The purpose of this paper is to investigate differences in how men and women small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs make decisions regarding whether to invest in technologies for their firms. Answering recent calls for a gendered perspective in entrepreneurial decision-making, this study integrates premises from social identity theory and role congruity theory to help explain innovation investment decisions among male and female SME entrepreneurs.
Using data from 121 SME entrepreneurs in the dry cleaning industry, the authors employ a conjoint experimental methodology to capture decisions SME entrepreneurs make to adopt or reject an environment-friendly dry cleaning technology. The authors examine the role gender, firm revenue, technology price, and technology complexity play in entrepreneur investment decisions.
The authors find that gender indirectly impacts innovation purchase decisions through interactions with firm revenue and key innovation characteristics. Women SME entrepreneurs were less likely to purchase the technology than their male counterparts at low (and high) firm revenue, high innovation price, and high innovation complexity—all highly risky, masculine, choice contexts.
These findings suggest that men and women's entrepreneurial investment decisions might be shaped by gender stereotypes. Future research should sample additional industries and determine the norms guiding gendered decision-making.
Beyond the decision to launch a new venture, this multi-level analysis, using the lens of social identity and role congruity theories, helps illuminate how men and women SME entrepreneurs approach innovation investment decision-making in significantly different—and gender role consistent—ways.
Bendell, B., Sullivan, D. and Hanek, K. (2020), "Gender, technology and decision-making: insights from an experimental conjoint analysis", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-04-2019-0232Download as .RIS
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