Women Enterprises, Relational Capital and Corporate Strategy: A Multiple Case Study

  • Paola Paoloni
  • Rosa LombardiEmail author
  • Paoloni Niccolò
Conference paper
Part of the Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics book series (SPBE)


This paper aims at analysing how relational capital (RC) contributes to the born of women enterprises in Italian small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In this way, this research is supported by a qualitative research methodology using a multiple case study (Yin 2009) comparing a small female enterprise and a small man enterprise to point out their characteristics and differences. Thus, the paper applies the CAOS model of micro-entrepreneurship by Paoloni (2011). Using such model, we’re able to share some factors and to classify different types of connections, identifying several kinds of existing relations. Findings show a predominant use of networks characterized by informal and permanent relations, supporting the need to reconcile work and family and to involve relatives and friends in the network. As such results are confirmed in female and male enterprises, we assume that dimensions is a dominant factor instead of gender factor. Additionally, we emphasize the lack of a corporate strategy in the female enterprises. Lastly, given that female entrepreneurship is regarded as central to the development and welfare of economies, the deepening of knowledge of how women entrepreneurs manage the start-up of her business can contribute in improving the participation of female entrepreneurs in the economy.


Women enterprises Corporate strategy Relational capital Women-owned micro-enterprises 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Paoloni
    • 1
  • Rosa Lombardi
    • 2
    Email author
  • Paoloni Niccolò
    • 3
  1. 1.Department Law and Economics of Productive ActivitiesSapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Roma Tre UniversityRomeItaly

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