Professor Susan Marlow
University of Nottingham Business School
Susan is Professor of Entrepreneurship and her research interests lie in the broad area of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour with a particular focus on the influence of gender upon women’s entrepreneurship, high technology business incubation and employment relations.
Susan Marlow is Professor of Entrepreneurship at the University of Nottingham Business School. She is a holder of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion, Editor of the International Small Business Journal and Fellow of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Her research interests lie in the broad area of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviour with a particular focus on the influence of gender upon women’s entrepreneurship, high technology business incubation and employment relations.
Published: 12 March 2020
Despite the increasing scope of the literature studying the influence of gender upon women’s engagement with entrepreneurship, a number of foundational debates persist to inform research efforts – that fewer women create new ventures and when they do, their ventures are more likely to exhibit poorer performance parameters and are less likely to grow when compared to male-led businesses. Regardless of this, there is a generic presumption that entrepreneurship is a desirable career choice for women and moreover, society will benefit if more women become entrepreneurs. Within this SOTA review, we review the evidence that challenges the notion that entrepreneurship is a positive choice for women or indeed, necessarily generates broader socio-economic benefits. We base this argument upon the evidence that despite claims it offers women work-life balance, self-employment can create new time pressures and generate poorer returns than employment, whilst individual employment or State provided benefits such as paid ante-natal support, extended paid maternity leave, subsidised child care are rationed or absent.
Is Time Up for The Hero Male Entrepreneur? A Review of Enterprise Discourse and its Effects. SOTA No 34
Published: 9 March 2020
The contemporary stereotypical entrepreneur is typically characterised as a middle-class, middle-aged, white male (McAdam, 2012) leading a high-growth, high turnover enterprise. In reality, most UK businesses are home based, micro or small firms owned and managed by families, partners or teams, very few of which will ever exhibit sustained growth (Anyadike-danes, Hart and Du, 2013). This stereotype is also highly gendered, with ideal entrepreneurial characteristics closely reflecting those ascribed to men and masculinity (Ahl and Marlow, 2012).
The portrayal of the typical entrepreneur as a high-performing male suggests women do not fit the preferred entrepreneurial prototype (McAdam, 2012) as they lack essential characteristics such as aggression, risk taking and competiveness. This argument forms a popular and policy rationale for why women are significantly less likely than men to create and lead new entrepreneurial ventures. Thus, women are encouraged to ‘step-up’ to this prototype by undertaking training and emulating role models to become more self-confident, ambitious and risk tolerant to unleash their entrepreneurial capabilities (Deloitte, 2016). In becoming more like the prototypical ‘hero male entrepreneur’ (Marlow, 2014) women will be able to create more new ventures, enhance their productivity and contribute to employment and wealth creation. This SOTA review considers the evidence that exists on the effects and implications of a masculine entrepreneurial discourse across entrepreneurship education, enterprise policy and practice.