Women entrepreneurs have limited chances to lead their new businesses
Sociologists have revealed that women, who start new businesses with men, have limited opportunities to move into leadership roles.
Tiantian Yang, a graduate student in the department of sociology in UNC's College of Arts and Sciences who led the study, said that this work raises awareness of the conditions that limit women's access and also makes us aware of what might be done to increase the likelihood that women will attain positions of authority.
Yang and Howard Aldrich, Kenan Professor of Sociology and chair of the sociology department, wanted to explain gender inequality in new businesses because previous research has mostly examined the issue in established organizations. Such firms often have well-established bureaucratic procedures for hiring and promotion, whereas startups must build systems and structures from scratch. Their study is one of the first to explore the emergence of gender roles in new businesses.
The researchers used a nationally representative sample of 362 mixed-sex startup teams, with 880 entrepreneurs on those teams. Aldrich said it's important to clarify that the sample includes small, everyday businesses that are still in the startup stages, such as bakeries, gift shops, and building contractors. None of them have reached the growth potential of a Twitter or a Facebook.
Seventy percent of the mixed-sex teams the duo studied are husband-wife teams.
They found that men are 85 percent more likely than women to be in charge when team members have not signed a formal ownership agreement, but men and women have about the same chance to lead a team when that team has adopted such an agreement.
The study has been published in the American Sociological Review.
(Posted on 04-04-2014)