Spousal Roles on Motivations for Entrepreneurship: A Qualitative Study in New Zealand

Abstract

Little is known about the role the spouse plays in an entrepreneur’s motivations for entrepreneurship. A gender comparative qualitative study is presented, based on interviews with 68 entrepreneurs (45 men and 23 women) in New Zealand. A continuum of spousal support is described—those whose spouses are co-founders, supportive spouses, and unsupportive/ambivalent spouses. Findings show that women and men tend to have different expectations of their spouse when contemplating starting a business. A woman looks to her husband for business advice, for support, and encouragement and considers the effects that starting a business may have on her spouse. A man tends to assume support is forthcoming, and some men start businesses without explicit spousal support. Contributions to theories of family business are made.

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Correspondence to Jodyanne Kirkwood.

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Kirkwood, J. Spousal Roles on Motivations for Entrepreneurship: A Qualitative Study in New Zealand. J Fam Econ Iss 30, 372 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10834-009-9169-4

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Keywords

  • Co-founders
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Gender
  • Motivations
  • Spouse
  • Support