Entrepreneurial Beliefs of Refugees: It’s Not Where They’re From, But Where They Go

Solomon Akele Abebe, Matthias Fink, Robert J. Breitenecker

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


This paper investigates whether structuralist and culturalist approaches to migrant entrepreneurship can explain the early-stage entrepreneurship of recently arrived refugees. Specifically, we empirically test three hypotheses on how refugees’ current geographical location and ethnic origin matter for their entrepreneurial beliefs, which provide the cognitive and affective foundations for entrepreneurial intentions and behaviour. The sample comprises 884 observations collected from working-age refugees from four different ethnic backgrounds recently relocated to four Austrian and seven Swedish cities. We find that the location where refugees resettle in the aftermath of their forced migration is relevant to refugee entrepreneurship, but their country of origin is not. Hence, the arguments made by advocates of structural theory are more applicable to understanding refugee entrepreneurship than arguments associated with cultural theory. We discuss implications for theory, policy and practice, and suggest avenues for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings 2022
EditorsSonja Taneja
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 6

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration

Free keywords

  • Refugee Entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial Beliefs
  • Theory of Planned Behaviour
  • Structural Theory
  • Cultural Theory


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