The Effects of Female-Only Competitions on Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation

Schnider, Robin; Hietschold, Nadine; Scherer, Andreas Georg; Voegtlin, Christian (2022). The Effects of Female-Only Competitions on Social Entrepreneurship and Social Innovation Academy of Management Proceedings, 2022(1). 10.5465/AMBPP.2022.17229abstract

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Empirical studies show that women tend to shy away from competition against men, especially in male-typed domains. Social entrepreneurship is such a competitive domain. Yet female engagement in social entrepreneurship would be desirable and important from a societal perspective. With the help of two experiments, we investigate whether offering female-only competitions can be an effective means to foster social innovation by encouraging more women to enter competition and thereby increasing market entry and overall social performance. Our results highlight the importance of the perception of the context (female- vs. male-typed) for the effectiveness of affirmative action. While women showed no difference in competitiveness between same- and mixed-gender tournaments for a female-typed task (developing a social business idea), offering female-only competitions drove more women into competition when confronted with a male-typed task (solving mazes). The latter was true for competitions featuring selfish rather than altruistic incentives. Hence, female-only competitions are particularly useful in male-typed contexts featuring selfish incentives, such as generally encountered in entrepreneurial competition. Since men also showed no adverse reactions to the affirmative action of female-only competitions, these competitions improved efficiency overall.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Business School > Institute for Innovation and Strategic Entrepreneurship > Low-end Innovation
Business School


Schnider, Robin;
Hietschold, Nadine0000-0002-5624-8860;
Scherer, Andreas Georg and
Voegtlin, Christian


H Social Sciences > HF Commerce




Academy of Management Proceedings




Nadine Gurtner

Date Deposited:

03 Aug 2022 11:37

Last Modified:

08 Jan 2024 11:55

Publisher DOI:


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