Original Research

The influence of gender and ethnicity on the perceptions of an Entrepreneurial career in the South African context

Shelley Farrington, Beverley Gray, Gary Sharp
The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management | Vol 5, No 1 | a24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajesbm.v5i1.24 | © 2015 The Southern African Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management
Submitted: 17 July 2015 | Published: 31 December 2012

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Shelley Farrington, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Beverley Gray,
Gary Sharp,

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In South Africa men are more likely than women to undertake entrepreneurial activity. Similarly, White South Africans are more likely to start new business ventures than other ethnic groups. In order to establish why women and certain ethnic groups are less inclined to undertake entrepreneurial activities, the primary objective of this study was to establish whether the perceptions of desirability that some groups have of an entrepreneurial career differ from those of others. Respondents were identified by means of convenience and judgemental sampling. In total, 739 usable questionnaires were returned. The validity and reliability of the measuring instrument was assessed by means of an exploratory factor analysis and Cronbach-alpha coefficients. T-test statistics were undertaken to establish significant differences. The results show that female small business owners perceive that self-employment will allow them more Flexibility and Autonomy than do their male counterparts, whereas male students perceive that self-employment will allow them more Time than do female students. Black small business owners and Black student respondents scored higher mean scores than White respondents for the majority of work values investigated in this study. This seems to suggest that Black respondents perceive an entrepreneurial career more positively than White respondents do, despite White South Africans being more likely to start entrepreneurial ventures than Black South Africans.

KEYWORDS: Entrepreneurial career, small business enterprises, career perceptions, work values, gender, ethnicity


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1. Gender Differences in the Perceptions of Entrepreneurship Hindrances: A Case of Vocational Education Students in Zimbabwe
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doi: 10.22610/jebs.v8i6(J).1486