Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Psychological Factors Influencing Perceived Entrepreneurial Success among Nigerian Women in Small-Scale Businesses

Academic journal article Journal of International Women's Studies

Psychological Factors Influencing Perceived Entrepreneurial Success among Nigerian Women in Small-Scale Businesses

Article excerpt


This paper considered self-concept, perceived managerial competence, work stress and business commitment as important psychological variables for perceived entrepreneurial success among female entrepreneurs. A study was conducted to examine these factors, using 213 female entrepreneurs. The results showed that although all the predictor variables jointly accounted for perceived entrepreneurial success only business commitment contributed significantly. But in the independent prediction of the variables, only self-concept and business commitment were significant. Additionally, number of children significantly influenced perceived success with females having 5 children and more, and those having 1-2 children reporting better success than those without children or having 3-4 children. However, marital status did not significantly influence perceived entrepreneurial success. The study concludes that success for female entrepreneurs relies on a high self-concept regarding their role in business, commitment to business and reduction of a conflict between home responsibilities and business. The authors also encourage women to attend training programs on business management.

Key Words: female entrepreneurs, psychology of work, Nigerian women.


Work is an essential aspect of life. People work to live and to live is to work. To the psychologist, work is an important source of identity, self-esteem, and self-actualization, which provides a sense of fulfillment by affording the individual worker a sense of purpose and projecting his or her values to the society (Babalola, 1998). Work can also be a source of frustration, boredom, and can at times bring feelings of meaninglessness, depending on the character of the individual and the nature of the task (Arnold, Cooper & Robertson, 1995).

Onah (1994) has recognized two components of the work force; the formal and the informal. The formal work sector is sometimes referred to as the "organized" sector. It is a work organization with a set of goals and aspirations involving bureaucratic procedures with complex organizational structures in which there are routine, predictable tasks. The informal work sector is concerned with economic activities that are unregulated and without any formal mode of operation beyond the dictates of market forces. Self-employed workers are classified as being in the informal work sector; they may work in their homes or market stalls or their businesses may be well established (in terms of fixed public place of business and assets) (Babalola, 1998).

By the tradition of some cultures in Nigeria, like the Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa, Bini, women are not expected to be involved in occupations that will take them outside their matrimonial home; they are rather expected to manage the family and "be submissive to their husbands" (Ehigie & Idemudia, 2000). Because women are increasingly expected to work when they complete their educational careers, there is a decline of domestic work as an occupation (Ehigie, 2000). Thus, the number and percentage of wives and mothers in the labor force are increasing (Menaghan & Parcell, 1990). However, Ehigie (1997) opined that people opt for their wives to engage in less demanding occupations, especially non-career occupations. Hence, many now engage in small-scale businesses in Nigeria.

There is no legal or single clear-cut definition of what constitutes small enterprises in Nigeria (Ozigbo, 2000). And the classification of businesses into small, medium or large is a subjective and qualitative judgment (Ekpenyong & Nyong, 1992). Under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) monetary and credit policy guidelines for 1996, as reported by Ozigbo (2000), small scale enterprise is defined as an enterprise with fixed assets excluding land, but including working capital not exceeding N10 million.

A small scale business, which could exist in the form of a manufacturing, processing or service industry, is one in which the general and functional management are in the hands of one or, at most, two or three people who also make all the important decisions in that business (Udeh, 1990). …

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