Motivation and Intention of Small Business Entrepreneurs: A Gender Perspective

Natanya Meyer, Chris Schachtebeck, Cecile Nieuwenhuizen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose This study aimed to investigate gender-specific differences in internal and external motivation, intention to stay in business and growth aspirations of small business entrepreneurs in the Gauteng Province, South Africa. Furthermore, it aimed at determining if motivation and intention to stay in business predict business growth aspirations. Design/methodology/approach The study adopted a descriptive, single-sample, cross-sectional design. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data from a sample of 298 male and female small business entrepreneurs. The data were analyzed using exploratory factor analysis, internal consistency reliability analysis, descriptive statistics, independent samples t-test and regression analysis. Findings/results Only one significant difference was observed between males and females and the study variables. Male entrepreneurs displayed a statistically significant higher mean compared to females, indicating that they were more motivated by external factors such as enjoying the direct benefits of higher status and influence in the community, rising to a higher position and proving that they were successful in business. Additionally, it was found that the intention to stay in business was the main predictor of business growth aspiration in both groups. Practical implications The findings of this study contrast with some prior studies, which indicated that differences exist between male and female entrepreneurs. However, the practical implication of the higher external motivation of males to prove their status, influence, success, and the position may explain why they generally perform better than females. The study provides insights for policymakers in tailoring support for male and female entrepreneurs and provides the impetus for further investigation. Originality/value The study proved that similarities between male and female entrepreneurs do exist. However, in this study, a notable difference, that males valued external motivation higher, is still present. This increased external motivation to create wealth may explain the greater number of male-run businesses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Small Business Strategy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Entrepreneurship
  • South Africa
  • gender
  • growth
  • intention
  • motivation
  • small business

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management


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