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Minority Women Entrepreneurs: How Outsider Status Can Lead To Better Business Practices

Written by Featured Organization on 03 February 2011.

Minority Women Entrepreneurs: How Outsider Status Can Lead to Better Business PracticesMinority Women Entrepreneurs: How Outsider Status Can Lead to Better Business Practices has been coauthored by Babson College's Mary Godwyn, assistant professor of Sociology, and Donna Stoddard, associate professor of Information Technology Management.

According to the book, though these women entrepreneurs are thriving as business owners, their stories are seldom told, and few think of minority women as successful entrepreneurs. The question of how gender and minority status shape entrepreneurial decision-making seems long overdue since minority women in the US start new businesses at four times the rate of non-minority men and women.

Through in-depth interviews and first-hand accounts from minority women entrepreneurs, the authors found that, in innovative and exciting ways, minority women use their outsider status to develop socially conscious business practices that support the communities with which they identify.

These entrepreneurs reject the idea that business values are separate from personal values and instead balance profits with social good and environmental sustainability. This pattern is repeated in statistical evidence from around the globe that women contribute a much higher percentage of their earnings to social good than do men, but until now there was no clear explanation of why.

Using sociological and psychological theories, the authors explain why women, especially minority women, have a tendency to create socially responsible businesses. The innovations provided by the women in this study suggest fresh solutions to economic inequality and humanistic alternatives to exploitative business policies. This is a radically new, socially integrated model that can be used by businesses everywhere.

"Finally we have a text that unites sociological theory and entrepreneurship. This text is about more than minority women entrepreneurs ... The remarkable case studies in the book show that business practices that are beneficial for the entrepreneurial entity can co-exist with and be informed by social good," says Dr Ethné Swartz, Associate Professor, Chair, Marketing and Entrepreneurship Department, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Silberman College of Business.

Carol Stack, author of Call to Home and All Our Kin, describes the book as: "An evocative and enlightening success story that turns conventional wisdom on the business practices of minority women upside down. Godwyn and Stoddard provide intimate knowledge of minority women entrepreneurs who are deeply committed to their communities and to making prudent entrepreneurial decisions."

The book is published by Greenleaf Publishing, 2011 http://www.greenleaf-publishing.com/productdetail.kmod?productid=3303.

Professor Godwyn teaches introductory and advanced courses in Sociology, Women's Studies, Gender Studies and the History and Society Foundation course. Professor Godwyn focuses on social theory as it applies to issues of inequality. Within the field of sociology, her areas of expertise include Critical and Classical theory, Feminist Theory and the Sociology of Entrepreneurship. Professor Godwyn studies entrepreneurship as a vehicle for social change through the economic and political advancement of marginalized populations, especially women and minorities.

Donna Stoddard is Associate Professor and Chair of the Technology, Operations and Information Management (TOIM) Division at Babson College. Dr. Stoddard teaches undergraduate, graduate, and executive education courses related to management information systems and business strategy. Dr. Stoddard has explored how small and large companies leverage enterprise systems to improve communication and collaboration.

Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., is recognized internationally as a leader in entrepreneurial management education. Babson grants BS degrees through its innovative undergraduate program, and grants MBA and custom MS and MBA degrees through the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College. Babson Executive Education offers executive development programs to experienced managers worldwide. For information, visit www.babson.edu. •

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