Religion and entrepreneurship : the role of religious beliefs and values on female entrepreneurship.
This dissertation examines the role that religion plays in women’s entrepreneurship. After an introductory chapter, chapter two begins with an examination of the religious context of an area and its effect on the number and size of women owned businesses within that area. The religious context of an area creates a ‘moral community’, leading to social norms based upon religious values for the whole community, regardless of an individual’s religious affiliation. We find that the religious context of an area is influential in both the number and size of women owned businesses within that area. After examining the role of religion at the contextual level, chapter three looks at the role that religion plays in women’s strategies for handling work family conflict. Through qualitative interviews with 37 Christian women we find that religion influences the habitus of the women, shaping how they perceive work family conflict, as well as how they choose to handle that conflict. Chapter four looks at the association between religion and women’s motivations to start a business as well as the characteristics (such as size, profit, time and growth) of that business. Through a sample of women entrepreneurs, including religious and non-religious women, the effects of church attendance and religious tradition on these entrepreneurial outcomes are examined. Findings show that both church attendance and religious tradition are significant in both the motivation to start a business as well as the characteristics of this business for women. The final chapter briefly reviews the findings of the empirical chapters as well as how they fill a notable gap in the research. Finally, we discuss how these findings are of importance for future research and suggest some potentially helpful future research ideas.