Networks around entrepreneurs: gendering in China and countries around the Persian Gulf

Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen*, Shayegheh Ashourizadeh, Kent Wickstrøm Jensen, Thomas Schøtt, Yuan Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Entrepreneurs are networking with others to get advice for their businesses. The networking differs between men and women; notably, men are more often networking for advice in the public sphere and women are more often networking for advice in the private sphere. The purpose of this study is to account for how such gendering of entrepreneurs’ networks of advisors differs between societies and cultures. Design/methodology/approach: Based on survey data from the Global Entrepreneurships Monitor, a sample of 16,365 entrepreneurs is used to compare the gendering of entrepreneurs’ networks in China and five countries largely located around the Persian Gulf, namely Yemen, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Findings: Analyses show that female entrepreneurs tend to have slightly larger private sphere networks than male entrepreneurs. The differences between male and female entrepreneurs’ networking in the public sphere are considerably larger. Societal differences in the relative prominence of networking in the public and private spheres, and the gendering hereof, correspond well to cultural and socio-economic societal differences. In particular, the authors found marked differences among the religiously conservative and politically autocratic Gulf states. Research limitations/implications: As a main limitation to this study, the data disclose only the gender of the entrepreneur, but not the gender of each advisor in the network around the entrepreneur. Thus, the authors cannot tell the extent to which men and women interact with each other. This limitation along with the findings of this study point to a need for further research on the extent to which genders are structurally mixed or separated as entrepreneurs network for advice in the public sphere. In addition, the large migrant populations in some Arab states raise questions of the ethnicity of entrepreneurs and advisors. Originality/value: Results from this study create novel and nuanced understandings about the differences in the gendering of entrepreneurs’ networking in China and countries around Persian Gulf. Such understandings provide valuable input to the knowledge of how to better use the entrepreneurial potential from both men and women in different cultures. The sample is fairly representative of entrepreneur populations, and the results can be generalized to these countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-280
Number of pages13
JournalGender in Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Arabian gulf
  • China
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Gender
  • Iran
  • Networks


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