A Comparison of Attitudes toward Business Training between African American and Caucasian Female Small Business Owners

By Wech, Barbara A.; Martin, Warren et al. | Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship, October 2009 | Go to article overview

A Comparison of Attitudes toward Business Training between African American and Caucasian Female Small Business Owners


Wech, Barbara A., Martin, Warren, Martin, David S., Dolowitz, Annetta R., Journal of Business and Entrepreneurship


ABSTRACT

This study assesses and compares business training attitudes of female African American and Caucasian small business owners. The growth in entrepreneurs hip by African American women requires a better understanding of their professional development needs. Results reported here indicate that African American females place greater importance on business training than their Caucasian counterparts. This is consistent with previous studies which have shown that minority small business owners tend to assign higher importance ratings to business training than Caucasian business owners. Earlier findings on human capital and entrepreneurs indicate that education and work experience increase business success. Since minority female entrepreneurs tend to have less formal education and business experience than Caucasian women, we can expect them to place greater importance on business training as a method to advance their human capital. This paper also describes preferences of African American females for various aspects of business training. Findings have implications for training providers.

INTRODUCTION

In the last three decades, the growth of women-owned businesses in the United States has been phenomenal. In 2009, women were at least half-owners in 41% of all private businesses in the U.S., and the number of majority women-owned firms was 7.7 million (Center for Women's Business Research, 2009), which was about two times the national average for all businesses. Revenues for these businesses totalled more than $1.9 trillion.

Even more phenomenal has been the increasing number of African American female business owners. Between 1997 and 2004, the number of African American women-owned firms increased by 33%, employment grew by 50%, and sales rose by 44% (National Women's Business Council, 2005). By 2004, the number of privately-held firms owned by African American women had risen to an estimated 414,472, which employed nearly 254,000 people and generated $19.5 billion in sales. Such firms accounted for 39.1% of all African American owned firms in 2004, the highest such proportion among minority groups (Center for Women's Business Research, 2006). As the growth of minority- and women-owned business has continued to expand, so has the interest of researchers.

In particular, previous research has sought to examine the differences in attitudes toward business training between minority owners and their majority counterparts (Martin, Wech, & Sandefur, 2008a, 2008b; Martin, Wech, Sandefur, & Pan, 2006), However, important areas that have not been adequately investigated include the attitudes and preferences of African American women toward business training, and the identification of any potential differences that may exist between this minority group and its majority counterpart, Caucasian women. This study seeks to address the issue by measuring and comparing the attitudes toward training of female African American business owners and their Caucasian counterparts. Examining attitudes toward training is important because the training-business creation model contends that the prospective and actual capability of small business is enhanced by training (Martin et al., 2006). For less experienced business owners, training would be expected to be increasingly helpful in the creation, development, maintenance, and success of an entrepreneurial enterprise. Prior research indicates that, as a whole, minority groups have more positive attitudes toward training courses than majority group entrepreneurs. More specifically, it has been found that African American entrepreneurs have more positive attitudes toward training courses than Caucasian business owners. It can be argued that African Americans are more disadvantaged than their Caucasian counterparts in the entrepreneurial experience, which may help to explain their increased focus on business training (Martin et al., 2006). It has also been found that Caucasian women rate training courses higher than Caucasian male business owners and that African American female business owners hold more positive attitudes toward training than African American male entrepreneurs (Martin et al. …

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