Who is more likely to walk the talk? The symbolic management of entrepreneurial intentions by gender and work status Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Loose coupling as an antecedent to symbolic management is rarely if ever studied at the individual level of analysis. Yet, individuals are central agents in starting and developing new businesses. Inspired by cultural and institutional theory, this study examines the cognitive coupling and symbolic management of entrepreneurial intentions of individuals as a consequence of the cultural legitimacy of entrepreneurship in society. The research design first replicates the well-established positive relationship between high self-efficacy and high entrepreneurial intentions in a heterogenous sample and then demonstrates the interaction effects with cultural legitimacy and domain independent subgroups, gender and work status. Using random sample survey data from 68 countries findings show that men and the employed are more likely to loosely couple and symbolically manage entrepreneurial intentions to found a new business than women and the unemployed. Women and the unemployed are more likely to walk the talk. This study contributes to the micro-foundations of cultural entrepreneurship and the ‘hypocrisy story’ in neo-institutional and world society theory with implications for entrepreneurship policy on gender and work status.

altmetric score

  • 3.7

author list (cited authors)

  • Thornton, P. H., & Klyver, K.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • September 2018