A qualitative longitudinal analysis of women's enterprise policy and practice in the West Midlands region of England

  • Debra Blisson

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research investigates how women’s activism and organisation influenced strategy and policymaking in the arena of business support over twenty-three years in a region of the UK.The research focuses specifically on the West Midlands region of England, between the periods of 1988 and 2011. The study explores the process of originating an idea and theevolution of that idea into a regional policy debate, implementation and practice.The study explores an area of contemporary theory. Public policy analysis and female entrepreneurship are relatively recent disciplines from the latter part of the twentieth century(Brush et al., 2003; Lasswell, 2018). Women’s enterprise policy research develops and applies theoretical concepts across both disciplines, to address the specific concerns of policy practice for supporting female entrepreneurship across the world.The research adopts a qualitative longitudinal analysis approach to public policy study.Feminist and critical realist frames are applied to documentary data, gathered over the study period in order to develop three case studies. The chronological cases detail the activities of women’s groups advocating for regional strategic interventions in support of women’s enterprise. The Advocacy Coalition Framework approach (Sabatier and Jenkins-Smith,1993) is then applied to the case studies in order to provide analysis of the policy process.This is supplemented with critical realist analysis to provide further perspectives on the research data.The research provides a comprehensive assessment of the policy process over time and illustrates how women organised in order to create policy change, as a form of entrepreneurial feminism (Orser and Elliot, 2015). It contains detailed insight into advocacy coalitions and their operations in the creation and implementation of female entrepreneurship policy and practice in the UK; highlighting the importance of political will and strong coalitions in successful policy practice.
Date of Award2020
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMark Hart (Supervisor), Nicholas Theodorakopoulos (Supervisor) & Monder Ram (Supervisor)


  • female entrepreneurship policy,
  • policy process analysis,
  • advocacy coalition framework,
  • critical realism,
  • entrepreneurial feminism.

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