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  • 51.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Ways to study the text of entrepreneurship2003Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 52.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Why research on women entrepreneurs needs new directions2008In: Small business and entrepreneurship / [ed] Robert A. Blackburn and Candida G. Brush, Thoasand Oaks: Sage , 2008Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 53.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Why research on women entrepreneurs needs new directions2006In: Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, ISSN 1042-2587, E-ISSN 1540-6520, Vol. 30, no 5, p. 595-621Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research articles on women's entrepreneurship reveal, in spite of intentions to the contrary and in spite of inconclusive research results, a tendency to recreate the idea of women as being secondary to men and of women's businesses being of less significance or, at best, as being a complement. Based on a discourse analysis, this article discusses what research practices cause these results. It suggests new research directions that do not reproduce women's subordination but capture more and richer aspects of women's entrepreneurship.

    Download full text (pdf)
    fulltext
  • 54.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Why research on women entrepreneurs needs new directions2020In: The praxis of diversity / [ed] C. Lütge, C. Lütge & M. Faltermeier, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020, p. 65-104Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research articles on women’s entrepreneurship reveal, in spite of intentions to the contrary, and in spite of inconclusive research results, a tendency to recreate the idea of women as being secondary to men, and of women’s businesses being of less significance or, at best, as being a complement. Based on a discourse analysis, this article discusses what research practices cause these results. It suggests new research directions which do not reproduce women’s subordination, but capture more and richer aspects of women’s entrepreneurship.

  • 55.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Women and entrepreneurship: Contemporary classics2006In: International Small Business Journal, ISSN 0266-2426, E-ISSN 1741-2870, Vol. 26, no 6, p. 661-664Article, book review (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 56.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Women and humanities: Allies or enemies?2006In: Management Education and Humanites, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar , 2006, p. 45-66Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 57.
    Ahl, Helene
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Women’s enterprise – a boost or a detriment to the Scandinavian welfare system?2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 58.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, K.
    Pettersson, K.
    Sköld, B.
    Tillmar, M.
    Entrepreneurship in rural areas: The role of women?2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 59.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, K.
    Stockholm Business School, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Pettersson, K.
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden.
    Tillmar, M.
    Linneuniversitet Ekonomihogskolan Växjö, Växjö, Sweden.
    Women's contributions to rural development: implications for entrepreneurship policy2023In: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, ISSN 1355-2554, E-ISSN 1758-6534Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose: Policy for women's entrepreneurship is designed to promote economic growth, not least in depleted rural areas, but very little is known about the contributions of rural women entrepreneurs, their needs or how the existing policy is received by them. Using a theoretical framework developed by Korsgaard et al. (2015), the authors analyse how rural women entrepreneurs contribute to rural development and discuss the implications for entrepreneurship policy. This paper aims to focus on the aforementioned objectives. Design/methodology/approach: The authors interviewed 32 women entrepreneurs in rural Sweden representing the variety of businesses in which rural Swedish women are engaged. The authors analysed their contributions to rural development by analysing their motives, strategies and outcomes using Korsgaard et al.’s framework of “entrepreneurship in the rural” and “rural entrepreneurship” as a heuristic, interpretative device. Findings: Irrespective of industry, the respondents were deeply embedded in family and local social structures. Their contributions were substantial, multidimensional and indispensable for rural viability, but the policy tended to bypass most women-owned businesses. Support in terms of business training, counselling and financing are important, but programmes especially for women tend to miss the mark, and so does rural development policy. More important for rural women entrepreneurs in Sweden is the provision of good public services, including for example, schools and social care, that make rural life possible. Research limitations/implications: Theoretically, the findings question the individualist and a-contextual focus of much entrepreneurship research, as well as the taken-for-granted work–family divide. How gender and how the public and the private are configured varies greatly between contexts and needs contextual assessment. Moreover, the results call for theorising place as an entrepreneurial actor. Practical implications: Based on the findings, the authors advise future policymakers to gender mainstream entrepreneurship policy and to integrate entrepreneurship and rural development policy with family and welfare state policy. Originality/value: The paper highlights how rural women respond to policy, and the results are contextualised, making it possible to compare them to other contexts. The authors widen the discussion on contributions beyond economic growth, and the authors show that policy for public and commercial services and infrastructure is indeed also policy for entrepreneurship.

  • 60.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    The introduction of entrepreneurship in contemporary Swedish education policy: Ugly duckling or beautiful swan?2008Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 61.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Stockholm University.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linköping University.
    Can governments support both women and entrepreneurship?  2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Feminism in Sweden as well as in the other Scandinavian countries was largely formulated as state feminism. The women’s movement has cooperated with feminists in the state, resulting in societies that count as the most gender equal in the world. The Scandinavian countries are consistently ranked in the top position on international gender equality indices. The state has provided a large publicly financed welfare sector that both employs many women, and makes it possible to combine work and family through family friendly policies. The last decade has seen a political change influenced by neoliberal thought, in which politicians hand over welfare state responsibilities to the market, and instead encourage entrepreneurship, not least among women. The Swedish government has since 20 years back programs and policies to promote women’s entrepreneurship. The Swedish state has during the same period shrunk the public sector and privatized many operations in services and care, which traditionally employ many women. Instead, women are encouraged to start businesses in former public sectors. Empirical studies suggest however, that all of the increase of women’s entrepreneurship in these sectors is within low-paid, micro service businesses, typically child minding.

    Traditional state feminism has also changed character. Instead of public regulations, market solutions are advocated. In this paper we ask how to theorize this change from a feminist theory perspective; we ask what the implications for feminist action are, and we ask what consequences for women’s position in society are. We use research literature and policy texts as our empirical material and conduct a critical literature analysis. We conclude that the entrepreneurship discourse challenges, and possibly weakens state feminism and feminist action as we have known it in the Scandinavian countries, but may also offer new forms of feminist resistance, on market terms. 

  • 62.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Stockholms universitet.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linköpings universitet.
    Entrepreneurship for Equality?2013Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 63.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Stockholm University.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linköping University.
    From feminism to FemInc.ism: On the uneasy relationship between feminism, entrepreneurship and the Nordic welfare state2016In: The International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, ISSN 1554-7191, E-ISSN 1555-1938, Vol. 12, no 2, p. 369-392Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Feminism in the Nordic countries was primarily formulated in terms of ‘state feminism’. The women’s movement cooperated with feminist government officials and politicians, resulting in societies that can be considered to be the most gender-equal societies in the world. Historically, the state provided for a large publicly-financed welfare sector which made it possible for many women to combine work and family through the state’s implementation of family-friendly policies, while simultaneously providing employment opportunities for many women.

    However, since the financial crisis of the 1990s, there has been a political change influenced by neo-liberal thought, in which politicians have handed over the welfare state’s responsibilities to the market, and, instead, the politicians have encouraged entrepreneurship, not least among women. Further to this development, there has been a change in emphasis from entrepreneurship (understood as starting and running a business) to entrepreneurialism which, in addition to a belief in the efficacy of market forces, also contains a social dimension where individuals are supposed to be flexible and exercise choice. In this article, we ask whether this entails a change in the feminist project in the Nordic countries, and if so, what the likely consequences are for this project, both in practice and in research.

    In order to answer this question, we reviewed existing Nordic research on women’s entrepreneurship and examined how this body of work conceptualizes entrepreneurship, gender, the state, and equality. We also considered whether any trends could be identified. We relate our findings to recent changes in government policy and conclude that the current discourse on entrepreneurship challenges, and possibly weakens, state feminism, but we also conclude that this discourse may also provide space for new forms of feminist action, in market terms. We coin the term FemInc.ism to denote feminist action through enterprise and we discuss a number of important challenges that research on this phenomenon is faced with.

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  • 64.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Stockholm University.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linköping University.
    Is institutional support for women’s entrepreneurship feminist?2014Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 65.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Företagsekonomiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linné­universitetet.
    Kvinnors entreprenörskap för en levande landsbygd [Text och video]: Women entrepreneurs – for a vibrant countryside [Text and video]2020Other (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 66.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Stockholm University.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Nordregio.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linköping University.
    Will business ownership support gender equality?2012In: g12 Nationell konferens för genusforskning / [ed] Alnebratt, Kerstin & Holgersson, Charlotte, Göteborg, 2012, p. 38-38Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 67.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Stockholm University.
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Swedish University of Agriculture.
    Tillmar, Malin
    Linnaeus University.
    Women entrepreneurs and rural viability in Sweden2021Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 68.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Berglund, Karin
    Pettersson, Katarina
    Tillmar, Malin
    Women’s entrepreneurship in rural areas: A literature review2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 69.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Bergmo-Prvulovic, IngelaStockholms universitet, Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik.Kilhammar, KarinJönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    HR: Att ta tillvara mänskliga resurser2017Collection (editor) (Refereed)
  • 70.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Bergmo-Prvulovic, IngelaJönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.Kilhammar, KarinJönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell. Linnaeus University, Sweden.
    Human resource management: A Nordic perspective2019Collection (editor) (Refereed)
  • 71.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Bjursell, Cecilia
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Conceptualizing entrepreneurship as creative space2011In: Presented at 4th EuroMed Conference of the EuroMed Academy of Business, Elounda, Greece, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper reviews and challenges received conceptualizations of entrepreneurship. We find entrepreneurship too narrowly defined, the business contexts in which it is customarily applied limiting, and the focus of input measured as forms of capital and output measured as economic gain restrictive. It black-boxes what entrepreneurs really do, reveals little about the process or the phenomenon of entrepreneurship, and its application in contexts other than business unnecessarily imposes business values that are not appropriate in such contexts. We further argue for the use of case studies as a fruitful way of unpacking the entrepreneurial process, and offer an example of such a case study. The analysis of the case results in a conceptualization of entrepreneurship as creative space, with three interrelated and co-dependent process movements: conservation, coordination and creation. We suggest entrepreneurship as creative space as a productive metaphor in studying what entrepreneurs really do, and also recommend a return to the original definition of entrepreneurship as entreprendre, that is, to undertake something.

  • 72.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Czarniawska, Barbara
    Göteborgs universitet.
    Many words about tea2010In: ENTER: Entrepreneurial Narrative Theory Ethnomethodology and Reflexivity: An Issue about The Republic of Tea / [ed] William B. Gartner, Clemson University Digital Press , 2010, Vol. 1, no 1, p. 191-210Chapter in book (Refereed)
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    FULLTEXT01
  • 73.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Escobar, Karla
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication.
    Civil society engagement in refugee integration: subject to prior learning and institutional constraints2023In: ICERI2023: 16th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation: Conference proceedings / [ed] L. G. Chova, C. G. Martínez & J. Lees, IATED Academy , 2023Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In a seminal article in education and neo-institutionalist theory, Meyer and Rowan (1977) proposed that organisations are subject to institutional constraints. These constraints must be met for organizations to be seen as legitimate and thereby secure resources, but meeting them may get in the way of the efficient execution of their core activities. Organizations solve it by “loose coupling”, i.e. they purportedly meet the formal requirements, yet go about their business as they see fit. In this study we follow a number of state-sponsored projects carried out by Swedish civil society organizations aimed at integrating refugees after the massive refugee wave in 2015. We interviewed churches, voluntary associations, social enterprises, immigrant associations and municipal projects. With the exception of immigrant associations, the regular, core activities of the interviewed organizations were not related to integration. We hypothesized that the organizations might turn to loose coupling – do whatever they found best, and report to the government what the government wanted to hear, and in so doing secure long terms funds and institutionalize integration activities in their organizations.

    We found, however, that after a few years, most activities were discontinued. First, they were not only loosely coupled, but rather decoupled from the organization’s core activities. Projects were started by engaged individuals whose prior experience determined the content. Teachers arranged language training cafés, nurses initiated health projects, and those with industry experience arranged job interview training and internships. The documentation and reporting requirements from the government were difficult to meet, as they measured other things than what volunteers and participants valued as important. Continued funds could therefore not be secured. In lieu of funds, the activities were too decoupled form the organizations core activities to be integrated in their regular programs. So, instead of “efficient loose coupling” there was “inefficient decoupling”, and integration was not institutionalized.

    There were two exceptions: One was the immigrant associations who did not rely on external funds and where integration was already a core activity. The other exception was a social enterprise who upon not securing continued funding started a new, independent company. It was financed by selling cleaning services provided by immigrant women who also received language training and other support. In so doing, the formal framework of the organization became perfectly aligned to the integration activities.

    The lesson learned is that if the government wants to draw on the engagement of voluntary associations in the long term, programs and projects need to be aligned to the core activities of the associations, and evaluation criteria must be aligned to what volunteers and participants find meaningful. Theoretically, the study shows that there is a limit to loose coupling – the activities must be at least somewhat aligned to the formal organizational framework to be legitimate in the long term. We add the concept of “inefficient decoupling” to institutional theory. It explains when and why loose coupling does not work, and why inefficient decoupling, because of its inefficiency, may lead to the creation of a new formal organization which is able to house the desired activities.

  • 74.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
    Florin Samuelsson, Emilia
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
    Networking through empowerment and empowerment through networking: Results from a practical experiment using networking through empowerment to enhance women's entrepreneurship2000Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This report documents and evaluates an EU-sponsored project, designed to test and develop the empowerment model in building networks among entrepreneurs - primarily female - to strengthen their businesses and their business skills. Specific skills to be developed were language skills and information technology skills. The participants formed a local network, but they were also connected to sister projects in Germany, Italy, Belgium and Holland. The Swedish network consisted of 40 participants, divided into two groups (one in 1998 and one in 1999) who met regularly in their large group as well as in subgroups during the year. They also took part in business related courses, and undertook a study visit to their sister projects in the fall. Most of the participants were newly started entrepreneurs, and the majority of the firms were sole proprietorships in the service sector. Four coordinators, themselves part of the target group, initiated and managed the project. Representatives from the local sponsors formed a managing group.

    The report documents the project from inception to end, based on observations, interviews, document reviews, questionnaires and logbooks. Results as far as business growth and participants’ assessments of the project were positive. The majority of the companies increased their turnover during the project year, and no business closed. Three of four participants were satisfied, and three of four had their expectations, most frequently of networking with other entrepreneurs and of learning new skills, fully or partly met. Networking in a small group of peers where everyone gives and takes on an equal basis was the main factor producing the positive results. The groups provided colleagues, a sounding board, and a way to build entrepreneurial identity by mirroring each other’s experiences.

    Based on the experiences in Empag, and on previous research on empowerment, we found that empowerment may be understood in two, radically different ways. We have labeled the first radical empowerment. It is built on consensus decision making in a group of equals. Strategic decisions are made collectively, while routine decisions may be assigned to members. It is a protest against hierarchical structures and it recognizes no formal leader. The “power” in empowerment emanates from the inner strength of the involved actors. We have called the other model mainstream empowerment. This is a management tool for making the actors stronger and more motivated, and thus increases efficiency. It is practiced within hierarchical structures with formal leadership. There are boundaries for what the group may decide and what management sets. The latter typically makes the strategic decisions. The “power” in empowerment is interpreted as redistribution of power and resources from higher to lower levels of the echelon.

    The difficulties experienced in Empag centered on organizational issues, such as information and clarification of boundaries for decisionmaking. In the terminology of the empowerment models outlined above, the difficulties emanated from mixing the two models. Given the organizational constraints of Empag, only mainstream empowerment could be practiced. The spirit of empowerment in a more radical sense was, however, communicated and aspired for. Our recommendations for future projects concentrate on how to make mainstream empowerment practice more productive. The first and foremost suggestion is to communicate the nature of the model and its organizational constraints clearly. Also important is to consider leadership and group composition. Groups that are homogeneous as to goals, values and ambitions facilitate empowerment. Businesses of similar age, type, and size, and entrepreneurs of similar interests, age and gender make for a situation where the participants can give and take on equal terms. However, we do not recommend avoiding heterogeneity altogether. Learning to deal with ambiguity and the fact that different individuals may have completely different versions of reality is part of adjusting to the life of an entrepreneur.

    Download full text (pdf)
    Fulltext
  • 75.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Florin Samuelsson, Emilia
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Business Administration.
    Testing networking strategies for nascent women entrepreneurs2001Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 76.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell. Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School.
    Florin Samuelsson, Emilia
    Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School.
    Walking a tightrope: Women entrepreneurs on the pricing decision as a delicate act of balancing inner and outer forces1999In: Sailing the Entrepreneurial Wave into the 21st Century: proceedings for the USASBE Entrepreneurship Conference in January 1999 / [ed] Scott William Kunkel, San Diego: University of San Diego , 1999Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is a pilot study on the rationales for pricing decisions among a group of female entrepreneurs. For the purpose of avoiding pre-determined categories and allowing novel ideas and concerns to emerge, a focus group methodology was employed. Unlike the dominating literature on the subject which sees pricing as a rational decision based on costs, customer value and competition, this study suggests that both contextual factors and psychological factors are important. Important contextual factors were culture, regional characteristics and gender. Important psychological factors were sense of fairness, morals, identity, self-image, need for confirmation and self-confidence.

  • 77.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    A theory of conditional social equality in learning groups2022Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is inspired by an observation that challenges the theory of cumulative advantage/disadvantage (CAD). CAD says that not only are we born with unequal conditions, inequalities in any given characteristic, such as money, health, or status increase over time (Dannefer, 2003:327). People with educated parents tend to become well educated, and vice versa, and people with a higher level of education tend to engage in adult learning throughout their lives, while those with only compulsory school do not, which in turn effects their health, well-being and quality of life negatively. CAD is a somewhat deterministic theory, inviting ideas of what could be done to counteract such processes.

    Observations to this effect were made in studies of Men’s Sheds. Men’s sheds are community-based workshops offering men beyond paid work “somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to” (Golding 2015). Starting in Australia in the 1990s, it is a growing social movement with over 2000 Sheds worldwide (http://mensshed.org). The target group is largely retired working-class men; a group disadvantaged in terms of education, health, income and social status. However, Sheds attract men from all walks of life; also some well-educated and professional men.

    The Sheds have been found to benefit older men’s learning, health, well-being, and social integration. Traditional class divisions were erased, and participants were able to relinquish stereotypical “macho” male identities in favour of softer, caring identities (Cavanagh, Southcombe, & Bartram, 2014; Golding, Foley, & Brown, 2007; Golding, 2015; Haesler, 2015; Morgan, Hayes, Williamson, & Ford, 2007).

    The keys to their success are:(i) Sheds offer men practical, gender-stereotypical activities,(ii) they are self-organized, so service providers are kept at arm’s length, and(iii) women are not present (Ahl, Hedegaard, & Golding, 2017).

    A somewhat counter-intuitive conclusion is that when older men get to do gender stereotypical activities in gender segregated groups, they are able to relinquish class divisions and gender stereotypes. The research question is therefore: does learning in homogeneous groups challenge patterns of inequality, and if so, what patterns and how?

    Based on participant observations and interviews with “shedders” in three countries we found support for the afore-mentioned observations. Working class men possessed the necessary practical skills to became the teachers of other men – their competence was valued, which erased class divisions. When no women were around to fuss with their health concerns, or with tasks such as cooking, they started to do this for themselves and their mates. However, we also noted that heterosexuality was taken for granted and received conceptions of ethnicity/race were reinforced. Homosexuals and immigrants (or people of the native population) were not acknowledged – they became the new “others” of the group. A new-formed fellowship required an outgroup for its definition. Our conclusion is that learning in homogeneous groups allows the erasure of some inequalities, but reproduces others, and the former appears conditional on the latter. We use these observations to formulate a theory of conditional social equality (CSE) which may provide a partial antidote to cumulative disadvantage.

  • 78.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Grupphomogenitet som ett sätt att utmana ojämlikhet bland äldre män2022In: Äldres lärande: utblickar och insikter / [ed] C. Bjursell & M. Malec Rawiński, Stockholm: Natur och kultur, 2022, p. 231-249Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 79.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    The theory of conditional social equality: Group homogeneity as a prerequisite for challenging (some) inequalities among older men2019Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 80.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Golding, B.
    Federation University Australia.
    How the Men’s Shed idea travels to Scandinavia2017In: Australian Journal of Adult Learning, ISSN 1443-1394, Vol. 57, no 3, p. 316-333Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Australia has around 1,000 Men’s Sheds – informal communitybased workshops offering men beyond paid work somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. They have proven to be of great benefit for older men’s learning, health and wellbeing, social integration, and for developing a positive male identity focusing on community responsibility and care. A Men’s Shed is typically selforganized and ‘bottom-up’, which is also a key success factor, since it provides participants with a sense of ownership and empowerment. Men’s Sheds are now spreading rapidly internationally, but the uptake of the idea varies with the local and national context, and so too may the consequences. Our paper describes how the Men’s Shed travelled to Denmark, a country with considerably more ‘social engineering’ than in Australia, where Sheds were opened in 2015, via a ‘top-down’ initiative sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Health. Using data from the study of the web pages of the Danish ‘Shed’ organizations, from interviews with the central organizer, and from visits and interviews with participants and local organizers at two Danish Men’s sheds, we describe how the idea of the Men’s Shed on the Australian model was interpreted and translated at central and local levels. Preliminary data indicate that similar positive benefits as exist in Australia may result, provided that local ownership is emphasized.

  • 81.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Golding, Barry
    Federation University, Australia.
    How the idea of a Men’s Shed travels to Scandinavia2017In: Getting of wisdom – Learning in later life: International Exchange and Conferences, 2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Australia has around 1,000 Men’s Sheds – informal community-based workshops offering men beyond paid work somewhere to go, something to do and someone to talk to. They have proven to be of great benefit for older men’s learning, health and wellbeing, social integration, and for developing a positive male identity focusing on community responsibility and care. A Men’s Shed is typically self-organized and ‘bottom-up’, which is also a key success factor, since it provides participants with a sense of ownership and empowerment. Men’s Sheds are now spreading rapidly internationally, but the uptake of the idea varies with the local and national context, and so too may the consequences. Our paper describes how the Men’s Shed travelled to Denmark, a country with considerably more ‘social engineering’ than in Australia, where Sheds were opened in 2015, via a ‘top-down’ initiative sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Health. Using data from the study of the web pages of the Danish ‘Shed’ organizations, from interviews with the central organizer, and from visits and interviews with participants and local organizers at two Danish Men’s sheds, we describe how the idea of the Men’s Shed on the Australian model was interpreted and translated at central and local levels. Preliminary data indicate that similar positive benefits as in Australia may result, provided that local ownership is emphasized.

  • 82.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Golding, Barry
    Federation University, Australia.
    The Nordic translation of “Men’s Shed”, a gendered model for adult learning2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Research topic/Aim:

    The purpose of this paper is to highlight empirical examples of habilitation effects of an adjusted education for young adults with high-functioning autism. Our paper draws upon findings from a project researched - an IT education called the IT-track  - which is an example of an initiative that has had the intention to help to break the isolation and exclusion in favor of inclusion. The IT-track started in January 2012 and is founded by The European Social Fund (ESF), Region Jönköping, Höglandet’s Coordinating Association and Eksjö Municipality. It targets young people diagnosed with high-functioning autism between 19-30 years old. The IT-track offers upper secondary and university courses in programming, CAD and computer systems, as well as internship experience.

    Theoretical/Methodological framework

    • Supported education
    • Supported employment
    • Sense of coherence

    The study is inspired by ethnographic methodology (Hammersley & Atkinson, 2007), where researchers reside within the environments and situations they want to learn about. Data was collected by way of participant observations, natural conversations, research interviews with students and one focus group interview with the staff (van Manen, 1990). The different data collection methods complemented each other and, taken together, provide a rich description of the students’ experiences of the IT-track.

    Expected findings:

    The context of the present study is focused on (i) the students’ experiences of the IT-track, (ii) the students’ previous school experiences, and (iii) how they relate to their future. The findings involve:

    • Identified adjustments at the IT-track
    • To get structure in everyday life
    • To function better socially with others 
    • Extended horizons of possibility
    • Employment and internship

    Relevance for Nordic adult education and learning research:

    The findings have relevance for Nordic adult education and learning research due to a prior lack of research into Asperger syndrome and education of younger adults. This paper highlights the need for a better understanding of how environments can be adapted in order to be supportive and contributing to learning and habilitation.

  • 83.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Hedegaard, Joel
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Golding, Barry
    Federation University, Australia.
    Why some homogeneous adult learning groups may be necessary for encouraging diversity: A theory of conditional social equality2023In: Australian Journal of Adult Learning, ISSN 1443-1394, Vol. 63, no 2, p. 119-139Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper proposes a new theory of Conditional Social Equality (CSE) which in some ways challenges the theory of cumulative advantage/disadvantage (CAD), which postulates that inequalities and social divisions necessarily increase over time. Using evidence from informal learning groups in Men’s Sheds in three countries, we conclude that some social divisions between homosocial groups, in this case groups of older men, may actually decrease – but only under certain conditions. Male-gendered learning groups that were relatively homogeneous by age helped erase class divisions and softened gender stereotypes. Our theory of conditional social equality (CSE) predicts the following: i) in-group homogeneity can enable the acceptance of some aspects of heterogeneity, ii) some other aspects of in-group heterogeneity may not be tolerated, thus maintaining in-group cohesion, and iii), in-group homogeneity and boundary setting towards out-groups may be prerequisites for the acceptance of (some) aspects of in-group heterogeneity. All of this has important implications for adult learning in both heterogeneous and homogenous groups.

  • 84.
    Ahl, Helene J.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    The Making of the Female Entrepreneur: A Discourse Analysis of Research Texts on Women’s Entrepreneurship2002Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Departing from a social constructionist understanding of gender, this thesis examines how the female entrepreneur is constructed in research articles about women’s entrepreneurship. It finds that even if the texts celebrate women’s entrepreneurship, they do it in such a way as to recreate women’s secondary position in society.

    Building on Foucault’s theory of discourse, the thesis analyzes the discursive practices by which this result was achieved. These practices include certain assumptions that are taken for granted about women, men, business, work, and family. One of these assumptions is that men and women must be different. Despite research results to the contrary, many texts insist that the genders are different and construct three kinds of arguments in support of this. One is making a mountain out of a molehill, i.e. stressing small differences while ignoring similarities. Another is the self-selected woman, which proclaims women entrepreneurs as unusual women. The third is called the good mother and consists of molding an alternative, feminine model of entrepreneurship while leaving the dominant model intact. These arguments reproduce the idea of essential gender differences and the idea of the woman as the weaker sex.

    The discursive practices also include certain ontological and epistemological assumptions, which are questioned in the thesis. In addition, they contain disciplinary regulations as well as writing and publishing practices that reinforce the discourse. The practices and the ensuing research results are moreover dependent on the particular context in which the articles are produced. This means that their results and conclusions cannot be transferred to other contexts uncritically.

    By discussing these practices, the thesis opens the way for alternative ways of theorizing and researching women’s entrepreneurship. Suggestions for alternative research practices include the addition of institutional aspects to the research agenda, such as labor market structure, family policy, and legislation. The thesis also suggests a shift in epistemological position – from gender as something that is given, to gender as something that is produced.

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  • 85.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, S.
    Gendering entrepreneurship: have the sisters done for themselves?2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 86.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, S.
    Postfeminist times: New opportunities or business as usual?2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 87.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    Haydn Green Institution of Enterprise and Innovation, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
    Analysing entrepreneurial activity through a postfeminist perspective: A brave new world or the same old story?2018In: Postfeminism and organization / [ed] P. Lewis, Y. Benschop, & R. Simpson, London: Routledge, 2018, p. 141-159Chapter in book (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    A critical component of the contemporary neoliberal turn has been the rise of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial behaviours (Campbell and Pedersen, 2001). In developed nations, this era has been exemplified by a marked increase in entrepreneurship and new venture creation; entrepreneurial activity has also been integrated into the corporate environment encouraging individualised employee agency to generate innovative problem solving (Dannreuther and Perren, 2012) At a micro-level, we have seen the emergence of the ‘enterprising self’ and society where individuals assume responsibility for their own lives managing social welfare provisions previously provided by the state (du Gay, 1994; Down and Warren, 2008; Ahl and Nelson, 2015). These shifting expectations have been made possible by enabling legislative and institutional changes such as de-regulation, the decline of trade unions, privatisation of state services and liberalised markets (Perren and Dannreuther, 2012). Contemporaneously, the populist cultural promotion of entrepreneurship through various media has positioned it as a desirable career option with increasing status and social worth (Swail, Down, and Kautonen, 2013). 

  • 88.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    University of Leicester, UK.
    Analysing women's entrepreneurship from an institutional perspective2010In: Presented at "The European School of Entrepreneurship" conference, Newcastle University, Newcastle-upon-Thyne, UK, 2010Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 89.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.
    Can sisters do it for themselves? Critiquing the possibilities of entrepreneurship through a postfeminist perspective2017In: 2017 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, AOM 2017, Academy of Management , 2017Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 90.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    Entrepreneurship and the postfeminist turn: Women’s final emancipation or the same old story?2016Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 91.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    University of Nottingham, UK.
    Exploring the dynamics of gender, feminism and entrepreneurship: advancing debate to escape a dead end?2012In: Organization, ISSN 1350-5084, E-ISSN 1461-7323, Vol. 19, no 5, p. 543-562Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contrary to the neo-liberal thesis that entrepreneuring is an open and accessible endeavour where personal effort alone determines reward and status, it has been demonstrated that there is a persistent, but occluded, gender bias within the entrepreneurial discourse. Accordingly, women are positioned as lacking and incomplete men; however, despite calls to employ feminist theory as an analytical frame to demonstrate the reproduction of such subordination, there is scant evidence this has emerged. Within this article, we respond to this call by demonstrating how post structural feminist analysis reveals the gendered assumptions informing entrepreneurship theory that embed prevailing hetero-normative assumptions. These assumptions limit the epistemological scope of contemporary research which positions women as failed or reluctant entrepreneurial subjects; as such, in the absence of feminist theorizing these analyses remain descriptive rather than explanatory. Accordingly, the current entrepreneurial research agenda is in danger of reaching an epistemological dead end in the absence of a reflexive critical perspective to inform the idea of who can be and what might be an entrepreneur. Finally, we draw upon these arguments to reflect upon current approaches to theorizing within the broader field of entrepreneurial enquiry.

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  • 92.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.
    Exploring the false promise of entrepreneurship through a postfeminist critique of the enterprise policy discourse in Sweden and the UK2021In: Human Relations, ISSN 0018-7267, E-ISSN 1741-282X, Vol. 74, no 1, p. 41-68Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Contemporary theories of neoliberalism and entrepreneurship are entwined; both hinge upon the use of agency within free markets to realize individual potential, enhance status and attain material rewards. Postfeminism, as a discrete but related discourse, suggests this context is conducive to encouraging women to draw upon their agency, skills and personal profile to enhance achievements and returns. We draw from these related, but discrete discourses, when critically analysing how postfeminist assumptions shape Swedish and UK government policies aimed at expanding women’s entrepreneurship. Despite differing historical antecedents regarding state engagement with equality and welfare regimes, we illustrate how postfeminist assumptions have infiltrated policy initiatives in both cases. This infiltration has, we suggest, suppressed criticisms that in a context of persistent structural discrimination, lack of welfare benefits and contrived aspirational role models, entrepreneurship constitutes a poor career choice for many women. Consequently, we challenge the value of contemporary policy initiatives encouraging more women to enter entrepreneurship.

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  • 93.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Marlow, Susan
    Birmingham University.
    Recognising the inter-sectionality between feminist theory and entrepreneurship: advancing debate and escaping the dead end2011In: Presented at European Group of Organization Studies, Gothenburgh, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 94.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Nelson, Teresa
    Simmons College, USA.
    Contextualizing women’s entrepreneurship: How discourses on gender, public policy and welfare state regimes position women entrepreneurs2012Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 95.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Nelson, Teresa
    Simmons College, Boston USA.
    How policy positions women entrepreneurs: A comparative analysis of state discourse in Sweden and the United States2015In: Journal of Business Venturing, ISSN 0883-9026, E-ISSN 1873-2003, Vol. 30, no 2, p. 273-291Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This research compares the positioning of women entrepreneurs through entrepreneurship policy over two decades (1989–2012) in Sweden and the United States. Given Sweden’s uniquely family-friendly welfare state, we could expect different results, yet in both countries we find a legacy of discourse subordinating women’s entrepreneurship to other goals (i.e., economic growth) and a positioning of women as ‘other’, reinforcing a dialogue of women’s inadequacy or extraordinariness without taking full account of the conditions shaping women’s work experience. From this analysis we derive a conceptual schematic of assumptions presented through the discourse, aligning and distinguishing the U.S. and Swedish approaches

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  • 96.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Nelson, Teresa
    Simmons College, USA.
    Moving forward: Institutional perspectives on gender and entrepreneurship2010In: International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, ISSN 1756-6266, E-ISSN 1756-6274, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 5-9Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to propose a re‐directed and purposeful attention to the design of research on gender and entrepreneurship moving forward.

    Design/methodology/approach – The paper questions the value of more studies on the men v. women binary and encourages research on the institutions supporting the gendered construction.

    Findings – The paper suggests a re‐framing of gender (to include men, women, femininity, masculinity, etc.) both in topics investigated and in building the cadre of scholars engaged. It asks for discrimination of gender from biological sex in language use and believes that dialogue will be improved if the word “gender” is maintained as a socially constructed phenomenon directed at distinguishing the norms around “what women do” and “what men do”. Researchers, too, must necessarily confront personal pre‐existing ideas and language shaped by the norms and habits of one's upbringing and daily life in societies that are not acute observers of gender in action.

    Originality/value – The paper assesses trends in research on gender and entrepreneurship and recommends ideas regarding new directions to create better research and application in practice, teaching, and training.

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    fulltext
  • 97.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Nelson, TeresaSimmons College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
    Special Issue: Institutional perspectives on gender and entrepreneurship2010Collection (editor) (Other academic)
  • 98.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Nelson, Teresa
    Simmons College, USA.
    The case for an instituional perspective on women's entrepreneurship2010Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 99.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Nelson, Teresa
    Simmons College, Boston.
    Welfare Systems and Policies for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Sweden and the United States2011In: Presented at 9th International Triple Helix Conference, Stanford, USA, 2011Conference paper (Refereed)
  • 100.
    Ahl, Helene
    et al.
    Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, Lifelong learning/Encell.
    Samuelsson, E. F
    Företagsnätet Empag: (An evaluation of a networking initiative for women entrepreneurs)1999Report (Other (popular scientific, debate etc.))
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