Bank Loan Officers' Perceptions of the Characteristics of Men, Women and Successful Entrepreneurs.

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Eleanor "Holly" Buttner, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Much anecdotal evidence suggests that women, compared to similarly situated men, have great difficulty securing financing for entrepreneurial endeavors. In addition, a mounting body of evidence illustrates how women in managerial roles are perceived in terms of sex stereotypes rather than in terms of their accomplishments. The present study extends this line of research to investigate whether female entrepreneurs are also viewed in terms of sex stereotypes. One hundred and six bank loan officers evaluated either men, women, or successful entrepreneurs on scales assessing nine attributes of successful entrepreneurs. The nine entrepreneurial qualities were leadership, autonomy, propensity to take risks, readiness for change, endurance, lack of emotionalism, low need for support, low conformity, and persuasiveness. It was hypothesized that sex stereotypes influenced perceptions that women, compared to men, did not possess the characteristics necessary for successful entrepreneurship. Results confirmed the hypothesis that characteristics attributed to successful entrepreneurs were more commonly ascribed to men than to women. On the dimensions of leadership, autonomy, risk taking, readiness for change, endurance, lack of emotionalism and low need for support, bank loan officers rated women as significantly less like successful entrepreneurs compared to men. While gender differences on the remaining three dimensions failed to reach statistical significance, women were never rated as closer to successful entrepreneurs than were men. These results are consistent with anecdotal evidence of the difficulties female entrepreneurs encounter in securing working capital. The results are also consistent with past research examining commonly held sex stereotypes of male and female managers and executives. These findings raise questions regarding the degree to which loan officers are influenced by sex stereotypes in considering loan applications from male and female aspiring entrepreneurs. From a bank's perspective, it may be important to train loan officers to avoid falling back on sex stereotypes in evaluating proposals for new businesses. Similarly, it may be important to alert female entrepreneurs to the need to dispel traditional sex stereotypes in the context of loan application interviews.

Additional Information

Journal of Business Venturing, 3, 249-258
Language: English
Date: 1988
Financing, Female entrepreneurs

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