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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of the self-image on the behaviour of entrepreneurial women Kotarski, Joan Elizabeth


The thesis deals with a group of modern Canadian women performing the visible social and economic role of entrepreneur. In general, males are dominant as entrepreneurs. However, the centre of this research is a case study of a female entrepreneur. It is augmented by interviews with other female entrepreneurs and the limited published research available about female entrepreneurs. It addresses the question: in what ways do self-images influence the behaviour of entrepreneurial women? Self-image is conceptualized as an essential component of ourselves, influenced by such themes as our culture, our sex-role socialization, and our environment. Self-image helps to shape our ability to act in society. Self-image can be manipulated and used as a strategy for the entrepreneurial role which is valued in our society. Entrepreneurial experts affirm that a positive self-image is important to entrepreneurial behaviour. Researchers have identified women as a group with a poor self-image, yet women are now becoming entrepreneurs at three times the rate of men. My thesis suggests that a number of factors related to self-image influence the behaviour of entrepreneurial women: 1) through the lack of relevant beliefs, values or images to incorporate into their self-images; 2) through the lack of appropriate beliefs, values or images to incorporate into their self-images; 3) through the presentation of conflicting beliefs, values or images; 4) and through the reinforcement of beliefs, values and images in particular social situations or contexts. The factors related to the self-images of those women who perform the entrepreneurial role suggest important cultural and social changes in the status of women generally. Following the conclusion, a discussion on the illusions that can be a part of women's self-images is included. I look at the illusion associated with images of women and the illusion of choice. I suggest that both these illusions can impact significantly on self-image and often with detrimental effects for women. My point is to make sure we are aware that the self-images do not always reflect objective reality.

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