Navigating gender and culture in constructing network ties: Perceptions and behaviors of women founders in Jordanian digital businesses

Wejdan Alakaleek*, Sarah Cooper, Barbara Orser, Richard Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Purpose: This study sought to examine how women founders navigate gender and cultural influences in constructing network ties in Jordan.
Design/Method/Approach: In-depth interviews document the experiences of 14 women founders operating digital technology-based businesses in Amman, Jordan.
Findings: Gender homogenous ties were perceived to be of diminished quality, limiting the ability of the women founders to acquire resources while risking isolation from diverse networks. Formal professional, male-centric ties were perceived to offer more business impact due to the applicability and usefulness of information. Formal communication, use of intermediaries and industry events were used to develop network ties. These approaches enable founders to respect gendered collectivist norms, such as adhering to family members’ expectations about occupational roles, while meeting new business associates. Strength of network ties emerged as a continuum with strong, weak, and midpoint ties. Midpoint ties offered valued encouragement and emotional support but were perceived to be less effectiveand provide fewer resources compared to strong network ties.
Originality: Mechanisms of gender inequality are evidenced in how gender, culture and social networks operate in relation to each other. Perceptions reflect culturally-situated, within group stereotypes, informing how women founders discount other women’s knowledge and experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research (IJEBR)
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Mar 2024

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • women
  • gender
  • entrepreneurs
  • network ties
  • strategic networking
  • Jordan
  • cultural norms
  • women entrepreneurs
  • networking
  • networks


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