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The role of strong ties in empowering women entrepreneurs in collectivist contexts.

Bastian, Bettina Lynda; Wood, Bronwyn P.; Ng, Poh Yen


Bettina Lynda Bastian

Bronwyn P. Wood


This study examines what social ties within collectivist settings mean for women's venturing and how these ties support women in gaining empowerment through their ventures. Thirteen in-depth semi-structured interviews with women entrepreneurs located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) were conducted to examine the influence of social ties in their ventures. The findings reveal that women in this context, contrary to most reported findings in the extant literature, both rely more on and find strong ties more conducive than weak ties in most of their entrepreneurial behaviours and activities. Results also show how the UAE's collectivist cultural norms shape social networks and inform individual decision-making, resource acquisition, well-being and self-efficacy as well as enhance women's empowerment through entrepreneurship. The women entrepreneurs were found to leverage their social ties for both power and action throughout their entrepreneurial journey consistent with their culture. A conceptual model, derived from the results of a qualitative study, illustrating the relationships between women entrepreneurs' use of social ties and the empowering capacities of venturing within a collectivist cultural context is developed. Based on these findings, the authors discuss the implications for policymakers and recommend avenues for future research, and research designs, on women entrepreneurs in collectivist contexts.


BASTIAN, B.L., WOOD, B.P. and NG, P.Y. 2023. The role of strong ties in empowering women entrepreneurs in collectivist contexts. International journal of gender and entrepreneurship [online], 15(1), pages 122-146. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 12, 2022
Online Publication Date Feb 2, 2023
Publication Date Feb 24, 2023
Deposit Date Feb 24, 2023
Publicly Available Date Feb 24, 2023
Journal International journal of gender and entrepreneurship
Print ISSN 1756-6266
Electronic ISSN 1756-6274
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 122-146
Keywords Social ties; Women entrepreneurship; Empowerment; Collectivist society
Public URL


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