Feminist attributes and entrepreneurial identity

Purpose
The purpose of this study is to examine how feminist attributes are expressed within entrepreneurial identity.

Design/methodology/approach
The study employed a purposive sampling technique to recruit 15 self‐identified “feminist entrepreneurs”. This included retailers, manufacturers, exploration operators, consultants, and professionals. Qualitative data were subject to content analysis.

Findings
Contrary to a feminine archetype portrayed as caring and nurturing, respondents do not describe themselves as typically portrayed in the feminist literature. Prevalent themes included participative leadership, action‐oriented, and creative thinker/or problem solver.

Research limitations/implications
Researchers should use caution in assuming feminist discourse has direct application to characterizing or stereotyping “feminist” entrepreneurs. The applicability and reliability of “off the shelf” psychometrics to describe contemporary gender roles across the myriads of processes associated with venture creation must also be questioned. Limitations: the purposive and small‐sample limits the generalizability of findings to the diverse community of female entrepreneurs. Testing of the applicability, validity, and reliability of the nomenclature used to describe self‐identity is warranted across international samples of feminist entrepreneurs.

Practical implications
The current study provides an inventory of feminist entrepreneurs’ self‐described leadership attributes. The nomenclature can be used by women‐focused trainers to help clients to recognize their entrepreneurial attributes.

Social implications
The study may assist women in recognizing identity synergies and conflicts (e.g. within themselves and among family, employees, clients, etc.).

Originality/value
This is the first study that documents feminist entrepreneurs’ leadership attributes. As such, the work is a step in seeking to reconcile feminist theory and entrepreneurial practice.

Keywords

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