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Cross-cultural differences in the entrepreneurial activity of men and women: a fuzzy-set approach

Nuno Fernandes Crespo (CSG/ADVANCE, ISEG, Lisbon School of Economics and Manangement, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The aim of this paper is threefold: to identify the combinations of national culture dimensions that lead to high (or low) entrepreneurial activity (EA) for men and women, to understand the role of economic development as a relevant condition that combines with national culture dimensions to achieve high (or low) male or female EA and to identify the differences between the configurations that lead to those outcomes.


Using data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) and from the Hofstede Centre for 77 countries, this study uses a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to explore complex causal relations between national culture dimensions, the level of economic development (conditions) and the male and female EA (outcomes).


This research provides three major insights. First, it is not possible to talk about a single culture that promotes entrepreneurship, but instead in several entrepreneurial cultures. This is particularly interesting when distinguishing between genders, because there are configurations that are specific to one of the genders. Second, different levels of economic development (high/low) combine with national culture dimensions to produce different configurations that can lead to high EA. Third, differences found between the solutions for both genders are higher in the case of the configurations that lead to high EA than in the ones that lead to low EA.

Practical implications

These results are very important to governments and policy makers with the objective of stimulating the EA within their specific countries. When designing public policies to promote entrepreneurship, they should take into consideration the specific cultural context of the country. The cultural context of each country presents multiple dimensions; therefore, the design of public policies should not rely on single, occasional and unarticulated policies. There are countries where the cultural context only promotes EA for males or females. In those cases, the public policies should differentiate between men and women, to be equally effective.


By using a configurational approach, this study identifies several configurations of national culture dimensions and the level of economic development that lead to the same outcomes: high (or low) EA. Some of the configurations are specific to achieving only male or female EA (high or low).



The author gratefully acknowledge financial support from FCT (Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia, Portugal), national funding through research grant (UID/SOC/04521/2013).


Crespo, N.F. (2017), "Cross-cultural differences in the entrepreneurial activity of men and women: a fuzzy-set approach", Gender in Management, Vol. 32 No. 4, pp. 281-299.



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