation intentions levels were not found to be equal to men's venture creation intentions. In addition to examining the acute influence of stereotype reactance on entrepreneurial intentions, I examined the chronic effects of stereotype reactance among women entrepreneurs using relative deprivation theory. Stereotype reactance among women entrepreneurs was found to positively impact their venture growth intentions. Lack of cognitive relative deprivation was shown to contribute to stereotype reactance. However, while affective relative deprivation was found to positively impact venture growth intentions, the interaction of affective relative deprivation and stereotype reactance was found to negatively impact venture growth intentions. In addition to examining the effects of negative gender stereotypes on entrepreneurial intentions, the dissertation also looked at the effects of positive gender stereotypes. However, unlike the predictions of stereotype boost theory, when positive gender stereotype was present, women did not report higher levels of venture creation intentions than men even when entrepreneurial self-efficacy and perception of opportunities were high. In addition, I examined the chronic effects stereotype boost among women entrepreneurs using relative gratification theory. While vulnerability to positive stereotypes did not directly contribute to women entrepreneurs' venture growth intentions; it contributed to the experience of relative gratification which in turn positively impacted venture growth intentions.