WOMEN ONLINE ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT IN MALAYSIA: SOME PRELIMINARY FINDINGS

Kim Ling Geraldine Chan, Sivapalan Selvadurai, Bahiyah Dato’ Hj. Abdul Hamid, Gusniar Nurdin

Abstract


Entrepreneurship based on information communication technology (ICT) and the internet is fast gaining popularity  as a means of wealth creation and property acquisition in many parts of the world today. Known  as  digital  entrepreneurship,  e-commerce,  e-entrepreneurship  or on-line  entrepreneurship,  the entrepreneurial  activities  are  conducted  using  the  ICT  and  internet  (e.g.,  social  media)  as  means  of business communication, promotion and product development. Women’s involvement in on-line entrepreneurship is rapidly growing in Malaysia. However, interestingly, there very few academic studies conducted on the nature of women on-line entrepreneurship than the studies on women conventional entrepreneurship  in Malaysia.  With  the intention  to fill this literature  gap, the authors  of this paper carried out a qualitative exploratory research of women on-line entrepreneurship in various small sized enterprises in Malaysia. This paper particularly concentrates on discussing some early findings on the role of social environment, specifically social networks, in influencing the women’s business inception, sustainability  and growth. Women were found to have the ability to leverage on their social network environments linking the physical real world and the virtual world. The social environment is also found to have impact on the development of some entrepreneurial leadership qualities such as sharing as opposed to command, throughout the women’s entrepreneurial  involvement.  Although the research is still on- going,  the  authors  hope  that  the  findings  can  offer  a  better  understanding  on  the  role  of  social environment in women on-line entrepreneurship.


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