Academic journal article Journal of East European Management Studies

Gender Specifics in Entrepreneurs' Personal Characteristics*

Academic journal article Journal of East European Management Studies

Gender Specifics in Entrepreneurs' Personal Characteristics*

Article excerpt

This paper explored Slovenian entrepreneurs' personal characteristics to understand the existing gender gap in transitional countries, testing the proposed model among small and medium-sized company owners (N = 201; 32.3% female, 67.7% male). The research operationalized entrepreneurs' characteristics according to psychological and non-psychological motivation factors; the former resulted in four types of Slovenian entrepreneurs while the latter was divided into human and social capital. Significant differences emerged among genders related to certain psychological motivation factors and social capital categories, but not human capital. Women remain an unexploited source of entrepreneurship; thus, Slovenia should establish effective mechanisms to promote female entrepreneurship.

Der vorliegende Artikel untersucht die persönlichen Merkmale slowenischer Unternehmer/innen, um die vorhandene Geschlechterschere in Transformationsländern zu verstehen. Das vorgestellte Modell wurde anhand von Unternehmenseigentümer/innen kleiner und mittelständischer Unternehmen getestet (N = 201; 32,3% weiblich, 67,7% männlich). Die Untersuchung operationalisierte Merkmale der Unternehmer/innen hinsichtlich psychologischer und nicht-psychologischer Motivationsfaktoren; erstere hatten vier slowenische Unternehmertypen zum Ergebnis, während letztere untergliedert wurden in Human- und Sozialkapital. Signifikante Unterschiede traten zwischen den Geschlechtern bezüglich bestimmter psychologischer Motivations- und Sozialkapitalfaktoren auf, nicht jedoch beim Humankapital. Frauen bleiben weiterhin eine ungenutzte Quelle des Unternehmertums; deshalb sollte Slowenien effektive Mechanismen zur Förderung weiblichen Unternehmertums etablieren.

Keywords: entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship theory, SME, entrepreneurs' personal characteristics, male and female entrepreneurs


Since the publication of the Bolton Report in 1971, the contribution of entrepreneurs to economic growth, job creation, innovation, and promotion of enterprises has been widely recognized (Jones/Tilley 2003: 1). At the same time, entrepreneurs are rare. In the US, Sweden, and Germany, only one in ten employed individuals is self-employed (Caliendo et al. 2011). In 2010, the TEA index1 for Slovenia was 4.56, placing Slovenia in the lowest fifth among 59 GEM countries (Rebernik et al. 2011). Becoming attached by either an entrepreneurial or employed occupational career is a matter of many factors, including biography (Müller 2001), age (Mondragon-Velez 2009), gender (Minniti/Nardone 2007), education (Van der Sluis et al. 2008), and personality (Müller/Gappisch 2005). Personality variables are a potential source for explaining the development of self-employed entrepreneurs as well as potential differences in entrepreneurial types between male and female entrepreneurs. The gender perspective is important because of the limited understanding of the gendered influences of economic development that entrepreneurship activity undoubtedly has on a society.

The current research concentrates on the personal characteristics of Slovenian entrepreneurs - an area that requires an interdisciplinary approach. The domains of psychology, sociology, and economics all seem to provide insight into a piece of the puzzle, but none seems to explain the phenomenon completely. Many decisions in small firms depend on so-called human factors - namely, the personal characteristics of the owner-entrepreneur. The recognition and exploitation of opportunities are neither self-evident phenomena nor matters of chance, but are a result of clear, positively motivated business intentions and actions on the part of the owner-entrepreneur, driven by the belief that he or she can produce the desired outcomes (Gray 2000; Maki/Pukkinen 2000).

The literature on entrepreneurship has uncovered differences in the rate of entrepreneurship between men and women, with women generally displaying less entrepreneurial activity than men. …

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