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    The segregation stereotyping bind: social networks and resource acquisition among men and women business owners in gender typical and atypical sectors

    Sappleton, Natalie Anne (2014) The segregation stereotyping bind: social networks and resource acquisition among men and women business owners in gender typical and atypical sectors. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.


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    This thesis is concerned with gender segregation in entrepreneurship – a phenomenon that is termed here entrepreneurial segregation. Researchers studying occupational segregation have established that sex segregated social networks and gender stereotyping play an integral role in driving sex segregation in employment. Since women are embedded in female-dominated networks and men move in male-dominated circles, they inevitably receive job leads (resources) from members of the same sex. In addition, because of gender stereotyping, those supplying the job leads (resource providers) offer job seekers information about jobs in sectors that are perceived as appropriate for the jobseekerʼs gender. Drawing on this knowledge, Bourdieuian social capital theory and gender role congruency theory, this thesis examines the social networks of men and women entrepreneurs in gender congruent and incongruent business sectors, with the express purpose of uncovering whether an inability to secure business resources poses inhibitive effects on business development of entrepreneurs in gender atypical sectors. Taking an inclusive approach, the purpose of the study was to identify and explain any detriment in resource acquisition experienced by women business owners by comparing their experiences in different industries with those of men. 255 New York City based entrepreneurs operating firms in two maledominated industries (construction and sound recording), one femaledominated industry (childcare) and one integrated industry (publishing) completed an online survey based on the Dutch Resource Generator social network tool. Respondents indicated the specific resources they were able and unable to secure through their networks, the sex of, and relationship to each resource provider, and their experiences of gender stereotyping. A mixture of bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses (Mann Whitney and Kruskal Wallis tests, multiple regression and discriminant function analyses) was used to examine the data. The findings revealed that the ability to mobilize resources is strongly influenced by the sex composition of entrepreneursʼ networks, and an interaction between the sex of the business owner and the gender-domination of the industry in which he or she operates. In the female-dominated childcare industry, women were just as successful as men in their attempts to secure resources. Women operating businesses in male-dominated sectors suffered in terms of their ability to obtain resources, particularly financial resources. Men owners of childcare firms did not suffer in the same way, even though they reported relatively high levels of discrimination against them by staff, customers, suppliers and colleagues. Networking strategy had little impact on the ability of nontraditional women to secure resources. This suggests that nontraditional women are locked into a kind of networking bind, a phenomenon that is dubbed the segregation-stereotyping bind.

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