Explaining Survival and Growth of Women Entrepreneurship: Organizational Ecology Perspective


  • Sulaman Hafeez Siddiqui 4Department of Management Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  • Rabia Rasheed Associate Fellow, Center for Sustainability Research and Consultancy, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Shahid Nawaz Department of Management Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan
  • Muhammad Suhail Sharif Department of Management Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, Bahawalpur, Pakistan




Women Entrepreneurship, Ecology Theory of Organizations, Sociology of Women Entrepreneurship


Sociological perspectives about organizational founding, survival and growth under organizational ecology theory offer research avenues to look into their implications for new organizational forms. Women entrepreneurship or female run businesses in developing countries risk the liability of newness due to lack of their presence in commercial business activities. Though the presence and role of women in rural economy of these developing countries is more than significant yet the urban sector still lacks the luster of new social values to accept and value this new organizational form. There is need to explore into sociological processes involved in the growth of women entrepreneurship. The present study, using qualitative exploratory research design, elaborates the key sociological processes postulated by ecology theory by which female run businesses make their way to create inclusive markets and shared growth in a socially constrained business environment. The organizational ecology framework is postulated to study the women entrepreneurship process i.e. birth, survival, and growth of female run businesses through change in the social value structure of the society. This perspective treats women entrepreneurship as a distinct organizational form and depicts it as a social process involving the population of organizations than the individual process targeting the women entrepreneurs themselves. The propositions resulting from the postulated linkages can be tested using quantitative methods. The theoretical framework developed here nonetheless offers fresh insights into the women entrepreneurship, its process and outcomes.


Arenius, P. (2003). 1 Women In Entrepreneurship The Entrepreneurial Advantage Of Nations: First Annual Global Entrepreneurship Symposium.

Aslam, M., &Zulifqar, K. (2008). Management of Human Resources: Employment Patterns and Dimensions of Unemployment in Pakistan? National Conference on Socio-Economic Challenges Faced by Pakistan. International Islamic University Islamabad, 2-3.

Banuri, S. H. E. H. E. R. Y. A. R., & Texas, R. (2006). Impact of microfinance on poverty, income inequality and entrepreneurship. A Term Paper Submitted to School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences Political Economy and Public Policy, Richardson, Texas, USA.

Boyer, N. (2003). The base of pyramid. Reperceiving Business from the bottom up. Global Business Network, 7-8.

Branch, M. E. (2003). A path out of poverty: Developing rural and women entrepreneurship.

Carroll, G. R., &Khessina, O. M. (2005). The ecology of entrepreneurship. In Handbook of Entrepreneurship Research(pp. 167-200). Springer, Boston, MA.

Carroll, G. R., J. Wade. 1991. Density dependence in the organizational evolution of the American brewing industry across levels of analysis. Social Sci. Res. 20 271–302.

Carroll, G. R., L. S. Bigelow, M. D. L. Seidel, L. B. Tsai. 1996. The fates of de novo and de alio producers in the American automobile industry, 1885–1982. Strategic Management J. 17 117–137.

Carroll, G. R., M. T. Hannan. 2000. The Demography of Corporations and Industries. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. Carroll, G. R., O. M.

Carroll, Glenn and Michael Hannan. 2000. The Demography of Corporations and Industries. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Chaudhry, I. S. (2009). Poverty alleviation in Southern Punjab (Pakistan): An empirical evidence from the project area of Asian Development Bank. International Research Journal of Finance and Economics, 23(23), 23-32.

Commission on the Private Sector. (2004). Unleashing entrepreneurship: making business work for the poor. United Nations Pubns.

Economic Survey of Pakistan. (2017). Government of Pakistan. Finance Division.

Egal, A. (2012). The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid: Eradicating poverty through profits.

Fielden, S. L., & Davidson, M. J. 20 The way forward for women business owners. INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK OF WOMEN AND SMALL BUSINESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP, 264.

Freeman, J. (1986). Entrepreneurs as organizational products: Semiconductor firms and venture capital firms. Advances in the study of entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic growth, 1(33-52).

Goheer, N. A. (2003). Women entrepreneurs in Pakistan. International Labour Organization.

Hannan and Freeman 1989

Hannan, M. T. (1997). Comment: On logical formalization of theories from organizational ecology. Sociological Methodology, 27(1), 145-149.

Hannan, M. T., G. R. Carroll, E. A. Dundon, J. C. Torres. 1995. Organizational evolution in a multinational context: Entries of automobile manufacturers in Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, and Italy. Amer. Sociol. Rev. 60 509–528.

Hannan, M. T., G. R. Carroll. 1992. Dynamics of Organizational Populations: Density, Legitimation and Competition. Oxford University Press, New York.

Hannan, M. T., J. Freeman. 1989. Organizational Ecology. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.

Hannan, M. T., J. Ranger-Moore, J. Banaszak-Holl. 1990. Competition and the evolution of organizational size distributions. J. V. Singh, ed. Organizational Evolution: New Directions. Sage, Beverly Hills, CA, 78–102.

Hannan, M. T., L. Pólos, G. R. Carroll. 2006. Social Codes and Ecologies: Logics of Organization Theory. Unpublished manuscript.

Hannan, M.T. and J. Freeman (1989), Organizational Ecology. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Kalleberg, A. L., &Leicht, K. T. (1991). Gender and organizational performance: Determinants of small business survival and success. Academy of management journal, 34(1), 136-161.

Kalleberg, A. L., &Leicht, K. T. (1991). Gender and organizational performance: Determinants of small business survival and success. Academy of Management Journal, 34(1), 136-161.

Karnani, A. (2009). The bottom of the pyramid strategy for reducing poverty: A failed promise.

Khessina. 2005. The ecology of entrepreneurship. S. A. Alvarez, R. Agarwal, O. Sorenson, eds. Handbook of Entrepreneurship Research: Disciplinary Perspectives. Springer, New York, 167–200.

Kirzner, Israel M. 1997. “Entrepreneurial Discovery and the Competitive Market Process: An Austrian Approach.” Journal of Economic Literature 35, no. 1 (March): 60-85. http://www.jstor.org.mutex.gmu.edu/stable/2729693.

Langan-Fox, J. (2005). Analysing achievement, motivation and leadership in women entrepreneurs: A new integration. International handbook of women and small business entrepreneurship, 32-41.

Larson, E. L. (1996). United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women: Action for Equality, Development, and Peace (Beijing, China: September 1995). Emory Int'l L. Rev., 10, 695.

Loscocco, K. A., Robinson, J., Hall, R. H., & Allen, J. K. (1991). Gender and small business success: An inquiry into women's relative disadvantage. Social forces, 70(1), 65-85.

Meyer, J. W., & Rowan, B. (1977). Institutionalized organizations: Formal structure as myth and ceremony. American journal of sociology, 83(2), 340-363.

NFWBO (National Foundation for Women Business Owners) and Catalyst (1998), Path to Entrepreneurship: New Direction for Women in Business, Washington, DC. The National Foundation for Women Business Owners.

NFWBO, 2000 National Foundation for Women Business Owners (NFWBO) (2000, July 18). Women owned firms attract investors for business growth [On-line]. Available: http://www.nfwbo.org/RESEARCH/7-18-2000/7-18-2000.htm (Press release).

OECD (2007), “Enhancing Women's Market Access and promoting Pro-Poor Growth” in Promoting Pro-Poor Growth - Policy Guidance for Donors, DAC Guidelines and Reference Series, OECD, Paris

Orhan, M. (2005). Why women enter into small business ownership. International handbook of women and small business entrepreneurship, 3-16.

Paci, P. (2007). Does Employment Really Matter for Shared Growth. Employment and Gender in the Shared-Growth Agenda.

Pakistan Microfinance Network (2008). Achieving Together. Annual Report 2008, Pakistan Microfinance Network.

Pandit, N. R. (1996). The creation of theory: A recent application of the grounded theory method. The qualitative report, 2(4), 1-15.

Petkoski, D. B., Rangan, K. V., & Laufer, W. S. (2008). Business and Poverty: Opening markets to the poor. Development Outreach, 10(2), 2-6.

Pillai, P. S., & Amma, K. S. (2006). 16 Women small business owners in India. International Handbook of Women and Small Business Entrepreneurship, 206.

Prahalad, C. K., & Hart, S. L. (1999). Strategies for the bottom of the pyramid: creating sustainable development. Ann Arbor, 1001, 48109.

Schumpeter, Joseph A, Entrepreneurship as Innovation (2000). Entrepreneurship: The Social Science View, Vol. , p. 51-75 2000. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1512266

Scott, W. R. (1987). The adolescence of institutional theory. Administrative science quarterly, 493-511.

Seelos, C., & Mair, J. (2007). Profitable business models and market creation in the context of deep poverty: A strategic view. Academy of management perspectives, 21(4), 49-63.

Shaw, E., Carter, S. &Brierton, J. 2001. Unequal Entrepreneurship: Why Female Entrepreneurship is an Uphill Business. London: Industrial Society.

Singh, J. V., & Lumsden, C. J. (1990). Theory and research in organizational ecology. Annual review of sociology, 16(1), 161-195.

Singh, J. V., House, R. J., & Tucker, D. J. (1986). Organizational change and organizational mortality. Administrative science quarterly, 587-611.

Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. M. (1997). Grounded theory in practice. Sage.

Thornton, P. H. (1999). The sociology of entrepreneurship. Annual review of sociology, 25(1), 19-46.

Tolbert, P. S., & Zucker, L. G. (1999). The institutionalization of institutional theory. Studying Organization. Theory & Method. London, Thousand Oaks, New Delhi, 169-184.

Verheul, I., van Stel, A. J., &Thurik, A. R. (2004). Explaining female and male entrepreneurship across 29 countries (No. 0804). Papers on Entrepreneurship, Growth and Public Policy.

Zucker, L. G. (1987). Institutional theories of organization. Annual review of sociology, 13(1), 443-464.




How to Cite

Sulaman Hafeez Siddiqui, Rabia Rasheed, Muhammad Shahid Nawaz, & Muhammad Suhail Sharif. (2020). Explaining Survival and Growth of Women Entrepreneurship: Organizational Ecology Perspective. Review of Economics and Development Studies, 4(2), 293-302. https://doi.org/10.26710/reads.v4i2.413

Most read articles by the same author(s)