Gloria Haddad is a professor of management and technology and is involved in teaching and consultancy in the Middle-East and Europe. Her experience also involves education management. She acted as academic program coordinator in international projects, and the last position that she held was as dean of faculty of business administration at the Lebanese Canadian University. Her research interests extend but are not limited to gender variations in entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship, and business ethics.
Venkataraman, 2000; Zahra and Wright, 2011). Scholars have been mostly concerned with identifying some deterministic factors which could explain the ability of some individuals to discover or create new venture opportunities while others not. Previous works greatly contribute to the understanding of the topic however they fall short of offering a comprehensive view of the process (Gedajlovic et al., 2013). This research adopts an integrative social approach and argues that opportunity identification is a dynamic process involving individual cognitions, social actions and interactions. Gender and age variations are examined in the study of the social impact on the opportunity identification process as their influence in such context still present an insufficiently tackled research area.
This study adapts a qualitative approach through the in-depth interviewing of 30 entrepreneurs who operate in the Lebanese services industry. The sample distribution across gender and age is theoretically informed. It comprises carefully chosen cases of 15 male and 15 female entrepreneurs. Results show that the identification of business opportunities across gender and age is contingent to motivation, to self-efficacy, to the acquisition of knowledge and skills, to innovation capacity and to social learning processes. Gender differences appear in the socially-constructed entrepreneurial dispositions which affect socialization experiences and the way individuals engage in the opportunity identification process.
This research brings new insights to the social perspective of entrepreneurship and presents practical implications for the field of higher education. It suggests gender-sensitive programming and specific action frameworks to be integrated in the design of business education programs to boost early entrepreneurial behaviors.
Keywords: Opportunity Identification, Social Capital, Male and Female Entrepreneurship, Early Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurship Education