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Minority Women Entrepreneurs
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Minority Women Entrepreneurs

How Outsider Status Can Lead to Better Business Practices 

Mary Godwyn and Donna Stoddard
January 2011   214+x pp   234 x 156 mm  
paperback   ISBN 978-1-906093-48-8   £17.50  

Alternative formats: hardback


Review copies   Inspection copies
Around the globe women contribute more of their earnings to social good than do men, but until now there was no clear explanation of why.

“An evocative and enlightening success story.” Carol Stack, author of Call to Home

North American customers please order from Stanford University Press.

Preview samples   Introduction

Author Mary Godwyn summarises the book on video


How does gender and minority status shape entrepreneurial decision-making? This question seems long overdue since minority women in the US start new businesses at four times the rate of non-minority men and women.

This book is about minority women entrepreneurs in the United States. Though these women are thriving as business owners, their stories are very seldom told, and few think of minority women as successful entrepreneurs. Therefore, the first purpose of the book is to give voice and visibility to US minority women business owners.

The second purpose is to explain what makes these women different from the standard white male business owners most people are familiar with. Through in-depth interviews and first-hand accounts from minority women entrepreneurs, the authors found that, in innovative and exciting ways, minority women use their outsider status to develop socially conscious business practices that support the communities with which they identify. They reject the idea that business values are separate from personal values and instead balance profits with social good and environmental sustainability. This pattern is repeated in statistical evidence from around the globe that women contribute a much higher percentage of their earnings to social good than do men, but until now there was no clear explanation of why. Using sociological and psychological theories, the authors explain why women, especially minority women, have a tendency to create socially responsible businesses. The innovations provided by the women in this study suggest fresh solutions to economic inequality and humanistic alternatives to exploitative business policies. This is a radically new, socially integrated model that can be used by businesses everywhere.

This book is intended for undergraduate and graduate students of business, sociology, race and gender studies as well as practitioners of entrepreneurship, aspiring entrepreneurs, and all those looking for new examples of holistic, sustainable and socially responsible business practices.

  
REVIEWS

How does gender and minority status shape entrepreneurial decision making? This question seems long overdue since minority women in the U.S. start new businesses at four times the rate of non-minority men and women. This book is about minority women entrepreneurs in the United States. Though these women are thriving as business owners, their stories are very seldom told, and few realise how many minority women are successful entrepreneurs. Therefore, the first purpose of the book is to give voice and visibility to U.S. minority women business owners. The second purpose is to explain how and why these women’s approach to business differs from the practices that are routinely endorsed by business case studies and entrepreneurship literature. Through in depth interviews and firsthand accounts from minority women entrepreneurs, the authors found that, in innovative and exciting ways, minority women use their outsider status to develop socially conscious business practices that support the communities with which they identify. They reject the idea that business values are separate from personal values and instead balance profits with social good and environmental sustainability. Using sociological and psychological theories, the authors explain why women, especially minority women, have a tendency to create socially responsible businesses. The innovations provided by the women in this study suggest fresh solutions to economic inequality and humanistic alternatives to exploitative business policies. This is a radically new, socially integrated model that can be used by businesses everywhere.
Educational  Book Review, October/November 2011

Minority Women Entrepreneurs sets out to offer fresh insights into the business practices of female minority business owners to reveal innovative ways to approach the practice of business and challenge mainstream business dialogues... Overall, Minority Women Entrepreneurs provides an excellent theoretical base, and is interesting in that it draws out many different facets of the problems and arguments concerning minority women’s entrepreneurship. It illustrates these aspects with 'real-life' narratives that will be useful for students and entrepreneurs alike.
Isla Kapasi, School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh

  
PRAISE

“From the very opening pages, readers of Minority Women Entrepreneurs are challenged by the assertion that gender and minority status can lead to ‘better’ business practices – different from the mainstream. Throughout the book, authors Godwyn and Stoddard reveal how and why diversity is not just the right thing to do, but is intricately tied to innovation and excellence. The authors’ argument that who people are is inseparable from what they do and how they do it is thought-provoking for everyone in our multi-cultural world. One need not be an entrepreneur or a business-person to gain valuable insights from the research presented in this compelling and eloquent book.”
Jane Margolis, author of Stuck in the Shallow End: Education, Race, and Computing and Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing

“Rich in resources and insights, this book tells the fascinating stories of a diverse group of successful minority business women who combine doing well with doing good. It offers grounded hope, not only for people who have been marginalised, but for everyone. It shows that women who become entrepreneurs are often guided by caring values – thus providing impetus for a more caring way of living and a more caring way of earning a living for us all.”
Riane Eisler, author of The Real Wealth of Nations and The Chalice and the Blade

“In Minority Women Entrepreneurs, Mary Godwyn and Donna Stoddard have provided an invaluable and ground-breaking analysis of the causes of entrepreneurial activity in general and an understanding of a little-studied and -understood segment of the entrepreneurial population.

Their study highlights the essence of entrepreneurship – an unconventional and innovative response to opportunity and challenge. An entrepreneur escapes from conventional wisdom and breaks away from the norm. Through the examination of the challenges confronting minority women the authors have contributed to the understanding of the social foundation of behaviour and have emphasised the underlying goal of economic activity – the improvement of life in community – through their concept of what it means to be a ‘better’ entrepreneur. Due partly to their life experiences the ‘minority women we interviewed, innovation bends toward justice and social good’. They are entrepreneurs not motivated solely by the pursuit of personal financial gain placing their activities in a broader social context.

Much of the authors’ analysis reminds me of the social-psychological analysis of Community Development Corporations and the impact on an individual’s sense of Identity, fulfilment and attachment to community. In particular the commentary on Pauline Lewis and oovoo design takes me back to Adam Smith and The Wealth of Nations when the success of an entrepreneur was embedded in the success of the community. The business would not be viewed as being successful unless the impact on the larger community was seen as constructive. The fundamental goal of economic activity, a goal generally shared but frequently ignored, is the development of community wealth, not personal wealth at the expense of others.

All true entrepreneurship should be social entrepreneurship as the activity should be contributing to the well-being of the community in which it is based. To call some – the narrow for-profit activity – ‘entrepreneurship’ and some – the activity that embodies a more complex set of goals including community – ‘social entrepreneurship’, is to misconstrue the true purpose of economic activity: the promotion of the common good.”
Stephen L. Zabor, PhD, Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, Founding Director of Integrated Entrepreneurship, Hiram College, USA

Minority Women Entrepreneurs is a great read which challenges commonly held views and simplistic theorisation in entrepreneurship research by focusing on entrepreneurial experiences of 12 exceptional minority women entrepreneurs. Through their sociological field work, the authors go so far as to demonstrate that these minority women provide examples of better, more socially responsible, entrepreneurship practices.”
Professor Mustafa F. Ozbilgin, Chair in Human Resource Management, Norwich Business School, University of East Anglia (UEA), UK

“Finally we have a text that unites sociological theory and entrepreneurship. This text is about more than minority women entrepreneurs. Godwyn and Stoddard provide a historically situated analysis of entrepreneurship that enables the reader to peel back the mythologies about business imperatives. This text shows that entrepreneurs all have choices and that for minority women entrepreneurs these are usually informed by the learned behaviour of choosing to be good for community and family in addition to successful business ownership. The remarkable case studies in the book show that business practices that are beneficial for the entrepreneurial entity can co-exist with and be informed by social good. The minority women entrepreneurs here demonstrate that the ‘business imperative’ is a matter of choice – a new integration of business and social responsibility is feasible and these pioneers are leading business down a new path.”
Dr Ethné Swartz, Associate Professor, Chair, Marketing and Entrepreneurship Department, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Silberman College of Business, USA

“An evocative and enlightening success story that turns conventional wisdom on the business practices of minority women upside down. Godwyn and Stoddard provide intimate knowledge of minority women entrepreneurs who are deeply committed to their communities and to making prudent entrepreneurial decisions.”
Carol Stack, author of Call to Home and All Our Kin

“When I started reading Minority Women Entrepreneurs: How Outsider Status Can Lead to Better Business Practices, by Mary Godwyn and Donna Stoddard, I could not put it down; I kept wanting to know more. This book is a must-read, whether you are into entrepreneurship or not. It will be thought of as a seminal work by entrepreneurship and business scholars. These authors overturn our models of what is good business practice by telling us the stories of minority women entrepreneurs, who, because of their minority status, have created different models of business practice that can be considered better than the prevailing wisdom. What makes this book and the research particularly compelling is that these women’s minority status is based on different attributes, not just race and gender, but also on physical abilities, ethnicity, and religion, and the businesses are also diverse, not just, as one might at first suspect, social service and non-profits.

Godwyn and Stoddard do a superb job of blending real-world experience with the research literature to give us fresh insights in a very clear and readable book. Both scholars and practitioners will benefit greatly from reading this work.”
Dr dt ogilvie, Founding Director, The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED), Associate Professor of Business Strategy, Rutgers Business School – Newark and New Brunswick

The 12 entrepreneurs

Introduction: challenging the elegant theories of economics

    
This item available in PDF format for free download     Download


 

Part 1

1. The unique position of minority women entrepreneurs
2. Sociological explanations for inequality
3. Challenging and changing inequality
4. Where did business-as-usual come from?

Part 2

5. Minority women as business innovators
6. Minority women in partnership with producers, vendors and customers
7. Minority women entrepreneurs as community members

Part 3

8. Minority women entrepreneurs: challenges and opportunities

References
Appendix. Themes in women’s entrepreneurship as a basis for qualitative interview analysis
Index

Mary Godwyn is an Assistant Professor in the History and Society Division at Babson College. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Wellesley College and a PhD in Sociology from Brandeis University. She has lectured at Harvard University and taught at Brandeis University and Lasell College, where she was also the Director of the Donahue Institute for Public Values. Dr Godwyn focuses on social theory as it applies to issues of inequality in formal and informal organisations. She studies entrepreneurship as a vehicle for the economic and political advancement of marginalised populations, especially women and minorities. She has published in journals such as Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, Symbolic Interaction and the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship. Dr Godwyn also consults to colleges and universities about how to integrate entrepreneurship into liberal arts programmes. In 2008, her business ethics case, ‘Hugh Connerty and Hooters: What is Successful Entrepreneurship?’, won the Dark Side Case Competition sponsored by the Critical Management Studies Division of the Academy of Management. Dr Godwyn’s research has been funded by the Coleman Foundation, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, the Harold S. Geneen Charitable Trust and the Babson College Board of Research Fund.

Donna Stoddard is Associate Professor of Information Technology Management (ITM) and teaches undergraduate, graduate and executive education courses related to management information systems and business strategy. Before joining the Babson faculty, Dr Stoddard was on the faculty at Harvard Business School where she taught in the MBA and executive education programmes. She is a graduate of Creighton University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Harvard Business School where she received her BS, MBA and DBA, respectively.

Dr Stoddard is currently exploring how small and large companies leverage enterprise systems to improve communication and collaboration. In addition, she has conducted research related to digital government, electronic commerce, managing the IT infrastructure, IT business innovation, the State of Minority Business Enterprises in Massachusetts and women of color entrepreneurs. Dr Stoddard has written a number of cases and articles on reengineering and the impact of information technology on the structure and strategy of the firm. Dr Stoddard’s articles have been published in such journals as Harvard Business Review, California Management Review, MIS Quarterly and Journal of MIS.

Before entering the doctoral programme at the Harvard Business School, Dr Stoddard spent several years in various marketing positions at IBM where she worked with large financial services and manufacturing companies and she was on the audit staff at Peat Marwick Mitchell. Dr Stoddard has served as a keynote speaker at management and senior executive conferences sponsored by KPMG Peat Marwick, Ernst & Young, The Travelers, MIT, Boston University, State Street Boston Corporation, Johnson & Johnson and Siemens Rolm Communications.