Using Decision Tree Analysis to Predict Women's Entrepreneurial Choices

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

If pre-entrepreneurial perceptions precede entrepreneurial behavior, then entrepreneurship researchers should benefit from perception-based research in entrepreneurship. This paper investigates the role of women's pre-entrepreneurial perception on their satisfaction levels and the impact this in turn will have on their choices of pursuing or not pursuing entrepreneurial endeavors. Using data from female graduates of a Liberal Arts College in Upstate New York, the perception of job satisfaction levels are analyzed on a comparative basis with their counterparts across gender lines. The data allows us to demonstrate that women view their satisfaction levels differently when gender is accounted for. In addition, the paper offers a unique analysis of female college graduates' job satisfaction levels, college education satisfaction levels and their relation to entrepreneurial choices. The paper is unique in its application of a decision tree analysis to answer this major question, as well as others.

INTRODUCTION

Theorists often claim that factors that lead to entrepreneurship participation are based on three main perspectives: (1) the characteristics of the entrepreneur; (2) how the entrepreneur uses knowledge, networks and resources to construct firms; (3) the environmental forces at different levels of analysis (people, population, society), (Low and MacMillan, 1988; Aldrich and Martinez, 2001). All three areas have received reasonable focus over the last four decades of concentrated attention paid to entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial orientation. The latter distinction has been made in the past, but was made most recently by Limpkin and Dess (1996) who saw the former concept as a broad perspective on the subject and the latter as encompassing methods, practices and decision making styles used by the entrepreneurs.

This paper merges the economic and the psychology domains of entrepreneurship with the goal of determining what psychological factors help to determine certain entrepreneurial choices. The paper assesses various facets of career related perception as key determinants of entrepreneurial choices, behaviors and, ultimately, success. The failure of past entrepreneurial research that clearly highlights the role of earlier perceptions on later entrepreneurial choices has created a vacuum within the entrepreneurship literature that has been waiting to be filled. With this deficiency in mind, we examine the role of career related perceptions on the entrepreneurial choices made by women when engaging in entrepreneurial behavior.

Over the last five decades, the influx of women into the workforce has occurred at an unprecedented pace, resulting in a 46-48% rate of workforce participation level (Jones and George, 2009). Despite their labor force participation rates, numerous studies reveal that women continue to face stereotyping, struggle with bias in hiring, promotion, training and salaries and are forced to reconcile serious work/life conflicts. One area that has received an adequate focus is the level of job satisfaction women experience when compared to their male counterparts. However, no known study has looked at the link between job satisfaction levels and the level of satisfaction with the skills and training received from females' college education.

Job satisfaction has been defined as a positive feeling about one's job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics (Robbins and Judge, 2011). The topic of job satisfaction is important because of its implications to other job related variables, such as job performance, job involvement and motivation (Robbins and Judge, 2011; Danielson and Bodin, 2009), Moreover, various studies have shown that job satisfaction is positively related to motivation, job involvement, organizational citizenship behavior, organizational commitment, life satisfaction, mental health and job performance and negatively related to absenteeism, turnover and perceived stress (Janssen, 2001; McCue and Gianakis, 1997, Judge et al, 2001; Spector, 1997). …