Rethinking innovation in light of women entrepreneurship


  • Beatrice Orlando University of Ferrara
  • Carmela Schillaci



innovation, Hofstede, culture, female entrepreneurship, knowledge, happiness


Framing of the research. The influence of culture on the quality of life and well-being of individuals has been widely acknowledged by scholars. Happy people are known for being open minded, optimistic, willing to invest in long-run oriented projects, and able to share their knowledge with others. Though, individual freedoms, such as those related to entrepreneurial initiative or to the possibility of enjoying life, depend on countries’ cultural background. As instance, in some economies female entrepreneurship is forbidden, whilst, in others - such as sub-Saharan cultures -, intellectual property is deemed exploitative. Yet, cultures high in individualism are more likely to invest in R&D. Such evidences prove the relevance of studying the effects of culture on female entrepreneurship and innovation.

Purpose of the paper. This study aims at exploring how the interplay between female entrepreneurship and three main cultural dimensions - namely, masculinity versus femininity, indulgence versus restrain, long terms versus short term orientation - impacts innovation. Indulgence is used as a proxy measure of happiness, freedom, and leisure of a society. We argue that the three aforementioned cultural dimensions moderate the relationship between female entrepreneurship and innovation. Therefore, culture affects female entrepreneurship orientation toward innovation.

Methodology. For the research design, first, we drew a large-scale dataset from both World Bank and Eurostat. Then, we considered data related to the six-dimensions Hofstede’s cross-cultural scale. We focused on a single year, 2021. Hypotheses testing was conducted by analyzing the relationship between our independent variables and product/service innovation. We also looked specifically into eco-innovation, by means of a separate test. We used two different statistical methodologies: Principal component Analysis (PCA) for scale reduction and Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) linear regression for relationship analyses.

Results. Our findings confirm that an increased numbers of female entrepreneurs benefit product/process innovation. By contrast, and, surprisingly, a high number of female entrepreneurs hinders eco-innovation. Either way, the three considered cultural dimensions are proved to be moderators of said relationships. Specifically, indulgence exerts a strong and positive moderation effect on the relationship between female entrepreneurship and innovation, where masculinity exerts a negative effect. Therefore, culture influences female entrepreneurship orientation toward innovation.

Research limitations. Due to numerous missing data, this study has a limited cross-national focus - 16 different countries - and a short longitudinal extension.

Author Biography

Carmela Schillaci

Professore ordinario di Economia e Gestione delle Imprese [SECS-P/08]

Dipartimento di Economia e Management

Università di Catania


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