Malin Malmström, Jeaneth Johansson
Researchers Malin Malmström and Jeaneth Johansson show differences in how financial support for entrepreneurs is distributed. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Attentive research on stereotyped images of entrepreneurs

Published: 30 May 2017

Harvard Business Review draws attention to research from Luleå University of Technology on how stereotypical perceptions of women's and men's entrepreneurial conditions govern the distribution of financial support.

Professors Jeaneth Johansson, Malin Malmström and Joakim Wincent has, in a comprehensive research project, studied what is said  when decisions about public funding are discussed.  The researchers' most important conclusion is that stereotypes  about women's and men's ability to run companies prevent financiers to focus on the entrepreneur who has the highest potential to succeed.

How financiers talk about women's and men's potential and ability to succeed as an entrepreneur is expressed as a real entrepreneur being a man and not a woman. The same assessment criteria are expressed in different ways to assess women and men. Some examples of how the talk goes when taking a decision regarding funding are that a young male entrepreneur is considered promising while a young woman is considered young and inexperienced or that a cautious man is stable and thoughtful while the corresponding assessment of the woman may be that she is considered afraid and not dare to take the necessary steps in order to develop her company.

– We are talking about gender equality for better business, says professor Jeaneth Johansson. It is about taking advantage of all the resources and skills to increase companies' ability to grow. When stereotypes about women and men are allowed to control the distribution of financial support, there is a risk that financiers will focus on companies with low potential instead of those who have the greatest opportunity to succeed.

– By looking at the structures, it is also possible to make changes, it happens a lot in Sweden on that front. The financiers themselves have begun to address this issue and are working hard to make changes, she says.

In addition to expertise in the field of innovation and design  expertise on language and gender contributed in the research project with a  linguistic analysis of what the reserchers heard in the rooms where decisions on financial support are made. .

Jeaneth Johansson

Johansson, Jeaneth - Professor

Organisation: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences
Phone: +46 (0)920 492364
Room: A3217 - Luleå»

Malmström, Malin - Professor, Professor Entrepreneurship and innovation

Organisation: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Business Administration and Industrial Engineering, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences
Phone: +46 (0)920 491087
Room: A3205 - Luleå»

Harvard Business Review

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