A Study of Life-Situation Antecedence, Personality and Motivational Patterns of Small Scale Women Entrepreneurs

International Journal of Applied Entrepreneurship (ISSN: 1742-5824) Volume 2 Issue 1

Dr. T. J. Kamalanabhan
Department of Management Studies
Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India.

Dr. V. Vijaya
Assistant Professor
Manipal Institute of Management
Bangalore, India.


This research study focused on the psychological aspects of the entrepreneurial intention of small-scale women entrepreneurs in the manufacturing, trading and service sectors. The variables studied were life situation antecedence, personality, entrepreneurial motivation and business related variables. The tools used for the study were life situation antecedence scale, personality questionnaire and entrepreneurial motivation scale. Three hundred women entrepreneurs from manufacturing, trading and service sectors and two hundred non-entrepreneurs from supervisory and clerical cadres from India participated in this study. Univariate and multivariate analyses were done to process the data. The results reveal that there are significant contributions of life situation antecedence, personality and business related variables in contributing to entrepreneurial intention in small-scale women entrepreneurs. The women entrepreneurs have been found to have lower psychological support, poorer work condition and lesser competence compared to women non-entrepreneurs in life situation antecedence. Certain life situation antecedence variables, personality variables and motivational factors were found to explain differences in the entrepreneurial intention of women entrepreneurs in the manufacturing, trading and service sectors.

Key words : Life situation antecedence, Career decisions, Entrepreneurial intentions, Psychological support, Women Entrepreneurs

Women perform an important role in building the backbone of the nation’s economy, especially the small and medium-scale enterprises, as well as the cottage industries (Epstein, 1983). It has been recognized that women have an important role to play in synthesizing social progress with economic growth of developing countries. With the socio-psycho-cultural and economic changes taking place in India, women are slowly entering the field of entrepreneurship. It is increasingly recognized that women have a vast entrepreneurial talents that could be harnessed. In India, women entrepreneurship is slowly gaining credibility as an important activity in contributing to national economy, helping to foster economic independence of women by letting them hold the reins of their destiny, thus leading to empowerment. Small and medium sized entrepreneurs play a very important role in social and economic development (UNIFEM, 1995). Running a business is never easy especially for women in a society like India where definitions are not always consistent with the notions of women having economic roles involving risk-taking, initiating, planning and coordinating market-oriented activities. Words like capability, credibility and confidence are the terms used while evaluating women entrepreneurs and which pose problems for them (Cannon, etal 1988).

A number of research observations have been made by Indian researchers that throw light on the psychological implications of women entrepreneurs in India. Azad (1989) stated ‘The education and socialization of girls tend to inhibit entrepreneurship in two ways. Firstly an ideal of femininity is encouraged in girls, the values of which are contrary to those qualities needed for enterpreneurship. Women internalize those values and limit their aspirations accordingly. Secondly, those who resist this socialization, with the exception of a few, are punished for their temerity and independence. Girls are taught not to take initiative, be assertive or be independent. When they show these qualities, which underlie successful employment, they receive fewer rewards than boys or gain no approval’. Mohuiddin (1987) discussed that ‘Women entrepreneurs as an opportunity of productive work for women is not merely a means of higher income, but as a means of self respect, to the development of their personality and to a sense of participation in the common purposes of the society. Women Entrepreneurs in India represent a small group who have broken away from the beaten track and are exploring new vistas of economic participation and achievement satisfaction. They have long stories of trials and hardships; their task has been full of challenges. They have even encountered public prejudice and criticism. Family opposition and social constraints have to be overcome before establishing themselves as independent entrepreneurs. The most serious barrier to women entrepreneurs undoubtedly continues to be the persistence of the belief held by both men and women, that entrepreneurship is a male domain. The resistance, apathy, shyness, inhibition, conservatism, poor response are all governed and generated by cultural traditions, value systems and social sanctions. Rathore and Chabra (1991) also describe that the psychosocial barriers of Indian women entrepreneurship are poor self-image of women, discriminating treatment, faulty socialization, role conflict and cultural values. Iyer (1991) points out that the women’s own personality traits such as shyness, lack of articulation, inability to communicate and attitude towards money matters inhibit and limit their growth as entrepreneurs. Shalini (1992) stresses that many women entrepreneurs feel that they have to overcome the belief that women are not as serious in business as men are, lack of respect for women and lack of confidence to start a business.

One striking fact that can be noted from all these observations is that the women who take up entrepreneurship, in spite of the reported difficulties and psychological barriers, are the ones who have the courage to transcend the limited boundaries, the culture generally prescribes for them. Women also run a lot of risks in the process of venturing into business. The question now arises “If there is so much of a price to pay in the process and with a number of other career options available to them, why are they taking up entrepreneurship”. This query is one of the motivating factors in venturing into this research study.

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