The book examines three issues in entrepreneurship that are often overlooked yet powerful when taken together. The first is the way people learn gender roles and how this in turn affects their entrepreneurial behavior. The second are differences between two major population groups in Malaysia, the Malays and the Chinese, specifically in terms of their respective levels of societal masculinity. The third is entrepreneurial innovation. By combining these topics and examining how they apply to a sample of Malaysian women entrepreneurs, the author produces genuinely new, insightful and occasionally counter-intuitive findings such as Malay women entrepreneurs’ lower level of uncertainty avoidance compared to Chinese women entrepreneurs. Another intriguing discovery is her radical overhaul of the construct of ego orientation, which gives a new angle on the old idea of entrepreneurs as people who are different from the rest of us. In all, the study poses some challenges to long-standing but infrequently tested ideas about the nature of entrepreneurs and their behavior. Businesspeople and business academics alike seem endlessly keen to produce advice, speculation and wishful thinking about entrepreneurship. Our offices and computer hard drives are packed with case studies, histories, and survey work trying to uncover the secrets to establishing, growing and harvesting the fruits of a successful new business. So we might well ask whether we need yet another book on the topic. But even a casual glance at this volume shows the answer is yes, especially since it tackles important aspects of entrepreneurship which have escaped notice and does so with rigor and elegance. The main issue the reader will think about differently as a result of this study is women’s entrepreneurship. Instead of doggedly asserting that women and men do entrepreneurship differently – on the dubious assumption that men and women themselves are essentially different – this study delves into the contextual issues that affect women’s entrepreneurship, particularly among two ethnic groups in Malaysia. Dr Aida has dealt with methodological issues with a light hand for the sake of the general reader. But the book’s findings are underpinned by careful sampling of Malaysian women entrepreneurs whom she then interviewed extensively. This was followed by a careful analysis of the content of those interviews, and rigorous statistical testing of survey data from a wider sample of entrepreneurs. The results as presented here throw further light on entrepreneurship and its role in nation-building, a focus for Malaysia and all countries. This book will more than justify its place on the shelves of scholars and entrepreneurs alike.
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