Growth The Missing Ingredient of Immigrant Entrepreneurship

Research output: ThesisLicentiate Thesis

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This thesis muses the question; how do we understand firm growth in immigrant owned firms? Two literature streams are proposed to be relevant. Firstly, the
immigrant entrepreneurship field, which is developing and becoming increasingly
sophisticated. Though despite appeals from within the field, that we need a wider
span of concepts to explain the changing heterogeneity and fabric of immigrant
entrepreneurship in 2015, an understanding of firm growth in immigrant firms is
conspicuous in its relative absence from the field. This conspicuousness is amplified
by a recent flurry of interest in the mainstream media, who are quick to point to the
standout examples and success stories of firm growth by immigrant firms. Immigrant
entrepreneurs are no longer confined to low-value and competitively saturated
activities, ethno-cultural niches and arduous survival orientations. Though, we can
find immigrant entrepreneurs growing their firms in the whole spectrum of
industries. The immigrant entrepreneurship research field has a hard time explaining
this progressive trend. Extant literature has tended to present a skewed image of
immigrant entrepreneurship; one explanation for this is that the field is theoretically
ill suited and has lacked the conceptual precursors to grasp the phenomenon of firm
growth in immigrant firms. The second relevant stream of research is that of
‘mainstream’ firm growth, which is undoubtedly valuable in explaining firm growth
in general. However, it is understood to be unsympathetic to the nuances and
specificity of immigrant entrepreneurship, which remains infused with ethno-cultural
characteristics and circumscribed by negative structural impediments, including
discrimination and racism. Thus, merely casting a blanket of previous ‘mainstream’
growth research over a population of immigrant entrepreneurs is an inadequate
approach. It is proposed, given these limitations that these streams of literature need
to be considered together. This thesis builds an integrated approach to understand
firm growth in immigrant firms, which is steeped in the firm growth literature, but
remains sensitive to the specificity of immigrant entrepreneurship. A number of
research propositions are made and discussed, the culmination of which is a suggested research agenda for firm growth in immigrant owned firms.
Original languageEnglish
  • Landström, Hans, Supervisor
  • Schölin, Tobias, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Business Administration


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