How entrepreneurs achieve purpose beyond profit: the case of women entrepreneurs in Nigeria

Harry Barkema*, Uta Bindl, Lamees Tanveer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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This paper investigates how entrepreneurs achieve a sense of purpose or, more precisely, eudaimonic well-being—the experience of a good and meaningful life. We explore this research issue in the context of women entrepreneurs participating in a business training program in Nigeria. Specifically, we conduct mixed-methods research, starting with an inductive qualitative Study 1 of what eudaimonic well-being means for these entrepreneurs. We find that, in the context of their enterprises, eudaimonic well-being implies opportunities to experience self-cultivation, mastery, social recognition, and to benefit others in the community. Unexpectedly, the women in our study also experience eudaimonic well-being related to their households. These initial insights inform theory in Study 2 on how enterprise-related learning (i.e., acquiring and assimilating knowledge regarding the enterprise) as well as household-related learning (acquiring and assimilating knowledge regarding the household) influence their eudaimonic well-being, itself driven by strong social ties with other women entrepreneurs in the training program. Hypotheses testing through a quantitative study of 484 women entrepreneurs in Nigeria over time corroborates the theory. Our research provides a contextualized perspective of “purpose” in entrepreneurship and how to achieve it: by developing strong social ties, enabling enterprise- and household-related learning, women entrepreneurs in our context initiate greater eudaimonic well-being for themselves, beyond improving firm performance.
Original languageEnglish
Early online date16 Aug 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Aug 2023


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