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Published in: Journal of Business Ethics 3/2022

11-02-2021 | Original Paper

When Discrimination is Worse, Autonomy is Key: How Women Entrepreneurs Leverage Job Autonomy Resources to Find Work–Life Balance

Authors: Dirk De Clercq, Steven A. Brieger

Published in: Journal of Business Ethics | Issue 3/2022

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Abstract

This article examines the relationship between women entrepreneurs’ job autonomy and work–life balance, with a particular focus on how this relationship might be augmented by environments that discriminate against women, whether socio-economically, institutionally, or culturally. Multisource data pertaining to 5334 women entrepreneurs from 37 countries indicate that their sense of job autonomy increases the likelihood that they feel satisfied with their ability to balance the needs of their work with those of their personal life. This process is particularly prominent when they operate in countries characterized by discriminatory socio-economic and institutional conditions, though a mitigating instead of invigorating effect arises in culturally discriminatory settings. For business ethics scholars and practitioners, these findings indicate how the extent to which women entrepreneurs, seeking to combine professional and private responsibilities, derive benefits from initiatives aimed at enhancing their job-related freedom critically depends on whether they operate in adverse external environments.
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Footnotes
1
Even if this third aspect is to some extent captured by Hofstede and colleagues’ (2010) cultural value of masculinity, we focus on the cultural discrimination dimension, as conceptualized by Welzel (2013), because it specifically addresses how women experience discrimination in their professional and personal lives, due to adverse macro-level influences. A country’s masculinity instead is more general in nature and captures the extent to which its culture embraces competition, achievement, and success, instead of caring for others and quality of life (Hofstede et al. 2010). Masculinity does not reflect the degree to which a society appreciates or supports gender equality.
 
2
Following Becker et al. (2016), we performed a robustness check by rerunning the focal analyses without the insignificant control variables. The results were completely consistent with those that we obtained when the control variables were included in the models. The results are available as an online supplement.
 
3
Because the number of women entrepreneurs is not equally distributed across countries in the data set, we performed a robustness check with a weighting variable that captures the number of women entrepreneurs per country relative to the total number of women entrepreneurs in the sample, thereby giving equal weight to each country. The results of this analysis are consistent with those we obtained without any weighting; they are available as an online supplement.
 
4
The detailed regression results are available as an online supplement.
 
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Metadata
Title
When Discrimination is Worse, Autonomy is Key: How Women Entrepreneurs Leverage Job Autonomy Resources to Find Work–Life Balance
Authors
Dirk De Clercq
Steven A. Brieger
Publication date
11-02-2021
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Published in
Journal of Business Ethics / Issue 3/2022
Print ISSN: 0167-4544
Electronic ISSN: 1573-0697
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-021-04735-1

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