Exploring the Development of Women's Entrepreneurship through Collective Institutional Shaping

  • Madhobi Hossain

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


There is increasing attention on developing women’s entrepreneurship worldwide as it contributes to a country’s social and economic welfare. In line with this, there is growing research in understanding institutions that govern women entrepreneurs instead of merely exploring women’s abilities. However, the existing literature suggests that there is no explicit discussion on the process of how constraining institutions that hinder women’s entrepreneurial involvement could be transformed deliberately and with the involvement of multiple actors. This thesis addresses this gap by identifying the actions and the sequence of events that translates into a process of transforming institutions collectively for the development of women’s entrepreneurship.

A conceptual framework is developed to identify the process based on the concepts drawn from the institutional entrepreneurship literature, emphasising the collective endeavours of institutional actors. Hence, adopting the theory of collective institutional entrepreneurship, to be precise. The conceptual framework sheds light on how various actors are gathered, resources mobilised, and actions are undertaken to gain legitimacy for developing women’s entrepreneurship. It thus provides a process, derived from the existing literature, which is later investigated empirically. This thesis conducts an exploratory study using forty semi-structured interviews with participants representing different actors in the women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem in Bangladesh. The participants are those associated with development programmes in the stated country catered to the development of women entrepreneurs. Through their narratives and experiences related to the thirty-four development programmes described during the interviews, the process by which institutions are collectively shaped is further defined.

This research contributes theoretically both to women entrepreneurship studies and collective institutional entrepreneurship. It adds to the existing knowledge by demonstrating the involvement of multiple actors and describing how they collaborate for the development of women’s entrepreneurship. A further contribution is the identification of a process model by investigating the conceptual framework in an empirical setting. Also, this research makes a significant contribution by suggesting the application of the process model to policymakers or practitioners interested in developing a supportive business environment for women entrepreneurs.
Date of AwardMay 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton
SupervisorFrancisca Farache Aureliano Da Silva (Supervisor), Maria Del Carmen Lopez Lamelas (Supervisor) & Keith Perks (Supervisor)

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