Jacocks, Cara Whitney (2014-08). Redefining Entrepreneurship: The Discursive Constructions and Dialectics of Women's Sole-Proprietorship, Business-Ownership and Direct Sales Business-Ownership. Doctoral Dissertation. Thesis uri icon


  • This study examines the discursive constructions of women entrepreneurs related to their roles as sole-proprietors, business-owners and direct sales business-owners as well as the communicative contradictions experienced by these women in the leading and organizing of different business enterprises. Relying on social dialectics theory to unpack the tensions associated with entrepreneurial practice, this study illuminates definitions, descriptions and struggles related to enacting gender and various forms of entrepreneurship. By examining the discursive tensions experienced via the direct accounts of sole-proprietors, business-owners, and direct sales business-owners, this research contributes to a larger understanding of gender, communication and entrepreneurship. Findings from this study demonstrate that women define entrepreneurship in different ways depending on a host of factors including their personal work history, differential treatment faced in previous occupations, the type of entrepreneurship practiced, the type of industry or business, and family status. Results also demonstrate that women who enact different forms of entrepreneurship experience distinct relational tensions and enact varying management techniques as they seek to balance these tensions.

publication date

  • August 2014