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.
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). As such, the various disciplines of economics, sociology, psychology, psychiatry and various fields of business have shown an appropriate interest in workers' job satisfaction levels.
The level of job satisfaction among women is also an important aspect of thenwork experience because it may signify their potential long-term commitment to the world of work, as well as their ability to simultaneously address work/family conflict issues (Andrisani, 1978; Hodson, 1989; Mcelwain et al, 2005; Stevens, Kiger and Riley, 2006).
The principal purpose of this study is to examine a number of aspects of job satisfaction for female graduates, such as job advancement and compensation levels in a context of comparison with counterparts across gender lines. A secondary purpose is to look at the graduates' job satisfaction and look back to their satisfaction with their college education to determine the relationship between the two areas. More specifically, the study involves three major questions. First, will the women from the same graduating cohort express varying job satisfaction levels when viewing from a varying gender perspective? Second, will the women from the same cohort express varying job satisfaction with job advancement and compensation again when looked at from varying gender perspectives? Third, what will be the link between satisfaction with college education obtained and job satisfaction levels for the said group of women?
The literature review for this paper is divided into two distinct sectors. The first looks at women entrepreneurs and the impact that perceptions have on their choices. The second literature review section looks at the satisfaction levels of women. In so doing, the literature presentation allows the reader to analyze and decipher the framework for the decision tree analysis that is done in the results section.
Literature Review on Women's Job Satisfaction Levels
Satisfaction with one's job is said to be a standard for assessing the quality one's work experiences (Bokemeier and Lacy, 1986; Auster, 2001). Job satisfaction for women has been studied from various perspectives. This paper does so from five major streams: job satisfaction and performance; job satisfaction across various occupations; job satisfaction across countries; job satisfaction as related to work/family conflict and job satisfaction in varying gender composition groups.
Job satisfaction as related to job performance are detailed in the following key studies. The first looks at sex differences in job satisfaction and was explored utilizing data from the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) General Social Surveys, using information from the years 1974-1982. While the study confirms that women receive less job rewards than men, they do not show any difference in job satisfaction levels when compared to their male counterparts (Bokemeier and Lacy, 1986).
Earlier studies suggest that the gender composition of an employee's work group may in fact affect their job satisfaction levels (O'Reilly et al, 1989; Smith, 1992; Tsui, Egan and O'Reilly, 1992). This has been affirmed in more recent studies by Fields and Blum (1997) and even more recently from Bender at al (2005). In the case of Fields and Blum (1997), the authors found that both men and women working in gender balance groups have higher levels of job satisfaction than those who work in homogenous groups (Fields and Blum, 1997). They further concluded that employees working in groups containing mostly men have the lowest level of job satisfaction, with those working in groups containing mostly women falling in the middle (Fields and Blum, 1997). In the same vein but with differing results, Bender et al (2005) found that women report higher job satisfaction levels than their male counterparts, especially in workplaces that are dominated by fellow female workers. However, in a divergent set of results, the authors found that gender composition of the workplace plays no role in determining the job satisfaction levels of women (Bender et al, 2005).
There are many interesting parallels between gender relations and the work/home divide in regards to job satisfaction. Managing work and family responsibilities is an increasing problem in today's society, due in part to the changing roles of men and women in the workplace and at home. Not only are women now working outside the home, but various studies have found that women continue to engage in the majority of the housework at home (Duxbury et al, 1994; Leo, 2003; Greenhaus and Beutell, 1985). Using questionnaire data from 320 participants, Mcelwain, Korabik and Rosin (2005) found no significant gender differences for the relationship between Work Interfering with Family (WIF) and family satisfaction. In addition, the relationship between Family Interfering with Work (FIW) and jobs satisfaction was significantly stronger for men than for women (Mcelwain, Korabik and Rosin, 2005). In a related study, women's job satisfaction levels are higher for women with more job flexibility with their work and greater levels of family cohesion (Stevens, Kiger and Riley, 2006).
Job satisfaction levels of women and the central paradox of why women's job satisfaction is not always lower than that for men has been investigated across countries (Kim, 2005; Remennick, 2005; Sousa-Poza and Sousa-Poza, 2000). Sousa-Poza and Sousa-Poza (2000) found that in countries where women are much more satisfied than men, work-role outputs tend to be higher for women than for men.
Working women in Israel showed no differences in their job satisfaction levels when compared to their male counterparts (Remennick, 2005), while women in Korea from a survey of 5,128 public employees defied the central paradox and indicated that women are more satisfied with their jobs than are men (Kim, 2005).
Issues related to women's job satisfaction levels and different types of occupations have been researched through a number of studies. Environmental health professionals in North Carolina were evaluated, with significant differences found between job satisfaction with salary and career advancement among regions (Zontek, Duvernois and Ogle, 2009). Salary inequities identified for women with 6-15 years of experience, overall job satisfaction levels did not show any differences across age, gender or years of practice for the respondents in this said occupation (Zontek et al, 2009). The preceding results were echoed in studies by Jurik and Halemba (1984) who looked at correctional officers and McDuff (2001) who looked at clergies. Both studies showed that women's job satisfaction levels were higher than that for their male counterparts (Jurik and Halemba, 1984; McDuff, 2001). The prior results are in contrast to results from Price and Wulff (2005) and Blau and Tatum (2000), where women for the most part showed lower job satisfaction levels when compared to their male counterparts. The former article analyzed television newscasters, while the latter looked at medical technologies.
Two articles simultaneously looked at job satisfaction and occupations but did so across countries with different socioeconomic statuses. While holding occupation constant, Ssegana and Garrett (2005) and Sabharwal and Corley (2009) looked at faculty members teaching at colleges and universities in Uganda and the United States respectively. Sabharwal and Corley (2009) focused on analyzing job satisfaction by gender across disciplines, while controlling for a variety of demographic, institutional and career variables across all disciplines. The authors concluded that female faculty members expressed lower levels of job satisfaction when compared with male faculty members in the United States (Sabharwal and Corley, 2009). No such difference in job satisfaction levels were found across gender lines for faculty members in Uganda (Ssesanga and Garrett, 2005).
Literature Review in Related Women Entrepreneurs' Areas
Entrepreneurs in general and women entrepreneurs in particular are important facilitators of economic growth and development (Gorman and Sahlman, 1989; Jome, Donahue and Siegel, 2006). They are said to contribute to the development and introduction of new products, services and technologies and subsequently create the majority of new jobs, solidifying their role as a critical component of a nation's economy (Proimos and Murray, 2006). However, the area of women entrepreneurship, which has taken an increased focus in the last two decades, has not been thoroughly explored with all facets of the subject area intricately investigated. One area that has not been afforded the attention it deserves is the role perception impacts the type of businesses that women entrepreneurs enter into. Very few researchers thus far have attempted to examine the role of career perception in predicting the type of entrepreneurial ventures pursued or the role of varying perceptions on entrepreneurial success.
The entrepreneurial cycle has four phases - conception, gestation, infancy and adolescence (Aldrich and Martinez, 2001). This paper focuses on the perception that takes place at the conception stage (while someone is thinking about starting a business but probably working for someone else) and the impact that has on the gestation stage (the type of business started) as well as the impact that has on the infancy and adolescence stage (while the business is operational).
Within the multidisciplinary tradition of entrepreneurship research, theories that attempt to explain the relationship between the entrepreneur and new venture formation stems from several fields: economics, personality, psychology and strategy (Mitchell, Busenitz, Lant, McDougall, Morse and Smith, 2002) from an economic perspective, theories of entrepreneurship view the contribution of the entrepreneur to be a creation of new enterprise (Mitchell et al, 2002; Brown, Davidson and Wiklund, 2001). While the trait based or personality grounded psychological approach gives credence to the contributions of the individual themselves (Mitchell et al, 2002; Sarasvthy and Dew, 2008; Stewart and Roth, 2007). Tthe strategic management perspective in most recent decades have attempted to link new venture performance to entrepreneurial activities (Ireland, Covin and Kutatko, 2009).
It is true that all perspectives have merit from an entrepreneurial research view and each faction makes a significant contribution to a further understanding and exploration of the entrepreneurial literature. However, questions remain that demand answers. To this end, this paper explores a sector of the psychological literature focusing on perception and the role it plays in the entrepreneurial process. This research will shed light on two key areas. First, whether there is a relationship between women's perception of their feminine roles, compared to other women or men and the types of businesses she started. Second, whether their majors in college or types of degrees impacted the success of their businesses. Third, whether their majors or types of degrees pursued in college impacted the types of businesses they started.
There is no doubt that an individual's perceptions dominate their thoughts and their behavior as human beings (Robbins and Judge, 2008). This perceptual focus is critical when entrepreneurial studies are conducted, since the individual is a key component of what defines and entrepreneur (Smith-Hunter, 2006; Doucouliagos, 1995). In addition, the role of perception is a critical focus when the entrepreneur is analyzed (Weber and Hsee, 1998; Keh, Foo and Lim, 2002; Sitkin and Pablo, 1992). For example, a number of authors have analyzed the impact of risk on an individual's behavior (Weber and Hsee, 1998; Weber and Milliman, 1997; Limpkin and Dess, 1996; Sine, Haveman and Tolbert, 2005). Risk is said to be dependent on one's perception (Robbins and Judge, 2008). Weber and Hsee (1998) concluded that individuals across various countries differed on their risk preference. In a similar vein, Weber and Milliman (1997) concluded that an individual's risk perception would be altered based on situational factors. Our perceptions area is said to dominate our thoughts and impact our behavior as human beings (Robbins and Judge, 2008). It is these same perceptions that alter our behavior in relation to risk. The importance of perception to an entrepreneur's behavior cannot be understated. In fact, Keh, Foo and Lim (2002) indicate that an individual's evaluation of existing opportunities (which is a direct link to the pursuit of entrepreneurial behavior) is mediated by opportunity evaluation.
The previous perspectives raise intriguing questions about the role of perception in impacting entrepreneurial behavior. Perceptions are shown to differ across cultures (Lau, Shaffer and Au, 2007; Hayton, George and Zahra, 2002), as well as different stages of an individual's life (Cameron and Whetten, 1981) and across genders (Fagenson and Marcus, 1991). In a direct relation to the current study, females' perceptions of their own evaluation differed when asked to compare it to differing gender contexts (Fagenson and Marcus, 1991). The current study also assesses females' perceptions of various factors in differing gender contexts as related to their career success.
The concept of personality has been said to have an impact on the start-up configuration of a business venture. This was done most recently by Korunka, Frank, Lueger and Mugler (2003) who investigated the impact of personality and other factors such as personal resources, environment and organizational activities on business startups. The authors were able to show that personality factors (such as need for achievement, internal locus of control and risk) did indeed impact the type of business start-up the entrepreneurs engaged in (Frank et al, 2003). With successful entrepreneurs showing high scores on the former factors and medium scores on the latter factor (Frank et al, 2003). A later article by Stewart and Roth (2007) confirmed that entrepreneurs score higher on the need for achievement when compared to managers.
The role of intentions (Kuehn, 2008; Vandekerckhove and Dentchen, 2005; Shepherd and Krueger, 2002; Townsend and Hart, 2008) has also been used to explain entrepreneurial behavior, acting as an umbrella to more specific variables, such as perceptions or risk propensity. Intentions are said to be specifically focused on the entrepreneur's state of mind, directing their attention, experience and action towards a business concept and is thus related to the literature of this paper, since it sets the form and direction of organizations at their inception (Bird, 1988).
First Set of Hypotheses:
Based on the preceding detailed literature review, the following hypotheses will be analyzed:
H1: Women who express lower levels of satisfaction for meaningful jobs are more likely to engage in entrepreneurial choices.
H2: Women who express lower levels of satisfaction for their college education and more likely to engage in entrepreneurial choices
Children, Marriage and Job Advancement:
Earlier studies have shown that one reason for embracing entrepreneurship is the lack of advancement women experience in the mainstream labor market beyond a certain point (usually mid to upper level management). This "glass ceiling" effect results in a sense of frustration for the women entrepreneurs in leaving to start their own business (Moore and Buttner, 1997; Smith-Hunter, 2006).
Much of the studies on women entrepreneurs have returned results with certain constants. Two such constants are related to marital status and having children. A multitude of studies have shown that women entrepreneurs are more likely to be married and have an average of two children. Such results have been found in the United States (NWFBO, 1999; NFWBO, 2000), with women entrepreneurs across racial lines (SmithHunter, 2006), in Ghana, where the average number of children is found to be slightly higher at 4 children (Dzisi, 2008, in Oman (McElwee and Al-Riyani, 2003) and in Turkey (Hisrich and Ozturk, 1999). A rare study to have found differently was conducted by Delmar and Davidson (2000). The authors found that marital status and number of children were unrelated to the probability of becoming a nascent entrepreneurs (someone trying to start a business), Delmar and Davidson, (2000). The studies that have found marital status to be related to increased entrepreneurial ventures cite the additional income from a spouse as a security to propel women start their own business. The nature of entrepreneurship is also such that the increased flexibility allows women to combine work and family life. Another reason that has been put forward as to why women with children start their own business is to provide a source of wealth for their children. One could thus extend this reasoning and posit that women who are unmarried with children might be more potently inclined to take the risk and engage in business ownership.
Based on the above discussion, the following hypotheses are proposed:
Second Set of Hypotheses:
H3: Women with children are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
H4: Women who are married are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
H5: Women with children who are unmarried are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
H6: Women who had high levels of job advancement are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
DATA AND RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The research methodology section of this paper is divided into the following sections: sample data, statistical analysis and research instrument.
The sample for this study was derived from alumni women of a private, undergraduate college, located in upstate New York. The college was originally established as a male commuter school in 1937. It remained a single sex institution until 1969, when the first female students were admitted. By 2009, the female population at the institution had grown to 56%. The alumni that participated in this study graduated between 1984 and 1989. This specific cohort was chosen since it was felt that they would have participated in the mainstream labor market (worked for someone else) for some time before possibly embarking on an entrepreneurial venture. A total of 1836 female alumni were originally contacted. The overall response was 596 (32.5%). There were 445 (74.6%) of the females who worked in the mainstream labor market for someone else. The other 151 (25.4%) were entrepreneurs who operated their own business.
One key analysis that will be undertaken in the current paper is a Decision Tree. Unlike other studies on this topic that have employed regression analyses or correlation tables, use of s decision tree vaults the analyses to premium level and thus contributes significantly to the research in this area.
A decision tree method in statistical analysis has been described as a general approach to a wide range of operations and supply chain decisions (Oliver et al, 2009). It is particularly valuable for evaluating different capacity expansion alternatives when demand is uncertain and sequential decisions are involved (Oliver et al, 2009). It is sometimes called a sequential decision tree and then simply defined as a graphical method for analyzing decision situations that require a sequence of decisions over time (Russell and Taylor, 2009). A decision tree is a schematic model of alternatives available to the decision maker, along with their possible consequences (Oliver et al, 2009). The name derives from the tree-like appearance of the model. It consists of square nodes, representing decision points, that are left by branches, which read from left to right, representing the alternatives (Oliver et al, 2009). The probability of each chance event is shown above each branch. The probabilities for all branches leaving a chance node, must sum to 1.0 (Oliver et al, 2009).
After drawing a decision tree, it is solved by working from right to left, calculating the expected payoff for each node (Oliver et al, 2009). For an event node, the payoff of each event branch is multiplied by the event's probability and then added to get the event node's expected payoff (Oliver et al, 2009). For the decision node, the alternative that has the best expected payoff is picked (Oliver et al, 2009). If an alternative leads to an event node, its payoff is equal to that node's expected payoff (Oliver et al, 2009). The branches not chosen are pruned, the decision node's expected payoff is the one associated with the single remaining unpruned branch(01iver et al, 2009). The process is continued until the leftmost decision node is reached.
A questionnaire was mailed to the participants, soliciting their responses. It was designed to assess the perceptions of the female graduates as they related to the quality of their career experiences and whether they had a subsequent entrepreneurial engagement. In the questionnaire, participants were asked to respond with varying degrees of intensity in regards to their perception on the issues of: their human capital characteristics; their business related knowledge; and the difficulties they experienced.
The former students were also asked to assess their satisfaction levels with their education at the college on a scale ranging from "very dissatisfied" to "very satisfied." They were also asked to assess the perception of their satisfaction levels on their jobs in terms of its meaningfulness, advancement potential and financial compensation.
The results from the current study are presented in three different but related subareas in order to aid clarity and to answer the questions posed at the beginning of this paper in a clear and concise manner.
RESULTS AND ANALYSIS:
HI: Women who express lower levels of satisfaction for meaningful jobs are more likely to engage in entrepreneurial choices.
χ^sup 2^α =2.706, 3.841, 5.412, 6.635 for cg = 0.10, 0.05, 0.02, 0.01
The chi-square test is insignificant. That means the proportion of business owners who were satisfied with meaningful jobs (or, not satisfied) were homogeneous with the proportion of non business owners who were satisfied with meaningful job (or, not satisfied). So, the relative proportions of people who were satisfied with meaningful job for these two categories cannot distinguish between business owners and non business owners.
The following decision diagram shows the proportion of people who were satisfied with the meaningful job from two categories (Business and non-business):
Because of homogeneity of relative proportions of people with meaningful job satisfactions between business owners and business non-owners, the hypothesis "Women who express lower levels of satisfaction for meaningful jobs are more likely to engage in entrepreneurial choices" is false.
H2: Women who express lower levels of satisfaction for their college education and more likely to engage in entrepreneurial choices
The chi-square test is insignificant. That means that the two categories: business owners and non business owners are homogeneous based on their satisfaction levels with the broad education that they received at the college. This result shows that the satisfaction levels of their "broad education" received at the college cannot determine their decision to start a business. The decision diagram below shows the proportions of the satisfaction levels at the broad education levels received at the college are homogeneous between two categories of populations: Business owners and Business nonowners. More proportions of Business owners (also, Business non-owners) were satisfied with the broad education that they received, and the chi-square test shows that the two categories (Business owners and non-owners) are homogeneously distributed.
So, this decision theoretic approach states that : The satisfaction levels of the broad education received at the college cannot distinguish between people who start a business vs. who does not start a business
H3: Women with children are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
The chi-square test is insignificant. That means the categories business owners/non-owners are homogeneous groups based on if they have kids or does not have any kids. So, just looking into these two variables makes us reject the hypothesis "Women with children are more likely than their counterparts to start a business".
The decision diagram below shows the relative proportions of the women business owners and not business owners have at least one kid and does not have at least one kid. The relative proportions look similar among two categories woman business owner and woman non-business owner. This confirms chi-square test of homogeneity results that we obtained above.
So the above decision diagram shows that the hypothesis "Women with children are more likely than their counterparts to start a business" is false.
H4: Women who are married are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
The chi-square test is insignificant. That means proportion of married (or unmarried) women among women business owners is homogeneous with the proportion of married (or unmarried) women among women non-business owners. So, the hypothesis "Women who are married are more likely than their counterparts to start a business" is false based on our data.
The decision diagram above shows the relative proportions of the women business owners and not business owners who are married and who are not married. The relative proportions look similar among two categories woman business owners and woman non-business owners. This confirms chi-square test of homogeneity results that we obtained above and effectively stating that our hypothesis "Women who are married are more likely than their counterparts to start a business" is false.
H5: Women with children who are unmarried are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
The chi-square test shows that whether they are unmarried with children or not, women business owners and not business owners are homogeneously distributed. That effectively nullifies the hypothesis "Women with children who are unmarried are more likely than their counterparts to start a business".
The decision diagram below shows the relative proportions of the women business owners and not business owners who are married with at least one kid (or, not) are similarly distributed.
As the proportion of "married with children" (yes or no) are similar between two categories: woman business owners and woman not business owners. This evidence says that the hypothesis "Women with children who are unmarried are more likely than their counterparts to start a business" is false.
H6: Women who had high levels of job advancement are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
This hypothesis can be looked from two different angles:
Part I of H6: Women who had high levels of job advancement at a pace equal to the men are more likely than their counterparts to start a business. And
Part II of H6: Women who had high levels of job advancement at a pace equal to the women are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
Part I of H6:
The chi-square test of homogeneity rejects the hypothesis. The decision diagram below shows the relative proportions of the women business owners and not business owners who were satisfied (or, not) with the job advancement at a pace equal to men.
And it clearly shows that the proportions are homogeneous between two categories women business owners and non-business owners.
So the hypothesis "Women who had high levels of job advancement at a pace equal to the men are more likely than their counterparts to start a business. " is false.
Part II of H6: Women who had high levels of job advancement at a yace equal to the women are more likely than their counterparts to start a business.
The chi-square test of homogeneity rejects the hypothesis. The decision diagram shows that the relative proportions of woman business owners who were satisfied (or, not) at job advancement at a pace equal to woman are similar to those with woman not-business owners.
The decision diagram too shows that the hypothesis: "Women who had high levels of job advancement at a pace equal to the women are more likely than their counterparts to start a business" is false.
The Probit Analysis:
So far we have considered each variables one by one to see if that single factor affects to become (or, not) a business woman. The effect could be different if we look into all the factors simultaneously.
Let us now look into all the variables together in a multivariate probit equation to see which factors may contribute to the probability in making a business woman.
The dependent variable in the probit analysis is: OWNBUS that means if the woman interviewed owns her own business or not (OWNBUS = 1 implies the woman interviewed owns her own business).
The independent variables are:
YRSINCGRAD: year since she graduated
Broad Education: Satisfied with receiving a broad general education at college (scale 1 to 5 with 5 being very satisfied)
Think analytically: satisfied with the developed ability to think analytically while at college (scale 1 to 5 with 5 being very satisfied)
Can learn on own: satisfied with the ability to learn on her own developed while at college (scale 1 to 5 with 5 being very satisfied)
Developed writing skills: satisfied with the written communications skills developed during college (scale 1 to 5 with 5 being very satisfied)
Developed oral comm.: satisfied with the oral communications skills developed while at college (scale 1 to 5 with 5 being very satisfied)
Knowledge skills: satisfied with knowledge and skills applicable to a career gained during college (scale 1 to 5 with 5 being very satisfied)
# Companies worked: # companies worked since graduating from college
Has advanced degree: Has advanced degree, 1 if yes, and 0 if no
Job adv at pace with man: satisfied with the ability to secure job advancement at a pace equal to the men with whom she have worked (scale 1 to 5: very satisfied)
compen at pace with woman: satisfied with the ability to secure job advancement at a pace equal to the women with whom she have worked (scale 1 to 5: very satisfied)
MaritalSatusdummy: Marital status = 1 if married, = 0 otherwise
Has ChildrenDummy: it takes value = 1, if she has any child, else takes value = 0
The women who were the focus of this study - 585 graduates of a private, undergraduate institution who received degrees between 1984-1989 - had very clear and differing perceptions of their workplace experiences when comparing themselves to both women and men they had worked with. In turn, the women's perception of their satisfaction levels both in and out of school were used to determine which what impact those satisfaction levels had on them becoming or not becoming entrepreneurs. We saw this from three angles, first by chi-square test of homogeneity. That is similar to the two variable decision theoretical approach. We then looked to the hypotheses through Probit equation. Probit looks at it by taking all the variables simultaneously. Under these various methods most of our hypotheses turned out to be false.
Research investigating women entrepreneurship has often highlighted the motivational factors leading them to start, as well as the key factors leading to the continuation of their businesses. Observations on these associations often have a tendency to treat entrepreneurial women as an undifferentiated group, failing to recognize heterogeneity therein. The preceding discussion and subsequent statistical analyses recognized that this was not the case and have brought forth three significant results. First, we found that a married female is less likely to be a entrepreneur than an unmarried female. We found that, in a multivariate set up, if the woman is married, that has negative significance on her being a business woman. Research has shown that married women may not be as anxious to earn a living since their husband may be the income earner in the family (Remmenick, 2005; Kim, 2005).
Second, we found that a female with a child (ren) is more likely to be a female entrepreneur. In essence, if the woman has child(ren) then she is more likely to have a business of her own. This is evidenced in the literature. Maybe the mother wants to gain more wealth for her children by starting a business (Smith-Hunter, 2006).
Third, one other variable was significant, that is if a woman is happy with the job advancement at a pace with her women colleague around her, she is more likely to start a business. This also has evidence in the literature. The literature concluded that employees working in groups containing mostly men have the lowest level of job satisfaction, with those working in groups containing mostly women falling in the middle (Fields and Blum, 1997). In the same vein but with differing results, Bender et al (2005) found that women report higher job satisfaction levels than their male counterparts, especially in workplaces that are dominated by fellow female workers. One could extrapolate and make the argument that women working in such female dominated groups achieve the self-confidence that translates into giving them the impetus to start their own businesses.
Overall, these findings are probably not surprising in their basic underlying results. However, the unique statistical analyses applied to this study makes for significant findings. Given that our operationalization can be confirmed from other literature and research findings, we can have confidence in the results. Our results have several implications for future research. Future studies could analyze broader samples of women entrepreneurs, as well assessing entrepreneurs across genders to see if the results still hold up with these additional analyses.
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Manimoy Paul, Siena College
Andrea Smith-Hunter, Siena College