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Article
Publication date: 3 August 2018

Lin Xiong, Irene Ukanwa and Alistair R. Anderson

The purpose of this paper is to develop an understanding of how the institutions of family and culture play out in shaping family business practices. This study focusses…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop an understanding of how the institutions of family and culture play out in shaping family business practices. This study focusses on family business led by poor entrepreneurial women in a context of extreme poverty.

Design/methodology/approach

The methods included participant observation, focus groups and interviews in two poor villages in South-East Nigeria. Thematic analysis was used to develop insight about how the institutions of family and culture shape family business practices.

Findings

The analysis demonstrated that the family, with associated responsibilities and norms, is a powerful institution that determines women’s role and business behaviours. Poor entrepreneurial women depend on the family to run their business, but also use the business to sustain the family. They make use of their limited resources (e.g. time, money, skills) to meet families’ basic needs and pay for necessities such as children’s education. These are family priorities, rather than maximising profits.

Research limitations/implications

The study was limited to rural Africa, in particular to a small sample of rural women entrepreneurs in South-East Nigeria, and as such, the findings are not necessarily generalisable, but may be at a conceptual level.

Practical implications

The study has highlighted the need to tailor micro-enterprise development programmes that facilitate change, add values to entrepreneurial activities and support women to fulfil their roles and ease institutional pressures affecting rural women economic activities. In short, such programmes need to account for cultural institutions.

Social implications

This study presents insights of the influence of institutions (family and culture) in business led by rural Nigerian women.

Originality/value

This research fills a gap in the family business literature by offering conceptual insights about how the institutional obligations of family mean that micro-enterprising should be conceptualised as an entity, rather than as a family in business or the family business.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 March 2017

Johan Gaddefors and Alistair R. Anderson

The purpose of this paper is to explain how context shapes what becomes entrepreneurial.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explain how context shapes what becomes entrepreneurial.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is part of a longitudinal study over ten years, an ethnographic work including interviews, participating in meetings and shadowing. Texts and voices boiled down to transcripts and notes were sorted in NVivo. The empirical material was presented as a simple, short story, with the aim to question established assumptions and relations. The paper propose context as the unit for analysis, instead of entrepreneurs and outcomes. This opened up the scale from a narrow individualism to a much broader appreciation of the entrepreneurship as shaped by social factors.

Findings

The paper provides insights about how context determines entrepreneurship. It is not simply the context in itself, but the things that are going on in the context. What entrepreneurship does is to connect and thus create a raft of changes. The paper suggests that to depart from context as the unit of analysis will avoid the objectification of entrepreneurship and open up for discussing the becoming of entrepreneurship. The case illustrates how entrepreneurship is an event in a flow of changing circumstances. Entrepreneurship is formed from the context itself, rather than being individual or social; entrepreneurship appears simultaneously to be both. Entrepreneurship can and does exist in multiple states regardless of the observer and the observation.

Originality/value

This paper fulfils an identified need to learn more about how entrepreneurship and context interact. It illustrates how context is more engaged in the entrepreneurial process than entrepreneurship theory acknowledges.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 December 2018

Alistair R. Anderson, Sohail Younis, Hina Hashim and Carol Air

The paper investigates an unusual form of social enterprising located in a poor region of Pakistan. The purpose of this paper is to examine a novel form of micro social…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper investigates an unusual form of social enterprising located in a poor region of Pakistan. The purpose of this paper is to examine a novel form of micro social enterprise. Their form and functions are considered, examining how they conform to what is expected of a social enterprise. The extreme cases are analysed to reflect on what constitutes the explanatory characteristics of a social enterprise.

Design/methodology/approach

Information on examples of micro social entrepreneurship was collected from the troubled context of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a very poor region of Pakistan. Using the constant comparison method, explanatory themes of structure and practice are drawn out.

Findings

These enterprising social agents were engaged in opening up an opportunity space for those disadvantaged by the context. Driven by a strong sense of community responsibility, they drew upon limited, but culturally available resources. Relevance, embeddedness and informality were identified as structural characteristics, and bricolage and effectuation, frugality and social responsibility emerged as practices. Not only did context shape what they did and how they did it, but the purpose of these enterprises was also to help reshape context. From this analysis, it is argued that conceptual concerns should be directed towards behaviours; it should be asked how are enterprises agents of social change, and how are they enterprising?

Research limitations/implications

It is argued that a robust indicator for social enterprise is not what they are, but what they do. Consequently, for understanding and theorising, it is suggested that the focus remain on enterprising. This study was limited to unusual cases which may be atypical and ungeneralisable. Nonetheless, the concept – enterprising – may have theoretical applications.

Social implications

In reviewing the analysis and findings, it is noted that the proposals in the paper may comprise the early stages of a theory of social entrepreneurship practice. There may be considerable explanatory power in examining the interplays between the agency of social enterprises and the structures that are constituted in the formal and informal institutions with whom they interact.

Originality/value

Descriptively, the account draws attention to a possibly neglected phenomenon. Moreover, the extreme cases draw out the significance of a localised practice. Conceptually, there may be value in prioritising practice in social enterprise rather than form and structure.

Details

Social Enterprise Journal, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-8614

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2020

Shehnaz Tehseen and Alistair R. Anderson

The purpose of this study is to examine the extent and types of entrepreneurial competences among culturally different ethnic groups in Malaysia. Malaysia offers us a…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the extent and types of entrepreneurial competences among culturally different ethnic groups in Malaysia. Malaysia offers us a similar environment and ecosystem to make comparisons within a single context.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper surveyed 600 respondents – 200 Malaysian Chinese, 200 Malaysian Indians and 200 Malays – and collected data about the types of competencies and about self-reported growth as firm performance. The study used PLS-SEM for inferential testing and PLS-MGA to conduct multigroup analysis among the three ethnic groups and found considerable and interesting differences.

Findings

The results of the nuanced, fine-grained findings showed a distinctive distribution of competencies. This study investigates the analysis further to argue that there is an ethnic disposition to favour and value different competencies. Broadly, Malaysian Chinese have a commercial outlook which contrasts with the Malaysian emphasis on social values such as family. Malaysian Indians’ competencies are similar to Malaysian Chinese’s, but with more social value emphasised. This distribution impacts on firm performance with Malaysian Chinese firms faring economically better. However, this economic measure takes no account of social measures which may be an important determinant and motivation for some ethnic groups.

Research limitations/implications

Theoretically, it becomes evident that one size does not fit all. In practice, different competencies are prioritised. Hence competencies appear to be culturally shaped. Culture influences what might be seen as very practical dimensions of entrepreneuring. From a practical perspective, those encouraging entrepreneurship should take such differences into account.

Originality/value

The study is original in comparing cultural effects on competencies and performance.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, vol. 12 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-4604

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Alistair Anderson and Sébastien Ronteau

The purpose of this paper is to examine the explanatory power of existing theories of entrepreneurship. The authors find gaps and fragmentation and offer propose a…

1276

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the explanatory power of existing theories of entrepreneurship. The authors find gaps and fragmentation and offer propose a different approach – a theory of entrepreneuring – a theory of practice.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a conceptual paper, but the authors draw heavily on the literature. They also offer examples of what the theory can offer.

Findings

Existing theory is good at explaining aspects of entrepreneurship. However, most theories are discipline bound and operate in silos. A theory of entrepreneurship practice can connect and bridge disciplines.

Originality/value

A theory of entrepreneurship as practice will not replace current theories. It will however complement them and thus be well suited to emerging economies.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, vol. 9 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2053-4604

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 13 September 2011

Alistair R. Anderson

The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature and conceptual developments to explore how and why universities should teach entrepreneurship.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the existing literature and conceptual developments to explore how and why universities should teach entrepreneurship.

Design/methodology/approach

This is a theoretical paper which draws on the rich seam of existing literature to develop theory about enterprise education purpose and pedagogy.

Findings

Universities are uniquely able to provide the right sort of education that will produce “better” entrepreneurs. In turn, these better entrepreneurs are better enabled to produce and successfully implement the innovation that drives economic growth.

Practical implications

These are twofold. The paper raises awareness of the importance of the university's role for developing the right sort of entrepreneurship. It also highlights important pedagogic points that will realise the full potential of a university entrepreneurial education.

Originality/value

The paper largely synthesises existing work, but conceptualises and presents the material in a new way.

Details

Journal of Chinese Entrepreneurship, vol. 3 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-1396

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 November 2017

Irene Ukanwa, Lin Xiong and Alistair Anderson

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of why the poorest, most disadvantaged groups such as rural African women, benefit less from microfinance. The authors…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the problem of why the poorest, most disadvantaged groups such as rural African women, benefit less from microfinance. The authors focus on the perception and experiences of ordinary rural entrepreneurial women on microfinance in a context of extreme poverty and where family responsibility and economic activities are closely intertwined.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors purposefully sampled 15 poor females with small businesses in two Nigerian villages. The key characteristic guiding the sampling was that the respondents had to be poor. The authors held two focus groups and ten interviews to capture their experience and understanding of microfinance. The authors used thematic analysis to establish patterns in the data.

Findings

For poor entrepreneurial women, a livelihood for survival, putting food on the table and paying school fees are priorities, not business growth. They see microcredit as debt and a great risk that could lead to irreversible losses. Family responsibilities for basic consumption needs of the household can affect their ability to repay loans; perceived dangers of microcredit may outweigh potential benefits.

Research limitations/implications

The theories, especially functionalist economic theory, do not take account of microfinance users’ experiences.

Practical implications

Microfinance should be aware that the poorest perceive microcredit differently and should eliminate the intimidating barriers raised to them. Instead of providing a means for the poor to alleviate poverty or coping strategies for them to manage cash flows and risks, microfinance causes fear and anxiety by demanding high rate of return in a very short period of time.

Social implications

The very poorest, who should be the beneficiaries of microfinance, are less likely to be able to benefit. The condition of poverty creates different realities for those at the base of the pyramid.

Originality/value

This research questions the neoliberal rationality assumptions that microfinance rest on; the paper fills a gap in the literature, i.e. how the potential borrowers themselves living in deep-rooted poverty perceive and experience microfinance.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 25 May 2012

Alistair R. Anderson, Sarah Drakopoulou Dodd and Sarah L. Jack

The purpose of this paper is to consider why entrepreneurship theorising has become fragmented and how the research problem might be resolved.

6316

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider why entrepreneurship theorising has become fragmented and how the research problem might be resolved.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors first examine how entrepreneurial constructs reflect only part of what we “mean” by the construct to argue that we use different social constructions. This explains why theories are fragmented. But the authors then ask how we might use and reconcile this diversity, pointing to the utility of the constructs as part of a complex whole. The authors discuss entrepreneurship as a complex adaptive system showing how connections and relatedness help explain the power of entrepreneurship to use and adapt to change.

Research implications

The authors' proposition of entrepreneurial endeavours as a complex adaptive system provides a fresh theoretical platform to examine aspects of entrepreneurship and improve theorising.

Practical implications

The authors argue that this idea of connecting can also be used at the level of practice – how the connections that entrepreneurs use may help to explain some of what goes on in entrepreneurial practice.

Originality/value

The paper's contribution is a relatively novel way of connecting diverse theorising.

Article
Publication date: 1 December 1999

Alistair R. Anderson and Andrew McAuley

Explores the relationship between marketing theory and marketing activity within the context of rural entrepreneurship. The key to unlocking our understanding the dynamics…

2322

Abstract

Explores the relationship between marketing theory and marketing activity within the context of rural entrepreneurship. The key to unlocking our understanding the dynamics of this relationship was to use a number of qualitative techniques including participant observation and unstructured interviews. The study revealed two groupings of entrepreneurs – the locals and the cosmopolitans who operated in contrasting marketing landscapes thus questioning the universal application of a marketing theory which is not context specific.

Details

Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-2752

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 11 March 2014

Alistair R. Anderson and Farid Ullah

– The purpose of this paper is to examine and explain why most small firms remain small. A new conceptual framework – the condition of smallness – is proposed.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine and explain why most small firms remain small. A new conceptual framework – the condition of smallness – is proposed.

Design/methodology/approach

A critical examination of the literature about the nature of being a small firm is first conducted. Employing an inductive analysis of responses from a survey of 2,521 small business owners about employment regulation, the nature and effects of smallness is examined.

Findings

It was found that owners' choice making combines with perceptions about their resources to produce a condition of smallness. The condition of smallness is conceptualised as the circularity perceptions, attitudes and consequent practices that reflect lack of knowledge, time and capability. It is argued that this condition of smallness inhibits growth to create a wicked problem that explains why most small firms don't grow.

Research limitations/implications

This work is largely conceptual, albeit the argument is grounded in, and illustrated by, empirical data. The findings may not be generalisable beyond this paper's data sets, but may be generalisable conceptually.

Originality/value

The focus of much scholarly work has been on growth firms. Yet the typical small firm is excluded so that the issues of smallness are often overlooked. This paper, therefore contributes to understanding why small firms don't grow.

Details

Management Decision, vol. 52 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0025-1747

Keywords

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