Researching the entrepreneurial journeys, barriers and drivers of women portfolio entrepreneurs

BOURNE, Terri (2016). Researching the entrepreneurial journeys, barriers and drivers of women portfolio entrepreneurs. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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The thesis adapts a research agenda put forward by Ahl (2006) who stated that women were subordinated in entrepreneurship research, calling for new directions into approaches and methods. A qualitative, interpretivist methodology enabling flexibility was adopted in the research process to give women portfolio entrepreneurs a voice. In addition, a life history approach was used which recognises that people have ambiguities, uncertainties and problems that they solve on a daily basis, (Musson 1998). The literature review covers three main areas; business is male and gender differences, economic growth, and individualism, work and family, revealing that women in business are still presented as having shortcomings. Women entrepreneurs are regarded as second sex entrepreneurs with their trades located in ghettos of entrepreneurship and the devalued sphere of the home. Using Ahl’s article, specifically the section referring to men’s and women’s differences, a framework, The Underperformance PPP was developed, categorising the alleged shortcomings into three groups; personality, pre-set up and practice. Eleven North West women portfolio entrepreneurs were interviewed using semi-structured interviews and little evidence was found of this alleged underperformance. Based on these interviews, a new Positive Performance Plan was developed. There seems to be a mismatch between the government agenda of high growth (based on increasing staffing and turnover levels to measure success) and the portfolio women entrepreneurs’ preferred style of working, which could be a new model of intrinsic entrepreneurship, and due to this women may be missing out on courses and government funding. Findings show these women are working in a positive way. For example, by outsourcing their work they avoid employer responsibilities yet provide wealth in a different way. Also, by keeping their business small enough to self-fund, growing them organically and establishing new businesses to support the core business, they are able to build their portfolios.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Richardson, Helen
Thesis advisor - Doherty, Liz
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2017 15:16
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 13:04

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