Strategic Capabilities and Performance in Women-Owned Businesses in Mexico


Address correspondence to: P.I. Rodríguez Gutiérrez, Faculty of Accounting and Administration, Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí, Madero 849 Col. Centro C.P. San Luis Potosí 78000, Mexico. E-mail:


The dire economic situation in Mexico, with its high rate of unemployment, makes it necessary for many women to find some form of economic activity to provide income for their families. Although such conditions could encourage the creation of new firms, the results of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2006 Report show a gap between the number of women involved in nascent and young entrepreneurship initiatives and the number who owns established firms. This gap may indicate that the firms created need to improve their competitiveness and their ability to survive.

The model proposed adopts the resource-based view of the firm as a theoretical framework from which to study how entrepreneurial orientation, market orientation, and learning orientation, as well as the interactions between them, influence the achievement of competitive advantage and superior performance in businesses owned by women. Our investigation analyzes businesses established and managed by women in Mexico and registered with the Asociación Mexicana de Mujeres Empresarias A.C. (Mexican Association of Business Women) and the Red de Empresarias del Instituto Nacional de Mujeres (Women Entrepreneurs Network of the National Women's Institute). To gather the information needed, the study used a questionnaire as a measuring instrument. The results are based on the 90 complete answers received from the questionnaires distributed.

The results show that all of relationships in our model are positive except the hypothesis that learning orientation mediates in the relationship between market orientation and performance. The results suggest that entrepreneurial orientation reinforces the effect of two capabilities, market orientation and learning orientation, on firm performance. They also reaffirm that the three capabilities assessed may lead an organization to differentiate itself from its competitors by improving its performance. In addition to contributing to the literature on female entrepreneurship, the results have important implications for management. Understanding the relationships between capabilities and the performance of women-owned businesses in Mexico can permit the identification of areas for improvement to promote the growth and survival of this type of firm.