Women entrepreneurs in communication-related fields : a grounded theory approach

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Bunning, Jill R.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Journalism
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Currently, very little is known about women entrepreneurs. This exploratory study focused on women entrepreneurs in communication-related occupations. The objectives of this study were to create a grounded theory (or theories) on which future studies may be based; to create an exploratory profile of women entrepreneurs in communication; to gain insight into the perceptions of women entrepreneurs regarding gender issues, start-up issues, education and preparation, management styles, and personal or relationship issues; and to determine women's motivations for entrepreneurship.Fourteen women entrepreneurs working in various areas of communication were asked to participate in focused interviews addressing the objectives of this study. The women ranged in age from their early 30s to over 60, and their businesses were founded between one and 10 years ago. All of the women interviewed were college educated, with the majority holding degrees in a communications discipline. Communications was the career of choice for these women because they felt the field fit their interests and talents. The synthesis and analysis of the contents of the focused interviews yielded three grounded theories: 1) Women become entrepreneurs because they are seeking independence and flexibility in business or because they recognize and seek to capitalize on an opportunity; 2) Entrepreneurial women tend to be flexible, sensitive to feelings and relationship-based in their management styles, while male entrepreneurs operate in a structured environment with little emphasis on feelings or personal relationships; and, 3) Entrepreneurial women operate under a dual role in society comprised of both a career role and a people role, while entrepreneurial men are primarily career-oriented. Because this dual role places certain societal expectations on them, women have to work harder than men to prove themselves as capable business owners.