From breaking-ice to breaking-out: Integration as an opportunity creation process

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper conducts an inductive case study to understand how the opportunity creation process leads to integration. It examines four cases of immigrant entrepreneurs of Cameroonian, Lebanese, Mexican and Assyrian origins who founded their businesses in Sweden. The study relies on process-oriented theory building and develops an inductive model of integration as an opportunity creation process. The model identifies entrepreneurial ‘breaking’ actions occurring in the integration process. This entails that immigrants act when they are socially excluded and discriminated in the labour market by developing business ideas and becoming entrepreneurs. By practicing the new language and accommodating native customers’ preferences, immigrants then reorient their entrepreneurial ideas. Finally, the immigrants tailor their ideas to suit their new customers by strengthening their sense of belonging to the local community. The suggested model shows immigrants’ acculturation into the host society via three successive phases: breaking-ice, breaking-in and breaking-out. In the breaking-ice phase, immigrants trigger entrepreneurial ideas to overcome the disadvantages that they face as immigrants in the host country. In the breaking-in phase, immigrants articulate their entrepreneurial ideas by bonding with the ethnic community. In the breaking-out phase, the immigrants reorient their entrepreneurial ideas by desegregating them locally. The paper concludes by elaborating theoretical and practical implications of the research.


External organisations
  • Jönköping International Business School
  • Immigrant Institute
  • University of the West of England
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Business Administration


  • entrepreneurial opportunity, opportunity creation process, acculturation theory, integration process, Sweden, immigrants, breaking-in, breaking-out, breaking-ice
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research
Early online date2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019
Publication categoryResearch