Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research
1996 Edition

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Robert D. Hisrich (1)
Matti Koiranen (2)
Kimmo Hyrsky (3)

(1) Enterprise Hall , Weatherhead School of Management
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235

Telephone/Fax: 216-368-5354 / 216-368-4785

(2) & (3) University of Jyvaskyla
P.O. Box 35
SF-40351, Jyvaskyla, Finland

Telephone/Fax: (2) 358-41-602955 / 358-41-603331
(3) 358-41-607952

Principal Topic

This study explored whether women's perceptions of entrepreneurship differ from men's perceptions. The focus was to examine the relatedness of entrepreneurial concepts as perceived by women and men, as well as the entrepreneurial metaphors used by both groups.


A sample of 267 female and 360 male respondents from Northern Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, North America, and Australia completed a survey instrument comprised of 60 variables: 40 to perceive "entrepreneurship" and 20 to perceive "an entrepreneur." Metaphorical expressions were also collected and analyzed qualitatively. Descriptive statistics, such as means, standard deviations, and tabulations, and a t-test to explore the similarities and differences between the female and male respondents were used in the analysis. Also, factor analysis using varimax rotation was used to develop factors and compare the factor scores of female and male perceptions.

Major Findings

Among the respondents, women generally perceived entrepreneurship more positively than men. In terms of egoistic variables (such as insolence, selfishness, and hardness), women's means were lower than men's. Women scored higher than men in the area of stereotypical entrepreneurial variables (such as activeness, inventiveness, desire to experiment, creativity, effectiveness, working hard, and taking responsibility). The five factors delineated were : (1) "Work Commitment and Energy"; (2) "Economic Values and Results"; (3) "Opportunism and Innovativeness"; (4) Hunger to Success"; and (5) "Empathy and Willingness to Serve." Women's factor scores in the first three dimensions were more positive than men's. There were no differences between men and women with respect to factors 4 and 5.


The results suggest that women perceive the concepts related to " entrepreneurship" and "an entrepreneur" in many respects more positively than men, implying that women's affective orientation in reacting to and appreciating entrepreneurship could be better than men's. To the extent this finding is projectable , it has many implications regarding entrepreneurship education and training.

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