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Nets and Nettles: Two Conceptions of Community for Two Ghanaian Migrant Businesses

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In this paper, I present two distinct approaches to migrant entrepreneurship. I conducted an ethnography of two Ghanaian migrant businesses, one of which draws on the Ghanaian community, and the other which distances itself from it. I show that our current understanding of social capital romanticises the notion of community, and that from the perspective of particular entrepreneurs, the same mechanisms by which social capital provides benefits for businesses can as well lead to detrimental effects. I argue that the nature of community as well as the resources that members have at their disposal, has implications for the particular entrepreneurial strategies that members adopt. There are multiple, sometimes conflicting, tendencies in any particular entrepreneurial context, and I propose that the configuration of factors, like individual and community resources, leads to the dominance of one or other of the various tendencies that constrain entrepreneurial strategy. In this study, two entrepreneurial approaches emerge: community-orientation and market-orientation. I propose the notion of strategiccoethnicity to explain the operation of the two identified entrepreneurial approaches.

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  • 01/03/2019
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  • 13-002
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