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How social institutions and institutionalized practices impact entrepreneurial activity

Jennifer Jennings is one of Canada’s leading researchers at the intersection of gender, entrepreneurship, and the family embeddedness of entrepreneurial activity; find further detail on her research and contributions here

Over the course of her career, Dr. Jennifer Jennings has published two co-edited books and approximately 35 journal articles, online compilations, and book chapters on the above-noted topics. Her research has received numerous international recognitions, including the 2021 Foundational Paper Award from the Entrepreneurship (ENT) Division of the Academy of Management (AOM), inclusion in the Responsible Research in Business & Management (RRBM) Honor Roll, and seven Best Paper awards from various international conferences.

How social institutions and institutionalized practices impact entrepreneurial activity

Much of Jennifer’s research over the past 25 years has focused on how social institutions and institutionalized practices/prescriptions impact—and are impacted by—entrepreneurial activity. Her work on these topics, conducted with numerous co-authors, has contributed important insights into questions of socio-economic significance such as the following:

  • What are the implications of sex-based labour market segregation for women’s engagement in entrepreneurship and innovation?
  • Is the tendency for women to possess lower entrepreneurial confidence relative to men really a ‘problem’ that needs to be ‘fixed’?
  • Do women entrepreneurs tend to organize and manage their firms differently than men?
  • Do all entrepreneurs really want to head fast-growing firms?
  • How does family affect entrepreneurship?
  • How can research on families strengthen knowledge about family businesses?

Extending research through the Canada Research Chair

Thanks to her Canada Research Chair (CRC), Jennifer has been able to extend her interrelated research lines by creating training and mentoring opportunities for junior scholars and doctoral students. In some of her current projects with these collaborators, Jennifer is exploring such topics as:

  • The implications of gender-based stereotyping for employee attraction to high-tech start-ups
  • The effects of country-level gender egalitarianism on the work-family experiences and well-being of women entrepreneurs
  • Whether, why, how, and for whom entrepreneurship affects the parenthood decision
  • How perimenopause affects women’s work-related experiences and outcomes

Jennifer’s CRC has also enabled her to design and deliver specialized PhD seminars on entrepreneurship, gender, and family embeddedness.

How can academics and policymakers collaborate more effectively to bridge the distance between scholarly and policy-oriented research on gender and entrepreneurship?

Recently, Jennifer partnered with a policy practitioner to produce an article on how academics and policymakers can collaborate more effectively to bridge the distance between scholarly and policy-oriented research at the nexus of gender and entrepreneurship. She will share details in the future once the paper has been accepted for publication.

As a scholar with a visual impairment, Jennifer delivered a keynote presentation on gender and entrepreneurial confidence at the 2023 Spring Institute on Disability.

Other contributions related to gender and entrepreneurship

In addition to her research activities, Jennifer has held numerous service-oriented appointments over the course of her career. In 2009, she was elected as a Representative-at-Large of the AOM-ENT Division, serving as the Chair of the Membership Committee from 2009 to 2012. In 2010, she co-organized and co-hosted the Diana International Research Conference on Women’s Entrepreneurship in Banff, Alberta.

Between 2010 and 2015, Jennifer served as a Field/Associate Editor at the Journal of Business Venturing. She was also a founding editorial board member of the International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship¸ and currently serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Business Venturing (JBV) and the Academy of Management Review (AMR). Jennifer received a JBV Outstanding Service Award in 2015 and an AMR Outstanding Reviewer Award in 2018.

Jennifer is a Professor in the Department of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and Management at the Alberta School of Business at the University of Alberta. Due in part to her efforts, the University of Alberta ranked within the Top 15 schools worldwide according to the 2022 TCU Global University Entrepreneurship Research Productivity Rankings. The University of Alberta shared the honour (with HEC Montreal) of being the top-ranked Canadian university on this list.

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