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Students' attitude towards entrepreneurship: does gender matter in the UAE?

Sudipa Majumdar (Based at Business Faculty, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Damodharan Varadarajan (Based at Business Faculty, Higher Colleges of Technology, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Foresight

ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 26 July 2013

2940

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the study is to examine whether there is a difference in the entrepreneurial intentions among male and female students in UAE. The study is extremely relevant and interesting since females in the UAE have a higher success rate in education but this has not been translated into comparable increases in employment rates. Given the social, cultural, and religious fabric of the country's indigenous society and the rising number of female graduates, this anomaly in the corporate sector might result in more female entrepreneurs in this part of the globe, as compared to the rest of the world.

Design/methodology/approach

The research studies a sample of first year business students from the United Arab Emirates, namely Dubai Men's College and Dubai Women's College. The primary survey was a part of an international study involving 12 universities in Europe, Middle East and Australia. A five‐point Likert scale was used for each question and dummy variables were computed based on the scores. The authors used a multivariable econometric model to assess the statistical significance of the determinants of entrepreneurial attitudes. The empirical assessment of the students' entrepreneurial propensity was based on the estimation of a logistic regression.

Findings

The authors' results show that male and female students were equally strong in terms of their propensity to become future entrepreneurs. Female respondents showed higher risk‐taking behavior than males, which was contradictory to past research findings that have typically found females to be more conservative in risk‐taking than males. The estimation results showed that the propensity of future entrepreneurship does not depend on gender ‐ it depended on factors like creativity, motivation and awareness. This is a very important result since the authors' sample does not follow the expected trend in the existing literature on gender differences and entrepreneurship propensities where a wide gender gap has been found.

Originality/value

Both academia and practitioners have increased their efforts in promoting an entrepreneurial mindset within society. However, only a few studies have investigated entrepreneurial attitudes amongst students and no research studies have been conducted in the UAE. The authors' research fills this lacuna and shows that the efforts need to be directed towards nurturing the creativity and awareness of both male and female students for future business ventures.

Keywords

Citation

Majumdar, S. and Varadarajan, D. (2013), "Students' attitude towards entrepreneurship: does gender matter in the UAE?", Foresight, Vol. 15 No. 4, pp. 278-293. https://doi.org/10.1108/FS-03-2012-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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