Entrepreneurship - With or Without Growth?

Ida Bjerring Mehl & Signe Jensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


“Entrepreneurship – with or without growth?” Innovation Fund Denmark supports entrepreneurship throughout Denmark via their support programme, InnoFounder. However, InnoFounder is challenged by the relative distribution of male and female applicants with currently less than one third of their applicants being female. This is problematized in accordance with the belief that women hold an entrepreneurial potential that can foster new and better innovation. This master thesis investigates how former and potential female InnoFounder applicants understand their entrepreneurial reality. In addition, how this interacts with how InnoFounder understands and practices entrepreneurship. A review of existing literature in the field has revealed a lack of research into how entrepreneurship is put into practice. Furthermore how women should be understood, not by comparing them to their male counterparts. Therefore the aim of this master thesis is to understand women as a heterogeneous group of individuals in the context of an entrepreneurial practice. The thesis is conducted using a qualitative methodology. To do so we have collected data via the methods ‘deep hanging out’ as well as fifteen qualitative interviews with twelve women and three representatives from InnoFounder. The data has called upon the eclective inclusion of a number of theories. On an individual level Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Decis (2000) theory on motivation and Michala Schnoor’s (2012) perspective on narrative identity construction has been applied. On a practical level Mihaly Csikszentmihalyis (1990) sociocultural theory on creativity as well as Peter Kjær (2000) and Patricia H. Thornton and William Ocasios (2008) theories on institutions and institutional logics has been applied. On a comparative level we have primarily drawn upon empirical findings produced on the two former levels. The analysis results in one strategic and four practical recommendations. The main findings of this thesis are that former and potential female InnoFounder applicants understand their entrepreneurial reality as a question of being. Thus entrepreneurship is closely related to identity and moral obligations and cannot simply be reduced to an occupational choice. Further the women in our study understand entrepreneurship as an opportunity to design free and flexible lives as well as making a social or sustainable difference. Hence generating profit is not their main motivation. In opposition to this InnoFounder understands entrepreneurship as a means to macroeconomic growth in terms of employment and national income. In this sense entrepreneurship is understood as the creation of scaleable technological innovation. Thus the women’s and InnoFounders understanding of entrepreneurship does not interact expedient on essential questions about what entrepreneurship is and serves the purpose of. In the final discussion applied methods and results have been critically discussed. Further we argue that the idea of ‘growth’ is a social construct that requires further attention

EducationsMSc in Psychology, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages130
SupervisorsThomas Burø