Mind the Gap: The Role of Gender in Entrepreneurial Career Choice and Social Influence by Founders

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Women continue to be disproportionately underrepresented in new venture creation. We investigate whether and how founders can differently influence future entrepreneurial career choices of their male and female joiners. Using a large sample of startup firms with personnel where founders interact closely with joiners, we demonstrate that founders have a strong influence on a joiner's entrepreneurial career choice if both are female. We find empirical support for role modeling as a key underlying mechanism, accounting for alternative explanations such as selective matching based on gender and push‐driven factors. These findings increase our understanding of the roles of socialization and organizational context in shaping the career outcomes of employees, and provide evidence of a multiplier effect of female entrepreneurs.
Original languageEnglish
JournalStrategic Management Journal
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)841-866
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

Bibliographical note

Published online: 17. January 2020


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Female leadership
  • Gender gaps
  • Organizations
  • Role models

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