African Journal of
Business Management

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Bus. Manage.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1993-8233
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJBM
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3993


Exploring the connection between relational capital and female entrepreneurs

Paola Paoloni
  • Paola Paoloni
  • Department of UNISU, Niccolò Cusano University, Rome, Italy.
  • Google Scholar
Rosa Lombardi
  • Rosa Lombardi
  • Department of Law and Economics of Productive Activities, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 04 March 2016
  •  Accepted: 01 August 2017
  •  Published: 28 December 2017


Among intangible assets of contemporary companies, relational capital (RC) is a relevant strategic asset as well as a dimension of intellectual capital. In this scenario, micro-enterprises are key drivers of economic growth, and woman entrepreneurs are key developers of these businesses. So, the purpose of this study is to carry out a literature review analyzing how RC contributes to the startup phase of women-owned micro-enterprises. Another purpose is to understand whether and to what extent the studies conducted so far have addressed some issues such as “How and why women entrepreneurs use relational capital? What are the main benefits they get using relational capital? What are the main obstacles they face?” A literature search on Scopus was conducted, using a set of selected keywords. Scopus was used since it has quality publications. Selected papers were analyzed and classified, in an attempt to identify the main topics and results obtained from the research and analysis carried out so far. The contribution of the present research is to make the international literature focus on the connection between gender studies and RC. Particularly, the literature review emphasizes the topic proposed as emerging issue, which gives us the opportunity to identify new trends and future directions of research. This paper aims to advance knowledge and practice in the area of gender and management, using RC based on empirical research, theoretical developments, practice and current issues. The main evidences are related to a better understanding of the debate on gender and relational capital, considering that female entrepreneurship is central to the development and welfare of economies. Deep knowledge on how women entrepreneurs manage business relation can contribute to improving the effectiveness policies that promote the participation of female entrepreneurs in the economy.

Key words: Relational capital, women entrepreneur, women manager, women-owned micro-enterprise, gender studies.