An Investigation of Women's Experiences as Corporate Entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This dissertation critically charts the evolution of the scholarly discourse on corporate entrepreneurship (CE), examines women’s experiences as corporate entrepreneurs and crystallises their key implications for academics and practitioners.
While previous studies have examined women’s CE in developing economies, there currently exists a dearth of research in this area in the UK. Studies undertaken have always been examined from a gender-neutral – but never women’s – perspective.
The research attempts to gain an understanding of the experience of women as corporate entrepreneurs. It charts their journey as innovators (from proposing a new idea to its implementation) within organisations. It also aims to explore and understand the role of women in the initiation and development of CE processes and activities, while also exploring the extent of engagement by women in such activities, and the role played by their organisations in helping women succeed in this area. Four research questions were posed which attempted to establish the experience of women corporate entrepreneurs in this regard and to identify the enablers and barriers, if any, to women corporate entrepreneurs' innovation or new idea and how women’s innovation can be facilitated.
An inductive approach of reasoning is followed in the research design. The research deployed a qualitative data collection and data analysis method consistent with the unique nature of the inquiry, which will allow the research to transcend the generalist approach and explore the relationship in greater detail. Semi-structured interviews, regarded as an appropriate method for the social context, were used for data collection. Thematic analysis was used to identify, analyse and report themes and patterns around issues of gender disparity.
The research discovered varying degrees of positive and negative experiences of participants, but none that were overwhelming. However, a number of barriers faced by women corporate entrepreneurs were identified, along with the enablers to support them. Actions that can be taken by organisations to facilitate the adoption and implementation of new ideas put forward by women are also suggested.
The research responds to the many calls for more studies of women's corporate entrepreneurship which could lead to increased innovation activity and ultimately greater success for more organisations. Furthermore, studying gender experience as corporate entrepreneurs is relatively uncommon, as a greater focus for such academic studies has been more on men rather than women as individual corporate entrepreneurs.
Practical implications are also identified at the organisational and individual levels, with insights being provided that could improve women’s participation in corporate entrepreneurship activities. The research proposes the wherewithal for organisations to support women to have greater success. Developing a deeper understanding through evidence which illustrates women corporate entrepreneurs’ experience in UK organisations might assist the development of effective support policies and structures for involving women.
Date of Award30 Sept 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorVijay Vyas (Supervisor) & Karen Johnston (Supervisor)

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