خود اشتغالی زنان: عمل سازمانی (قطع) یکپارچه سازی؟ مطالعه چند سطحی، بین کشوری
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|27412||2013||15 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Business Venturing, Volume 28, Issue 4, July 2013, Pages 474–488
In this paper we investigate the extent to which gender equality disintegrates women's self-employment choice (compared to that for men) and whether this is contingent upon a country's development stage and industries. We rely on symbolic interactionism to argue that employment choices emerge from an interactive conversation between individual and social institutional processes. Using data from 61 countries, we find that overall gender equality is associated with the gender gap in men's and women's self-employment choices and that this association depends upon the country's development stage and industries. Contributions are made to women's entrepreneurship and institutional theory.
The goal of this paper is to advance our understanding and provide statistical evidence of differences in men and women's self-employment choices using an institutional reading of Symbolic Interactionism (Mead, 1934). We employ the institutional perspective to argue that women's employment choices emerge from continually interactive conversations between individual and social institutional processes. Specifically, we focus on institutional integrative and disintegrative forces that channel the choices and actions of individuals in different directions. With integration we refer to acts of incorporating an employment choice into the socially negotiated and commonly agreed-upon institutional discourses. On the other hand, institutional disintegration covers acts of employment choice that are in conflict with these discourses. We question whether, from an institutional perspective, the self-employment choice of women compared to that of men represents more an act of institutional disintegration. Arising from the Symbolic Interactionist perspective is the idea that while men and women exercise individual autonomy in their employment choice, they are also influenced by the unique socially constructed institutional context to which they belong (Mead, 1934). Institutions affect whether or not self-employment is considered to be an appropriate choice and thus limit the individual's palette of employment choices. Tolbert et al. (2011) point out that literature on regional variance in entrepreneurship participation and on ethnic entrepreneurship, in particular, shows that the institutional context shapes entrepreneurial decision-making. The literature on women's employment has for some time focused on the importance of including the institutional level (Van der Lippe and Van Dijk, 2002), and women's entrepreneurship literature has increasingly moved away from an emphasis on individual socio-demographic factors towards a focus on the role of institutions (e.g. Jamali, 2009, Leung, 2011, Minniti and Naude, 2010 and Welter and Smallbone, 2008). Nevertheless, the institutional literature in women's entrepreneurship is still sparse (Brush et al., 2009). Conventional employment choice theory is grounded in individual rational choice models and thus in the idea of an individual decision maker who rationally estimates available employment options in order to maximise fulfilment of personal interests (Minniti and Lévesque, 2008). However, as noted by Pescosolido (1992), the rational model fails to capture the social and institutional forces influencing the employment decisions of individuals. Those forces empower what individuals will, can, and are legitimised to do, and they set consequences for individuals who do not follow the formal and informal guidelines of social and institutional life (Fine, 1993, Scott and Davis, 2007 and Suddaby, 2010). The Symbolic Interactionist perspective emphasises that women's self-employment choice has to be investigated through a focus on micro/macro interactions, and thus individual rational choice models as well as strict deterministic institutional ideas are rejected. Specifically, we are interested in how national-level gender equality (the macro-level) exercises influence in disintegrative ways on the self-employment decisions of women and men (the micro-level). Moreover, we are concerned with how these mechanisms are contingent upon countries' development stages and industries within countries. National-level gender equality covers institutionalised gender differences and disadvantages (gender gaps in economy, education, politics, and health) at a national level. These, according to Friedland and Alford (1991), are historically manifested in higher-order societal gender logics (which we refer to elsewhere as gender discourses). While these set the ground rules of the game, governing how women act towards employment decision-making, they are also constructed, reproduced and can be changed through social interaction. Gender discourses are open to interpretation and may well, therefore, result in the enactment of heterogeneous employment responses among women. By bringing national-level gender equality into our analysis of women's self-employment choice we provide the opportunity for a comprehensive investigation of different and perhaps even conflicting mechanisms at play in women's self-employment choice. As such, multi-level analysis is one of the strengths of the Symbolic Interactionist perspective (Chang, 2004). Intuitively, a nation's gender equality related actions, aimed at constructing and maintaining an environment that is both accommodating and supportive of women, are expected to have a positive impact on women's participation in self-employment (Bruton et al., 2010). However, anecdotal evidence in women's entrepreneurship literature shows that in countries considering themselves highly egalitarian at an institutional level only women's employment is integrated, whereas women's self-employment seems to involve acts of institutional disintegration (Kreide, 2003, Neergaard and Thrane, 2009 and Nielsen et al., 2010). Seemingly, national-level institutions for gender equality unintentionally lead to lower participation in self-employment among women than among men. The gender equality policies in these countries focus solely on women's employment rights in the labour market, resulting in a preferential situation whereby women's employment options are favoured over their self-employment options. However, as this evidence is mainly anecdotal and originates primarily from the Nordic countries, with distinctive welfare regimes and gender equality discourses, we set out to test this proposition beyond the context of the Nordic countries. We further investigate whether this disparity is contingent upon a country's development stage and industries. In the following, we seek to answer the research question: To what extent does national-level gender equality disintegrate women's self-employment choice (compared to that for men) and is this contingent upon a country's development stage and industries?
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
8.1. Discussion of results Based on symbolic interactionism we have in this study investigated how national-level gender equality at the institutional level disintegrates men and women differently in choosing self-employment at the individual level, and how this disintegration depends on a country's development stage and industries. Symbolic interactionism allowed us to move the discussions of institutions away from an overly deterministic view, stressing only isomorphic effects of institutions (DiMaggio and Powell, 1983) and towards allowing individual interpretation, variation and latitude (Dacin et al., 2002; DiMaggio, 1998; Garud et al., 2007, Greenwood and Suddaby, 2006 and Greenwood et al., 2002). We reviewed prior research on women's self-employment with specific emphasis on the effect of institutions in our attempt to formulate three hypotheses, which were empirically tested based on data from 61 countries. Overall, we found that national-level gender equality is associated with the gender gap in men and women's self-employment choices and that this association depends on the development stage and industries within a country. More specifically, we found that national-level gender equality is negatively associated with women's, compared to men's, self-employment choice increasing the gender gap. Thus, national-level gender equality disintegrates women's self-employment choice more compared to men's. These results were, however, stronger in more developed countries. Thus, as countries develop from being factor driven economies through efficiency driven economies and towards innovation driven economies, the negative impact of national-level gender equality on women's self-employment, compared to men's, increases. Based on this we conclude that the currently circulating anecdotes claiming that national-level gender equality channels women towards employment seems to be true in developed countries, but less true in less developed countries. This is consistent with the fact that many such anecdotes emerge in the context of developed countries, including Denmark (Neergaard and Thrane, 2009; Nielsen et al., 2010), Germany (Kreide, 2003), and Sweden (Anderson-Skog, 2007). Additionally, this is consistent with the idea that the content of what constitutes gender equality changes across development stages (Inglehart et al., 2002 and World Bank, 2001). In developed contexts, where gender equality is often more prevalent, additional equality channels women to choose employment as many gender equality initiatives in these contexts (e.g., parental leave, maternity leave, childcare services, etc.) are aimed at providing advantages to women employees, not to self-employed women. However, in less developed countries where gender equality is generally lower, gender equality is more about fundamental human rights and access to resources which, to a higher degree, provides women with advantages in the labour market regardless of their status as employees or self-employed. Therefore, the disintegrative mechanisms derived from national-level gender equality on women's self-employment are lower compared to the disintegrative mechanisms in more developed countries. Consistent with our expectations we also found that the negative impact of national-level gender equality on women's self-employment compared to men's is stronger in male-oriented industries. The negative impact of national-level gender equality on women's self-employment, compared to men's, is prevalent in male-oriented industries while it is non-existent in female-oriented industries. Thus, the results obtained in Hypothesis 1 are driven by the results obtained in Hypothesis 3. If women choose to become self-employed in what is a female-oriented industry in their country, they are not disintegrated by national-level gender equality in comparison with their male counterparts. Accordingly, we have been able to identify industry variation on the impact of national-level gender equality, even though we applied a very broad industry operationalization which some might characterise as a sector operationalization. A more detailed operationalization would potentially provide a more sophisticated description of the disintegrative mechanism on women's self-employment. 8.2. Contribution Ahl (2006) made an essential contribution to women's entrepreneurship research (Hughes et al., 2012) by recommending future researchers in the field to 1) expand the research object and to 2) shift the epistemological position to open up for new vital and advanced contributions. With our study we follow‐up on both suggestions. Firstly, while women's entrepreneurship research tends to be highly focused on the individual and socio-demographic levels, we expand the research object by paying attention to the idea that women's employment choice is not just an individual choice. Employment choices are constructed with interactive reference to the institutional contexts and discourses of which women are a part. We introduce Mead's (1934) ideas, which are new to women's entrepreneurship literature, to theoretically support our expansion of the research object. After all, these ideas give us theoretical concepts to grasp the dynamic integrative and disintegrative interactions continually unfolding between individuals and institutional life, which again stem from interactions between the “I” and the “Me” within the self. Empirically, we expanded the research object, also following Ahl's (2006) recommendations, by setting up comparative investigations, which we do by examining how national-level gender equality affects women's self-employment choice in various countries, as well as how it is contingent upon a country's development stage and industries. In terms of epistemological position, as suggested by Ahl (2006), we make attempts to move beyond an objectivist epistemology and towards a constructionist epistemology. Although our empirical starting point, against Ahl's recommendations, is a perception of gender as two distinguishing biological sexes, we do, in our analysis place women and men within wider and multiple gendered institutional discourses and we allow both sexes to interpret and react differently thereto. By placing women and men in interactive relations with those institutions that participate in producing, maintaining and modifying gender differences, we study how men and women placed in a social world of interaction ‘do gender’ in the process of choosing employment. Gender and self-employment choice are in this way in line with Ahl (2006) and perceived as social constructions and not as predictable and static categories. Institutional theory is another theme running through our work, to which we make novel contributions. Mead's (1934) theory of the “I” and the “Me” has been successfully adapted elsewhere, e.g. organisational theory (Hatch and Schultz, 2002), but so far it has not, to our knowledge, been extensively adapted directly into institutional theory. At the same time, Symbolic Interactionist ideas tend to fit well within and even to be at the root of much of the newer institutional theory, such as the theory of institutional logics (Friedland and Alford, 1991 and Thornton and Ocasio, 2008). By including discussions of the “I” and the “Me”, institutional theory gets the opportunity to talk about the dynamics of the self and make a valuable analytical separation between individual sense-making processes of the “I” and the outward-oriented, institutional absorptive processes of the “Me”. In this way, institutional theory acquires a workable tool to link the inner processes of individuals with the institutional context. This tool helps us understand why individuals sometimes integrate into institutions and thus conform to the environment through the “Me” and at other times disintegrate and take part in changing and shaping institutions through the “I” as institutional entrepreneurs (Dacin et al., 2002 and Garud et al., 2007). Other studies of institutional theory have, however, also dealt with what they refer to as the “paradox of embedded agency” (Friedland and Alford, 1991 and Seo and Creed, 2002), in which researchers try to explain how actors take an active part in shaping their context while simultaneously being shaped by this same context. Most of these studies approach the paradox as an interaction taking place between the institutional contexts and the actors, where actors are operationalized as organisations (Greenwood and Hinnings, 1996), meta-organisations or professional associations (Greenwood et al., 2002 and Zilber, 2007), elite firms, at the centre of an organisational field (Greenwood and Suddaby, 2006) or collectively, rather than as single actors (Levy and Scully, 2007 and Lounsbury and Crumley, 2007). With the concept of embedded agency, institutional theory focuses on the conducts of individuals. However, further knowledge of the microfoundation of embedded agency still needs to be developed (Thornton and Ocasio, 2008). Our study is distinctive in the sense that through Symbolic Interactionism we focus on individuals as actors, and we have even internalised the link between individuals and institutions. In this way, we have broadened the perspective on embedded agency to something that also involves the inner processes of individuals. 8.3. Future research implications Our findings encourage new questions. We have taken important steps forward in building and testing a Symbolic Interactionist institutional perspective on women's self-employment choice. The strength of our research is that it is highly generalizable across various institutional contexts. However, more detailed and deep knowledge is needed on the psychological and sociological consequences of integrative and disintegrative self-employment choices of women. For example, a likely consequence might be that as long as self-employment is an act of disintegration, women may disguise their entrepreneurial self from their surroundings in order to remain accepted by the institutional environment and miss out on essential networks and resources. This again may be a decisive explanatory factor to understand women's low performance compared to men's (Klapper and Parker, 2011). We acknowledge that it might be a limitation of our study that we measure only whether individuals pursue self-employment or employment. It might be interesting to investigate employment decisions from a wider occupational perspective. Because of different forms of institutional pressure women may well choose ‘no employment’ or employment opportunities (maybe a mix between employment and self-employment) submissive to the family institution. In this article we look at self-employment versus employment as a continuum. However, this relationship can be approached in a more general and sophisticated manner. To be disintegrated and thus led away from self-employment does not necessarily mean that the woman is integrated into employment. Moreover, research shows that the balance between family responsibilities and work is more often considered a challenge by women compared to men (Jennings and McDougald, 2007). The design of research that illustrates and measures women employment choices from a complex perspective that incorporates different occupational choices as well as family obligations is valuable to further understand the conditions under which institutional gender equality disintegrate and integrate women. We talk about the disintegration of women's self-employment choice as something negative. However, every cloud has a silver lining. As discussed, entrepreneurship is often associated with disintegration. Distinctiveness is essential to reach competitive advantage or even to revolutionise entire industries as an entrepreneur. Some women also seem to experience the self-employment choice as an act of integration into the family institution. To some women, self-employment opens opportunities of independence and flexibility that enables them to create room for synergy and harmony between family and work (Georgellis and Wall, 2005). Thus, future research could emphasise positive aspects of the institutional disintegration as well as the integrative aspects of women's self-employment. Our study encourages further investigation in terms of numbers of analytical levels to include. We suggest future research to further exploit the strength of Symbolic Interactionism as a multi-level framework. While we bring two levels into our analysis, insight into how institutions at different levels influence the self-employment processes of individuals is still needed (Bruton et al., 2010). Using a multi-level framework provides us with a more nuanced, deep and complex insight into the field of women's self-employment. In terms of which processes within each of the analytical levels to integrate within the analysis, we focus on the gender gaps in economy, education, politics, and health at a national-level. To the extent allowed by empirical data, knowledge of how different welfare regimes, family structures, number of children, marriage, religion, cultural norms, images, and etc. influence women's self-employment choice could also be valuable. Specifically, one may ask whether certain mechanisms at the mesa level might mediate the effect of national-level gender equality on women and men's self-employment decisions. For instance, if women have strong supporting social networks the pressure to conform to gender institutional norms might be lower. Additionally, we analysed a sample of individuals to investigate disintegrative forces for men and women as regards entry to self-employment. The question remains whether similar disintegrative forces prevail in a sample of entrepreneurs. Hence, can national-level gender equality explain variance in women's and men's performance? It could also be relevant to investigate whether our results persist over time. Along with the division of family and work life, the role of women changes and it seems as though more space is given to the “I” of women. Interestingly, although a high level of gender segregation remains, women have in significant ways gained power and freedom that according to the World Bank (2012) have increased women's demand for change in the breadwinning role, including men in family obligations. Indeed, while changes in the gendered discourses concerning women have occurred for some time, it now seems as if change is required with respect to both men and women. Although our research indicates that in terms of employment choice women are more fettered by the “Me” than is the case for men, this may be less true over time. We would like to see longitudinal research focusing on the changing institutional gendered discourses for men and women, and how they affect employment choice through integrative and disintegrative forces. This research could for instance target the variance in employment choice of men and women respectively over time and across countries, as well as study men and women's variance in employment choice longitudinally in regard to highly egalitarian and less egalitarian countries. Finally, we have assumed self-employment to be a choice, and as a consequence we have only investigated individuals' opportunity-based entry into self-employment. Considering the push/pull discussion in entrepreneurship research (Galid and Levine, 1986) it would be valuable to broaden the view of entry to self-employment to also include the push mechanism and investigate how gender equality functions under such assumptions.