Defying the odds? Multiple disadvantage as a source of entrepreneurial action

Sundas Hussain*, Natalia Vershinina, Charlotte Carey

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Purpose: The link between entrepreneurial intention and positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship for established and nascent entrepreneurs has been well documented in the extant literature, with Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) viewing entrepreneurial intention as a prerequisite for entrepreneurial pursuit. Whilst scholars generally agree on these insights, little empirical evidence exists on how marginalised social groups can convert their intentions into action. This study aims to understand to what extent the elements of TPB: the attitudes towards entrepreneurship, self-efficacy and subjective norms, help explain the emergence of entrepreneurial activity amongst marginalised demographic groups. Approach: This research focuses on unemployed women residing in social housing located in a deprived urban area of the UK to empirically examine how multiple layers of disadvantage faced by this group shape their motivations and intentions for entrepreneurial pursuit. A multi-source qualitative methodology was adopted, drawing upon inductive storytelling narratives and extensive fieldwork on a sample of unemployed ethnic minority women residing in social-housing in a deprived urban area of the UK, community organisation representatives and housing association employees within the social-housing system to assess the interpretive capacity of TPB. Findings: The findings display that TPB illuminates why and how marginalised groups engage in entrepreneurship. Critically, women's entrepreneurial intentions emerge as a result of their experiences of multiple layers of disadvantage, their positionality and the specificity of few resources they can activate from their disadvantageous position for entrepreneurial activity. Originality: By illuminating the linkages between marginalised women's positionality and their associated access to the limited pool of resources using the TPB lens, this study contributes to emerging works on disadvantaged populations and entrepreneurial intention-action debate. This work posits, that despite facing significant additional challenges through their positionality and reduced ability to mobilise resources, women in social housing can defy the odds and develop ways to overcome limited capacity and structural disadvantage.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research
    Publication statusPublished (VoR) - 7 May 2024


    • Women entrepreneurs
    • Entrepreneurial intention


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