This study explored experiences of women who left tech companies and started their own businesses or became self-employed. The study identified trends in their experiences working for tech companies, factors influencing the decision to leave, and factors influencing the decision to pursue entrepreneurship or self-employment. Fifteen women were interviewed. Working for tech companies, women enjoyed opportunities to advance but experienced limitations to that advancement. They liked their co-workers and felt proud of the work being done, but were impacted by poor leadership, being one of few women, and not having potential recognized. Women quit for primarily individual reasons. Organization dysfunction, unfair events, and the presence of better alternatives impacted the decision as well. Women chose entrepreneurship for primarily personal reasons including entrepreneurial drive and a desire for autonomy. Financial security was found to be an influence for many women in the decision to take the risk of pursuing their venture.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (MA) -- Organization Development; Women in technology; Businesswomen; High technology industries

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graziadio Business School



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Chesley, Julie;