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Working for Jessica or Michael? How Gender Stereotyping Affects Job Application Intentions at Technology Startups

This study focuses on a critical—yet under-examined—strategic challenge facing most start-ups: talent acquisition. Applying a gender-sensitive lens on this topic, we put forward and test theory regarding the greater human capital attraction challenges that female entrepreneurs in male-dominated technology industries are likely to encounter relative to their male counterparts. The results of a randomized online experiment completed by 777 US job seekers offer clear evidence of this gender-based hurdle, suggesting that this differential partly stems from biased gender-stereotypical perceptions of a female technology founder’s competence, agency, and warmth, which contribute to less favorable assessments of her venture’s economic viability and potential for employee empowerment. We also provide evidence that female technology entrepreneurs can attenuate such gender biases by job recruits by assembling gender-balanced top management teams.



Speaker Bio

Dr. Vartuhi Tonoyan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at Craig School of Business, California State University, Fresno, US ( She examines research questions at the intersection between gender, entrepreneurship, and innovation as well as entrepreneurship and innovation in emerging markets. Vartuhi is a recipient of multiple research awards, both as a researcher (e.g., Kauffman Foundation Best Paper Award from the DIANA International Research Conference) and reviewer (e.g., Journal of Business Venturing’s Best Reviewer Award). She serves on the Editorial Board of the Journal Business Venturing and International Small Business Journal. She has published in Administrative Science Quarterly, Journal of Business Venturing, Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship. She received a Diploma of Economics (with distinction) from the Yerevan State University of National Economy, Armenia, and a Ph.D. in management (with distinction) from the University of Mannheim, Germany. She has held a one-year visiting postdoctoral position at the Graduate School of Business of Stanford University, was on the faculty of the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology, and held visiting scholar positions at Alberta Business School of the University of Alberta, Canada. She speaks and writes fluently in Armenian, Russian, German, and English.


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