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Bank loan officers' perceptions of business owners: the role of gender

Wilson, Fiona and Carter, Sara and Tagg, Stephen and Shaw, Eleanor and Lam, Wing (2007) Bank loan officers' perceptions of business owners: the role of gender. British Journal of Management, 18 (2). pp. 154-171. ISSN 1045-3172

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There is a widely held belief that banks may be discriminating against female business owners. This study was designed to explore the perceptions held by bank loan officers of male and female business owners, using Bourdieu's theory of practice and Kelly's personal construct methodology. The research literature might lead to an expectation that the characteristics of the business owners would be relatively homogenous but that men and women business owners would be construed differently (for example women might be seen to lack drive). However, the results demonstrate heterogeneity in the constructs held by bank loan officers, and a particular concern with the character of the business owner. Significant gender differences were observed in only 20 of the 325 constructs elicited from 35 bank loan officers. Female bank loan officers were as likely as male bank loan officers to draw gender distinctions between business owners. Detailed multivariate analyses confirmed no evidence of systematic gender differences in the constructs held by bank loan officers of business owners.