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A legacy of attention to embeddedness in gendered institutions: Reflections on a key contribution of women’s entrepreneurship research

Karen D. Hughes (Department of Strategic Management and Organization, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)
Jennifer E. Jennings (Department of Strategic Management and Organization, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada)

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship

ISSN: 1756-6266

Article publication date: 31 January 2020

Issue publication date: 23 March 2020

591

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of in this study is to examine how scholarship on women’s entrepreneurship/gender and entrepreneurship has contributed to understandings of the embeddedness of entrepreneurial activity. The authors review studies from the past four decades (1975-2018) to assess the extent to which research has examined the embeddedness of entrepreneurial activity in two key institutions – the family and the labour market – that remain pervasively and persistently gendered.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors blend a systematic quantitative analysis of scholarly publications with qualitative analysis, identifying key themes and contributions. The corpus of material comprises over 1,300 scholarly publications, including both empirical and theoretical contributions.

Findings

This analysis shows that attention to the embeddedness of entrepreneurial activity in gendered social institutions is a clear legacy of women’s entrepreneurship research. The systematic quantitative review found that over one-third (36.6 per cent) of scholarly publications examines questions of family and/or labour market embeddedness in some way. The qualitative analysis identifies a rich array of themes over the past four decades and a growing global reach of scholarship in recent years.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to knowledge about the embeddedness of entrepreneurial activity. It offers a comprehensive review of how entrepreneurship is shaped by the embedding of such activity in two predominant (and gendered) social institutions – families and labour markets. It will be of use to scholars seeking an overview of this topic and considering new research questions to pursue.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank Colette Henry and others involved in inviting contributors to this special issue for the much-appreciated recognition of their commitment and contributions to research on gender and entrepreneurship over the course of our academic careers. The authors would also like to thank Amanda Kraus, Kurtis Letwin, Jessica Ng, Emily Cliff, Christopher Cliff and Alexa Place for their invaluable research assistance. The names of the authors are listed in alphabetical order to denote their equal contributions to this reflective essay.

Citation

Hughes, K.D. and Jennings, J.E. (2019), "A legacy of attention to embeddedness in gendered institutions: Reflections on a key contribution of women’s entrepreneurship research", International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 53-76. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJGE-04-2019-0085

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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