Purpose – While most studies concerning gender differences in small business performance have emerged from developed countries, how applicable the results are to transitional economies, where there still exist significant differences in the socialisation of men and women, is not clear. The purpose of this paper is to examine the influence of gender on the performance of small businesses in Ghana by exploring the impact of personal values on business owners' choice of strategies, specifically asking, do women and men pursue different business strategies, how do personal values influence their strategies and how do their strategies affect performance? Design/methodology/approach – A total of 600 owner‐managers of small retail shops in the Greater Accra Region were surveyed. Results were analysed using the partial least squares approach to structural equation modelling. Findings – The results suggest that there are gender differences in personal values, which lead to different strategies adopted by women and men, which in turn influence performance; specifically Ghanaian women owner‐managers are more risk‐averse than Ghanaian men, and this affects their pursuit of specific functional strategies and ultimately their performance in varied ways. Research limitations/implications – Further studies will need to replicate these findings with other types of businesses, in other locations. Practical implications – The results suggest that closer attention should be given to developing the entrepreneurial values of women if the goal of greater economic development is to be achieved in transitional economies. Originality/value – Limited research has been conducted on women and men small business owners in transitional economies such as Ghana. This empirical research provides important insights into this field.
Equal Opportunities International – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 28, 2008
Keywords: Small enterprises; Gender; Social values; Business performance; Ghana
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