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Female Entrepreneurship and the Metanarrative of Economic Growth: A Critical Review of Underlying Assumptions

Dean, H.; Larsen, G.; Ford, J.; Akram, M.

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Authors

H. Dean

M. Akram



Abstract

This critical review of the literature on female entrepreneurship problematizes the metanarrative of economic growth and the mechanisms through which it both operates and is maintained. Central to this is the axiomatic ‘underperformance hypothesis’, which states that ‘all else being equal, female entrepreneurs tend to be less successful than their male counterparts in terms of conventional economic performance measures’ (Du Rietz and Henrekson (2000, p. 1). As an axiom, the truth of the ‘underperformance hypothesis’ is taken for granted, and thus it invisibly serves as a starting point, delimiter and interpretive lens for analysis in this field. While it remains invisible, the hypothesis will continue to reproduce the differences between male and female entrepreneurs, and thus the subordination of women to men in the realm of entrepreneurship. The review illustrates how, by associating females with underperformance, the persistent influence of the metanarrative of economic growth has been masked and the image of the female entrepreneur as problematic and inferior to her male counterpart has been reinforced. The authors argue that a postmodern feminist epistemology will destabilize both the metanarrative of economic growth, and the axiomatic ‘underperformance hypothesis’ it supports, thus opening up space for a heterogeneous understanding of (female) entrepreneurship. By questioning accepted knowledge about female entrepreneurs, the review sets the platform for the exploration of new research questions and a broad agenda for future research. Such an agenda is crucial in order to move future research beyond the pervasive influence of the metanarrative of economic growth and its attendant underperformance hypothesis.

Citation

Dean, H., Larsen, G., Ford, J., & Akram, M. (2019). Female Entrepreneurship and the Metanarrative of Economic Growth: A Critical Review of Underlying Assumptions. International Journal of Management Reviews, 21(1), 24-49. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12173

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 29, 2017
Online Publication Date Dec 26, 2017
Publication Date Jan 31, 2019
Deposit Date Nov 2, 2017
Publicly Available Date Dec 26, 2019
Journal International Journal of Management Reviews
Print ISSN 1460-8545
Electronic ISSN 1468-2370
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 1
Pages 24-49
DOI https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12173
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/1344884

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Copyright Statement
This is the accepted version of the following article: Dean, H., Larsen, G., Ford, J. & Akram, M. (2019). Female Entrepreneurship and the Metanarrative of Economic Growth: A Critical Review of Underlying Assumptions. International Journal of Management Reviews 21(1): 24-49, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/ijmr.12173. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.







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