A cross-cultural review of the impact of entrepreneurial motivation on the success of female smmes operators in south africa

Irene, B.N.O

Purpose- Previous researchers have drawn attention to the link between entrepreneurial motivation, strategy and business success. Most of the studies on the characteristics of women entrepreneurs have focused on a comparison of male and female entrepreneurs with regards to demographic characteristics, psychological orientation or motivations, and business practices (Fenwick, 2001). Notwithstanding the fact that the number of women venturing into entrepreneurship is almost proportionate to the number of men, studies have shown that female-owned businesses are less likely to survive than male-owned businesses (Kalleberg and Leicht, 1991). This study investigates the poor survival rate of female-owned SMMEs in South Africa through an analysis of women’s entrepreneurial motivation in the country.
Design/methodology/approach- This qualitative study is exploratory and the method of data collection was mostly based on of face-to-face interaction with participants. Personal interviews were conducted with female entrepreneurs over a period of five months, following which focus group discussions were conducted (with female entrepreneurs). It focuses on exploring the link between entrepreneurial motivation and the business success of female-owned and managed SMMEs in South Africa. Cross-cultural differences are also explored and the arguments are examined inductively and deductively using thematic content analysis. Samples comprise 128 female entrepreneurs drawn from the four government identified races (Black Africans, White, Indian and Coloured). Data was collected by means of open-ended interviews.
Findings- The results showed a link between motivation, business strategy and business success. It also showed evidence of “serial entrepreneurship” and confirms the findings from previous research that South African female entrepreneurs were more “necessity” than “opportunity” driven. It highlights a need for intervention programs that include motivational training for South African women desiring growth and sustainability in business.
Originality/value- This study offers insight into the factors that influence South African women’s decision to create a new venture and their possible link to the strategies they adopt to grow and sustain their businesses, as well as the link between their motivational factors, strategies and business success.

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