Envisioning female entrepreneur: leaders anew from a gender perspective

Nicola Patterson, Sharon Mavin, Jane Turner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the convergence of female entrepreneurship, women in management and leadership fields from a gender perspective to bring a gender consciousness to the development and construction of the emerging entrepreneurial leadership theory base. Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual paper that argues for the convergence of the entrepreneurship and leadership fields to enable an interchange of ideas, and learn from the developments within each field from a gender perspective. Whilst scholars have recently begun to explore the concept of entrepreneurial leadership, these early developments have remained gender blind, gender defensive and gender neutral. Findings – A central argument is that female entrepreneur leader's experience social role incongruity. In order to be perceived by their followers as credible and legitimate entrepreneurial leaders, women are expected to manage their dual presence across the symbolic spaces of femininity and masculinity, doing gender well and doing gender differently to meet social role expectations of being a woman, whilst also meeting dominant masculine constructions of leadership and entrepreneurship. Practical implications – This paper extends understandings of entrepreneurial leadership, highlighting the importance of foregrounding gender, to make visible and integrate the historical developments of gender within the entrepreneurship and leadership fields. Both scholars and practitioners must “unlearn” and “rethink” our learnt state of being in relation to gender, leadership and entrepreneurship in order to move beyond the “given” and disrupt masculinities' hierarchical superiority. Originality/value – The paper argues that blends of agentic and communal behaviours must be recognized as accessible to both women and men for effective entrepreneurial leadership. This will provide female entrepreneurial leaders the fluidity to do both and be something else as a person. Offering understandings of gender to extant gender blind, gender neutral and gender defensive constructions of entrepreneurial leadership will progress understandings of the framework emerging from this conceptualization.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-416
JournalGender in Management: An International Journal
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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