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Mothers in Business

  • Full or part time

    Dr M Ehret
    Dr L Q Siebers
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The main purpose of this research is to gather evidence to understand why women give up work after having a child to focus on setting up their own business. The project will be divided into two stages. The first stage will be the identification stage to identify and understand the demographic and specific individual personality traits and situations. This work will be part of a pilot study and concentrated in the UK. During the second stage the researchers will apply experimental measures derived from game theory to gain incentivised decisions that link together with the data from stage one so as to develop a full set of attributes. The methodology is a combined procedure of Theoretical Triangulation (as opposed to data or investigator triangulation) and behavioural economic measures.

Theoretical Triangulation will involve a combination of three methodologies:

- Surveys (Nardi, 2018).
- Behavioural Interviews (Grimm et al., 2014).
- Comparison of literature and statistics (Collett, 2015).
- Interviews and surveys will be developed for women in their mid 20s – late 30s, and these women will be selected using the criteria that the women will have (recently) had children and left a paid position in industry, and are either embarking upon, or have started up, their own business.

Recent literature suggests that women will start up their own businesses for the following reasons:

a) Self-realisation (Ullah, Abbas & Akbar, 2010; Marti et al 2014).
b) Propensity for risk (Bennett & Dann, 2000; Marti, et al 2014). (Boden & Nucci, 2000; Krasniqi, 2010).
c) Finding a work/life balance (DeMartino & Barbato, 2003).
d) A desire to seek and obtain business skills (Mroczkowski, 1997; Dhaliwall, 1998; Akehurst, 2012).
e) Earn more [than in a paid position in order to contribute further to the household finances] (Welsh, 2014).
f) Need to seek self-employment [to merge parenthood and work] (Marti, Pacor and Mas-Tur 2014).

In Stage 2 we will design a series of experiments and surveys to measure participants’ personal preferences (risk, trust, time, honesty, and equity) to compliment the data collection in stage 1. Building on the ongoing work of Cameron and Shah (2015), and in line with Hofmann et al., (2014) WPM will deploy the technological advances that the Web data collection, via Qualtrics, offers. The team will design and tailor games to address and measure differences in the countries, based on the GF-analysis, income, religion, technologies, status and diversity.

We will design measures for:

- Risk and Loss Preferences (Binswanger, 1981; Eckel and Grossman, 2002, Puzon & Willinger, 2016, Kocher et al., 2016)
- Time preference (Andreoni, Kuhn and Sprenger 2013; (Kamijo et al. 2016; Grolleau et al. 2016)
- Equality - Social Preference Games (Chmura et al., 2005; Chmura and Bryce, 2017)
- Ultimatum Game/Dictator Game: (Roth et al., 1991)
- Trust Game (Investment Game): (Berg et al., 1995; Eckel & Wilson, 2004, Willinger et al. 2003)
- Public Good Game: (Gächter et al., 2010; Grolleau et al., 2016; Kocher et al., 2016)
- Lying Game: To measure participant’s honesty (Fischbacher and Föllmi-Heusi, 2013)

Funding Notes

This is a self funded PhD opportunity.


Ostrom, A.L., Parasuraman, A., Bowen, D.E., Patrício, L. & Voss, C.A. 2015, "Service Research Priorities in a Rapidly Changing Context", Journal of Service Research, vol. 18 (2), pp. 127-159.

Talay, C., Oxborrow, L. & Brindley, C. 2018, "An exploration of power asymmetry in the apparel industry in the UK and Turkey", Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 74, pp. 162-174.

Teece, D.J. 2018, "Profiting from innovation in the digital economy: Enabling technologies, standards, and licensing models in the wireless world", Research Policy, vol. 47 (8), pp. 1367-1387.

Siebers, LQ. 2017. “Hybridisation practices as organisational responses to institutional demands: The development of retail TNCs in China”, Journal of Economic Geography, vol. 17 (1), 1-29.

Wieland, H., Hartmann, N. & Vargo, S. 2017, "Business models as service strategy", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, vol. 45 (6), pp. 925-943.

Related Subjects

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FTE Category A staff submitted: 23.00

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