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    How do women business owners define success and what are the psychological factors that enable them to succeed?

    Lewis, Hayley Anne Jeanne (2022) How do women business owners define success and what are the psychological factors that enable them to succeed? PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This thesis aims to examine how women define success as business owners and the psychological factors that can help them succeed, particularly in the early years of running a business. In the context of increasing levels of business ownership there is an increasing recognition that less women than men start a business and the measures that are used to determine business success are dominated by an economic focus. Limited research has been conducted which specifically looks at how women define business success, in their own terms, and the psychological factors that help them succeed. Research examining women business owners in the UK is particularly lacking. Using a mixed-methods approach, this thesis examines how business success is defined and measured by women and the specific psychological factors, namely personality characteristics, competencies and values that help success. To address the aims of this thesis, two studies were conducted. The first study was a systematic literature review (n = 17) which examined the psychological factors and measures of success conducted in research. The results suggested that the dominant measure of business success is economic in basis, which is unlikely to be a surprise as a large proportion of the studies were conducted in the US. None of the studies specifically asked participants to define business success and none looked at the crucial first three years of business ownership, when the business can be at its most vulnerable. Many of the studies looked at aspects of personality in relation to business performance success, with entrepreneurial self-efficacy and creativity being the dominant focus. None of the studies explored the triumvirate of personality, competencies or values, and none of the studies specifically or explicitly discuss the role that one’s personal values might play in succeeding as a business owner. Therefore, the second study using a qualitative design, examined how women business owners in the UK, in the first three years of their business, defined success and the factors that enabled them to navigate the ups and downs of business ownership, something that felt even more pertinent in the midst of the Covid19 pandemic. The findings showed that women tended to define and measure their success in non-economic terms. Some aspects of personality and competencies married with findings from the first study and the second study provides a helpful, more in-depth insight into the lived experiences of women business owners. In particular, this is the first known study that specifically and explicitly looked at the role values may play in business success. This thesis provides novel insights into how women define business success and the psychological factors that may help them in the early years of starting and running a business. Taken together, these findings could help inform the development of evidence-based interventions to help women looking to start a business. The implications for further research and practice are also discussed.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Date of award confirmed as 2022 by registry.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 25 May 2022 15:26
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:35


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