The Role of the Partner of an Entrepreneur

Main Article Content

Beatrice Avolio
Sandra García Dulanto
Ross Knutson
Luis Augusto Maldonado
José Carlos Peñaloza Rojas
Ricardo Van Dyck Arbul


This research examines the role of one’s partner in the motivation of the entrepreneur in the small and medium enterprise. This impact has been analyzed in terms of the hierarchy of needs as explained in the Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham Maslow (1991). The study uses a qualitative analysis of twenty-two cases of entrepreneurs who have had partners in the initial or growth stage of the company, and who have up to fifteen years in the market and that sell less than fifteen million dollars annually. The results of the study show that the motivation of the partner seems to be a factor that is valued and recognized by the entrepreneurs, and the entrepreneurs of both genders acknowledge the moral support of their partners as one of the major factor in the development and growth of their businesses.
Among its practical implications, the research provides a theoretical framework for understanding the motivational role of the partners and the entrepreneurs and establishes that entrepreneurs who have managed to stay in the activity of the new business with the support of the partner seem to be perceived as successful people. The originality and value of this study is that it provides primary information on the relationship between the businessperson and his/her partner and contributes to the understanding of the role of partners in the development of the business activities of an entrepreneur.

Article Details



[1] Alcorso, C. (1993). “And I’d like to thank my wife…” Gender dynamics and the ethnic “family business”. Australian Feminist Studies, 17, 93-108.
[2] Aldrich, H. E., & Cliff, J. E. (2003). The pervasive effects of family on entrepreneurship: Toward a family embeddedness perspective. Journal of Business Venturing, 18(5), 573-596.
[3] Amarapurkar, S. S., & Danes, S. M. (2005). Farm businesses-owning couples: Interrelationships among business tensions, relationship conflict quality, and spousal satisfaction. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 26(3), 419-441.
[4] Avolio, B. (2008). Un estudio exploratorio del perfil de las mujeres empresarias en el Perú. Lima, Perú: CENTRUM Graduate Business School PUCP.
[5] Baines, S., & Wheelock, J. (1998). Working for each other: Gender, the household and micro-business survival and growth. International Small Business Journal, 17(1), 16-35.
[6] Brush, C. G. (1992). Research on women business owners: Past trends, a new perspective and future directions. Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 16(4), 5-30.
[7] Buttner, E. H., & Moore, D. P. (1997). Women’s organizational exodus to entrepreneurship: Self-reported motivations and correlates with success. Journal of Small Business Management, 35(1), 34-46.
[8] Cast, A. & Cantwell A. (2007). Identity Change in Newly Married Couples: effects of Positive find Negative Feedback. Social Psychology Quarterly, 70(2), 172-185.
[9] Cole, P., & Johnson, K. (2007). An exploration of successful copreneurial relationships postdivorce. Family Business Review, XX(3), 185-198.
[10] Cromie, S. (1987). Motivations of aspiring male and female entrepreneurs. Journal of Occupational Behaviour, 8(3), 251-261.
[11] Danes, S., & McTavish, D. (1997). Role involvement of farm women. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 18(1), 69-89.
[12] Danes, S., & Olson, P. D. (2003). Women’s role involvement in family businesses, business tensions, and business success. Family Business Review, 16(1), 53-66.
[13] Danes, S., Rueter, M., Kwon, H., & Doherty, W. (2002). Family FIRO model: An application to family business. Family Business Review, 15(1), 31-43.
[14] DeMartino, R., & Barbato, R. (2002, febrero). Motivational factors of intending female and male entrepreneurs. Paper presented at the National Entrepreneurship and Small Business Educators Conference, Nueva York, NY.
[15] Feingold, A. (1992). Good-looking people are not what we think. Psychological Bulletin, 111, 304-341.
[16] Fitzgerald, M., & Muske, G. (2002). Copreneurs: An exploration and comparison to other family businesses. Family Business Review, 15(1), 1–16.
[17] Fitzgerald, M., Winter, M., Miller, N., & Paul, J. (2001). Adjustment strategies in the family business: Implications of gender and management role. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 22(3), 265–291.
[18] Gilligan, C. (1982). In a different voice: Psychological theory and women’s development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
[19] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (2004). Global Report. Retrieved on March, 2010 from
[20] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (2005). Global Report. Retrieved on March, 2010 from
[21] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (2007). Global Report. Retrieved on March, 2010 from
[22] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (2008). Global Report. Retrieved on March, 2010 from
[23] Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) (2009). Global Report. Retrieved on March, 2010 from Retrieved on March, 2010 from Retrieved on March, 2010 from
[24] Greenfield, S., & Nayak, A. (1992). The management information needs of very small businesses: Gender differences. En R. Welford (Ed.), Small businesses and small business development – a practical approach (Volumen 2, 567-589). Bradford, UK: European Research Press.
[25] Heck, R. K. Z., Hoy, F., Poutziouris, P., & Steier, L. (2008). Emerging paths of family entrepreneurship research. Journal of Small Business Management, 46(3), 317-330.
[26] Kim, T. S. (1996). Women entrepreneurs of Singapore. En L. A. Meng & T. W. Liang (Eds.), Entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship and enterprising culture (204-221). Singapore: Addison-Wesley.
[27] Kirkwood, J. (2004). One size doesn’t fit all: Gender differences in motivations for becoming an entrepreneur. Tesis doctoral no publicada. Dunedin, NZ: University of Otago.
[28] Kirkwood, J. (2009, december). Spousal roles on motivations for entrepreneurship: A Qualitative Study in New Zealand. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 30(4), 372-385.
[29] Lee, Y., Danes, S., & Shelley, M., I. I. (2006). Work roles, management and perceived well-being for married women within family businesses. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27(3), 523-541.
[30] Lee, Y. G., Rowe, B., & Hong, G. (2006). Third shift women in business-owning families. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 27(1), 72-91.
[31] MacCauley, C. (2006). An exploration of the role and contribution of women in small business. Ponencia presentada en el Council for Small Business, Melbourne, Australia.
[32] Mallon, M., & Cohen, L. (2001). Time for a change? Women’s accounts of the move from organizational careers to self-employment. British Journal of Management, 12(3), 217-230.
[33] Marshack, K. J. (1994). Copreneurs and dual-career couples: Are they different? Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, 19(1), 49-69.
[34] Maslow, A. (1991). Motivación y personalidad (3ª. ed.). Madrid, España: Díaz de Santos S. A.
[35] Miettinen, A. (1986). Contributing spouses and the dynamics of entrepreneurial families. En R. Donckels & J. Meijer (Eds.), Women in small business: Focus on Europe (78-86). Assen: Van Gorcum and Comp.
[36] Miles, M., & Huberman, M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
[37] Muske, G., & Fitzgerald, M. (2006). A panel study of copreneurs in business: Who enters, continues, and exits? Family Business Review, 19(3), 193-205.
[38] Petri, H., & Govern, J. (2006). Motivación: teoría, investigación y aplicaciones (5ª. ed.). México D. F.: Thompson Editores.
[39] Philbrick, C., & Fitzgerald, M. (2007). Women in business-owning families: A comparison of roles, responsibilities and predictors of family functionality. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 28(4), 618-634.
[40] Poza, E., & Messer, T. (2001). Spousal leadership and continuity in the family firm. Family Business Review, 14(1), 25-36.
[41] Reeve, J. (1994). Motivación y emoción. Barcelona, España: McGraw-Hill.
[42] Sinclair, A. (2000, summer/autumn). Gender = men? Women: Why men’s experiences should be part of management studies. Mt. Eliza Business Review, 9-16.
[43] Smith, C. R. (2000). Managing work and family in small ‘copreneurial’ business: An Australian study. Women in Management Review, 15(5/6), 283-291.
[44] Stafford, K., Duncan, K., Danes, S., & Winter, M. (1999). A research model of sustainable family businesses. Family Business Review, 12(3), 197-208.
[45] Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Techniques and procedures for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
[46] Van Auken, H. E., & Werbel, J. (2006). Family dynamic and family business financial performance: Spousal commitment. Family Business Review, 19(1), 49-63.
[47] Wheelock, J., & Baines, S. (1998). Dependency or self-reliance? The contradictory case of work in UK small business families. Journal of Family and Economic Issues, 19(1), 53-73

Most read articles by the same author(s)