When addressing topics related to female entrepreneurship, a global issue that has aroused the interest of researchers and scholars emerges: the growing incursion of women in the workplace, which on the one hand has reduced their private, family and domestic time, and has transformed it into public and productive time, and on the other has meant that women are forced to construct other identities, to identify with other roles. Specifically in the case of women entrepreneurs, there are dilemmas and conflicts in reconciling the different roles they must assume as moms, wives, homemakers and managers. The way in which these dilemmas are solved seems to impact directly on the size of female-owned firms.
This chapter presents the results of a research that addresses the case of women entrepreneurs in Colombia and that documents the ways in which they have reconciled their family and organizational commitments and the strategies used to this end.
1. Conceptual elements
To conduct this study, the conceptual framework developed by Gibb Dyer (1994) was selected. He develops an entrepreneurial career model based on four dimensions:
a. Career choice
This dimension formulates three factors that influence the decision to become an entrepreneur:
- Individual factors, on which certain issues have been traditionally, studied such as the need for control, motivation for achievement, the ability to take risks and tolerance for uncertainty. Other scholars find these psychological factors insufficient and have added other categories of analysis such as cognitive processes and social cognition phenomena. Additionally, some gender studies have suggested key differences in the orientations and motivations of men and women. Although these factors can not fully explain the entrepreneurial choice, it is clear that they play an important role in the business career choice and cannot be left out.
- Social factors: the first studies dealing with entrepreneurs found many of them came from social groups that could be described as deprived. Suffering from negligence, abandonment and economic difficulties motivated individuals to take control over what they saw as an unfair and hostile world. One way to be in control was to create their own businesses.
Family is an important social actor in several ways: On one hand, the entrepreneur exhibits the influence of parents who were business owners or independent. On the other hand, family support is key in areas such as providing the financial resources necessary to start a business venture.
Other influential factors mentioned by Dyer are race and culture as business success determinants. Additionally, other research (Stevenson, 1987, and Aldrich & Waldinger 1990, cited by Dyer, 1993) mentioned the support of the community in the success of business activities, represented in labor social networks and local business support. As a result, the influence of role models in the community as an important...