Startup @ AnyAge: The Paradoxes of Mature-Age Entrepreneurship
Speaker: Carol Kulik (University of South Australia)
Abstract: Older people have a wealth of knowledge and experience that they might bring to entrepreneurial endeavours, but entrepreneurship is usually presented as a young person’s game. We collaborated with a local city council to support mature-age individuals to engage in entrepreneurial activity. Based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour, we anticipated that low perceived self-efficacy and age-related norms would constrain older people’s entrepreneurial intentions and actions. However, we found that mature-age entrepreneurship is characterised by resource, barrier, and ownership paradoxes better understood through a Socioemotional Selectivity Theory lens. Our experience suggests that deriving value from mature-age entrepreneurs will require unique support systems, distinct from those used to develop younger entrepreneurs. Carol’s presentation is simultaneously a cautionary tale for researchers and an inspirational story of mature-age entrepreneurial potential.
Carol T. Kulik is a Bradley Distinguished Professor at the University of South Australia and a senior researcher at UniSA’s Centre for Workplace Excellence. Her research focuses on workplace inclusion and organisational fairness; she helps organisations develop employee-centred practices that address the needs of a diversity workforce. Carol is an elected fellow of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Academy of Management (AOM), and the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. She has served as president of AOM (the first president based outside North America) and as Associate Editor for the Academy of Management Journal and the Journal of Management. Her current projects are investigating strategies to close the gender pay gap, reduce stereotype threat among mature-age workers, and motivate organisations to become front-runners on social issues.