Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

The Influence of General Self-Efficacy on Women Entrepreneurs

Academic journal article Academy of Entrepreneurship Journal

The Influence of General Self-Efficacy on Women Entrepreneurs

Article excerpt


Nowadays, women account for more than half of the Asian population. Their participation in business is increasing at a rapid pace in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Generally, the number of women-owned businesses in Malaysia is increasing by the year. In 2010, the figure was 126,910, increased to 186,855 in 2016 (SME Corporation Malaysia, 2017). Also, in the latter year, 20.6 percent of the 907,065 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia were owned by women. Furthermore, women-owned micro-businesses accounted for one-fourth (20.6 percent) of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2016. The Malaysian Government has designated SMEs, particularly those with women entrepreneurs, as the backbone of the national economy. In light of the fact that women entrepreneurs play vital roles in the development of the economies of their families and countries, it is arguable that their performances are lower than those of male entrepreneurs (Akanji, 2006; Fairlie & Robb, 2009; Ocholah et al., 2013). Studies have shown inconsistent findings regarding the performances of women entrepreneurs. Some have reported that the performances of male entrepreneurs were greater than those of their female counterparts (Watson, 2002; Akanji, 2006), and that the majority of female businesses remained small (Marlow & McAdam, 2013). On the other hand, Watson (2013) has noted that female-owned businesses performed slightly better than maleowned ones. Meanwhile, other studies did not find gender-based differences in terms of entrepreneurial performance (Du Rietz & Henrekson, 2000; Bardasi, 2007). Thus, the ambiguity in the performances of women-owned businesses was one of the gaps to be accounted for by this study.


Business Performance

Performance is a continuous and flexible process which involves managers, partners, and people who run the business (Armstrong, 2006). It is also the end result of business activities and strategic management processes (Agha et al., 2012). According to Bernardin (2010), a person's job performance depends on a combination of ability (or competency), effort, and opportunity, all of which should be measured in terms of the outcomes or results. Teoh & Chong (2007) identified performance as the act of doing something successfully with the application of knowledge in contrast to the mere possession of the same. Likewise, Smith & Reece (1999) defined business performance as "The operational ability to satisfy the desires of the company's major shareholders". Yet, past studies have not given much attention on the role of gender and the relative difference in business performance with respect to the same. In other words, the performances and success of women entrepreneurs were defined differently as compared to their male counterparts. As Carter et al. (2001) stated that discussions on the relationship between gender and business performance have increased in the last 15 years. Previous researches have reported that women-owned businesses were smaller and had slower growth (Hanson, 2009) as the successes of individuals and businesses have been measures in terms of money and profits. This has led to the general perception that these businesses were not as successful as those which were owned by males (Sabarwal & Terrell, 2008). Women entrepreneurs' strategic approaches towards performance improvement tend to emphasise on quality, unlike their male counterparts (Chaganti & Parasuraman, 1994). According to Alam et al. (2011), women entrepreneurs measure success in terms of self-satisfaction when they are able to generate income and contribute to their families. Likewise, Dhaliwal (2000) mentioned that women entrepreneurs felt a sense of success when they saw themselves as valuable economic resources.


Self-efficacy is defined as a personal estimation of an individual's cognitive and physical capabilities in exercising control over situational demands (Sweida & Reichard, 2013). …

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