Defense Date

Spring 4-17-2018

Degree Type


Degree Name



Business Administration

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Dr. Torsten Pieper

Committee Member or Co-Chair

Dr. Kimberly Eddleston


Dr. Brian Rutherford


A rich and diverse stream of research has focused on assessing different outcomes between men and women entrepreneurs. Popular stereotypes maintain that women are neither as interested, or successful as entrepreneurs compared to men. However, most past research has used biological sex as a proxy to measure differences between women and men dichotomously. The problem with this approach is that it is an oversimplified approach to a complex issue. To address this problem, the more recent literature suggests the inclusion of more meaningful variables, such as gender identity, an individual’s concept of their traits both masculine and feminine, to assess perceived differences between women and men in general, and their interest to engage in entrepreneurship in particular. Based on relevant research in entrepreneurship, psychology, gender studies, sociology, vocational behavior, social linguistics, and educational pedagogy, the present study develops and tests a series of hypotheses utilizing variables within the entrepreneurial environment that are gendered in nature and predict entrepreneurial interest. The competitive climate of the entrepreneurial environment influencing men and women considering the field will further elucidate the causal linkages. Specifically, the influence of gender identity, personality characteristics related to gender, and perceptions of fit into entrepreneurship communities is investigated based on college students’ intent to engage in entrepreneurial clubs and associations at their universities. The results from this study will contribute to the literature on gender and entrepreneurship in areas previous research has not fully considered. The practical contributions of this research are aimed at better identifying past and present barriers to opportunity and promoting educational pedagogy that looks beyond the limitations of sex categorization.