Social capital and co‐leadership in ethnic enterprises in Canada

Sylvie Paré (Department of Urban and Tourism Studies, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Canada)
Teresa V. Menzies (Faculty of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)
Louis Jacques Filion (HEC Montréal Business School, Montréal, Canada)
Gabrielle A. Brenner (HEC Montréal Business School, Montréal, Canada)



To identify the influence of ethnicity and ethnic social capital on entrepreneurial practices such as the co‐direction of a firm, and more particularly on aspects of venture creation, management, and business development.


The research was based on a field survey carried out in the cities of Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver. The authors study the entrepreneurs who had partners in their firms. The sampling technique, known as “snowball sampling,” did not concentrate specifically on firms with co‐leadership structures, but targeted all entrepreneurs in the ethnic groups concerned; the interviewers asked respondents to identify other potential candidates in the same ethnic group. The participation rate was not measured systematically.


Co‐leadership, while fairly common and having a clear impact among Italian entrepreneurs, is not necessarily as popular in the other groups. Cultural features may have an influence here, and the structuring effects of the entrepreneur's social capital are certainly a factor. The findings helped build an emergent conceptual model to show the place of co‐leadership in the creation and development of social capital used in the management of ethnic firms.

Research limitations/implications

Public policy makers must take into account that trust and reciprocity will have an impact on the style of partnership selected. Other qualitative and quantitative data are needed to help understand the various factors and impacts of co‐leadership. Also, examination of the individual and joint inputs and outputs of the partners is an important and timely area of study.

Practical implications

This may have implications in designing public programs to help ethnic entrepreneurs.


This is one of the first studies to examine co‐leadership in the context of ethnic entrepreneurship. With the importance of immigration, this is crucial to understand how to help the success of ethnic businesses and therefore the integration of immigrants in our societies.



Paré, S., Menzies, T.V., Jacques Filion, L. and Brenner, G.A. (2008), "Social capital and co‐leadership in ethnic enterprises in Canada", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 52-72.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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