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J Appl Psychol. 2008 Sep;93(5):1053-61. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.93.5.1053.

The effect of gender stereotype activation on entrepreneurial intentions.

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  • 1College of Business Administration, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE 68114, USA.


In this study, the impact of implicit and explicit activation of gender stereotypes on men's and women's intentions to pursue a traditionally masculine career, such as entrepreneurship, was examined. On the basis of stereotype activation theory, it was hypothesized that men and women would confirm the gender stereotype about entrepreneurship when it was presented implicitly but disconfirm it when it was presented explicitly. Hypotheses were tested by randomly assigning 469 business students to one of 6 experimental conditions and then measuring their entrepreneurial intentions. Results supported the hypothesis when entrepreneurship was associated with stereotypically masculine characteristics but not when it was associated with traditionally feminine characteristics. Men also had higher entrepreneurial intention scores compared with women when no stereotypical information about entrepreneurship was presented, suggesting that underlying societal stereotypes associating entrepreneurship with masculine characteristics may influence people's intentions. However, men and women reported similar intentions when entrepreneurship was presented as gender neutral, suggesting that widely held gender stereotypes can be nullified. Practical implications and directions for future research are discussed.

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