A ‘deviant men’ theory of business expectations in nascent entrepreneurs

Martiarena, Alona
Levie, Jonathan
Marlow, Susan
Hart, Mark
Bonner, Karen
Martiarena, Alona, Levie, Jonathan, Marlow, Susan, Hart, Mark, & Bonner, Karen. (2022). A ‘deviant men’ theory of business expectations in nascent entrepreneurs. Small Business Economics. doi:10.1007/s11187-022-00716-4
In this article, we develop a gendered analysis of the expectations of venture growth by nascent entrepreneurs. Male entrepreneurs are notably overrepresented in the small cohort of firms that attain growth; to explore this phenomenon, we draw upon expectation theory during the nascency period to analyse the antecedents of growth outcomes. To refine this analysis, we factor in risk propensity, measuring the impact of the 2008 financial crisis on fundraising plans. Using UK data gathered between 2002 and 2020 from 5490 nascent entrepreneurs to test our hypotheses, we found that those with the greatest levels of start-up capital and high levels of risk tolerance had the highest expectations of growth and were likely to be male. This small cohort of growth-oriented entrepreneurs was termed `deviant men¿ given their outlier status. Women became more cautious after the crisis, so even those with similar access to start-up capital as the deviant men had lower expectations of growth. We conclude by noting that at the nascency stage, expectations of growth are a critical influence upon future outcomes; a small cohort of deviant men has the highest expectations of growth, with women disadvantaged by gendered risk adversity.
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