Exploring gender differences in attitudes of university students towards entrepreneurship

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Dabić, M ; Daim, T ; Bayraktaroglu, E ; Novak, I ; Basic, M (2012)

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to understand gender differences in entrepreneurial intentions as measured by perceived feasibility and perceived desirability, and to explore gender differences in perceptions of entrepreneurship education needs - in terms of programmes, activities or projects - to succeed in an entrepreneurial career from the university students’ point of view. Design/Methodology/Approach - Using data gathered from 3420 university students in more than 10 countries, and applying the Mann-Whitney non-parametric test, differences between genders and different intention groups were examined. To reduce the items regarding educational needs, factor analysis was used. Gender differences in educational needs were also examined via Mann-Whitney Test. Findings - The results confirm that compared to males, female students are less willing to start their own businesses. There are significant gender differences in terms of perceived feasibility and perceived desirability such that although they feel more supported by their families, females are less self-confident, more tense, reluctant and concerned about entrepreneurship. In terms of entrepreneurial intention, there are fewer gender differences among students; however, differences relating to self-confidence and family support still exist. Furthermore, students cited establishing entrepreneurial mentoring and an appropriate tutoring structure as the most needed entrepreneurial educational activity/program/project at an academic institution; this was rated higher by females compared to males. Practical implications – The findings of this paper could help guide educators and policy makers in designing effective entrepreneurship programmes that are customized to respond to gender specific needs to increase entrepreneurial participation. Originality/Value - This study reveals the gender differences in perceived desirability and perceived feasibility which impact entrepreneurial intentions. Gender differences in the entrepreneurial programmes/activities/projects required at an academic institution to promote entrepreneurial participation among university students is also explored.
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