Living the Dream? Assessing the “Entrepreneurship as Emancipation” Perspective in a Developed Region


  • This paper benefitted greatly from feedback received at the 2011 Academy of Management Meetings in San Antonio, the 2011 Alberta School of Business PhD Research Conference, and the 2012 ACERE-DIANA Conference (at which it received the Best Paper Award for gender and entrepreneurship). We are especially grateful for the comments provided by Karen Hughes, Dean Shepherd, Friederike Welter, and this journal's reviewers, as well as for the research assistance provided by Heather Adamski, Jessica Alen, Melanie Ashcroft, Amanda Bloom, Phil Goh, Obaid Malik, Kathleen Shea, and Christina Zschocke. The study was supported by SSHRC grant 501-2001-0017.


This paper seeks to stimulate additional research on the entrepreneurship-as-emancipation perspective. We extend extant work by specifying the practices within developed regions from which entrepreneurs arguably pursue liberation and then developing hypotheses pertaining to the incidence, determinants, and outcomes associated with departure from such norms. Our survey findings offer evidence to question not only the prevalence with which entrepreneurs in such contexts deviate from the status quo, but also the characteristics of those who enact greater departure. On average, women are not more likely to do so; moreover, they tend to be less satisfied overall when they do deviate highly.