The entrepreneurial process and the role of gender: a comparative study of entrepreneurs in the business services and technology sectors in Scotland.
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The comparatively low levels of entrepreneurship in Scotland and in particular, low rates of female entrepreneurship are well documented and have been the focus of numerous government policies. In addition, there are specific issues regarding female entrepreneurship and whilst current literature broadly agrees that female owned businesses lag behind male owned business in terms of size and growth of the enterprise, the reasons for these differences are highly contested with no comprehensive explanations. This thesis seeks to explore the entrepreneurial process and the lived experiences of male and female entrepreneurs in Scotland to help shed further light on the situation. Utilising a phenomenological approach and deliberately avoiding leading participants on the issue of gender, the fieldwork yielded insights into gender and entrepreneurship in the Scottish context. The heterogeneity of female entrepreneurs became apparent, leading to the emergence of a new typology regarding how these entrepreneurs perceive and manage their gender. Further key findings also include the pivotal importance of the role of sector on the entrepreneurs’ experiences and the influence of their previous education and work experience on their entrepreneurial experiences. Similarities also emerged between male and female entrepreneurs in their experiences and attitudes towards a number of issues in entrepreneurship. Exploring the research findings through the theoretical lenses provided by Liberal Feminism, Social Feminism and the Theory of Effectuation helped to derive useful insight that contributes towards the calls for a new ‘female entrepreneurship theory’.