University of Leicester
2022MilanziGPHD.pdf (15.79 MB)

An Ethnographic Study on Ethnic and Malawian Entrepreneurs Lived Experiences.

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posted on 2022-04-08, 13:51 authored by Gerald D. Milanzi
This thesis examines Ethnic and Malawian entrepreneur’s lived experiences in Mchesi, Malawi using an Ethnographic approach. Underlying this primary purpose, is my observations that general and Ethnic Entrepreneurship theories have emerged from developed economies; as such, a plethora of available general and Ethnic Entrepreneurship literature presents a developed world context understanding of Ethnic Entrepreneurship. Therefore, in using Ethnography, this study draws more widely on explanations of immigrants’ experiences in the micro practices of everyday practises to challenge the leading Ethnic entrepreneurship theoretical understandings and produce more relevant insights, reflective of the heterogeneity of immigrant populations in Malawi, Mchesi. The study involved approximately three months of fieldwork at Mchesi market in the city of Lilongwe in Malawi with twenty-six participants contributing to this study.
The findings and discussions revealed three main themes: Business meanings, capital perspectives and risk and opportunity perspectives. These three main themes reveal a contextualised understanding of Entrepreneurship constructs such as entrepreneurial capital, risk, opportunity and business meanings. Thus, in revealing Mchesi Ethnic and Malawian entrepreneurial perspectives, the findings offer insights into the integral role of contextual factors including adaptation and social-economic aspects as nurtures of entrepreneurial perspectives. However, by accentuating the contextual embedded entrepreneurial perspectives, the findings also challenge other general and Ethnic Entrepreneurship perspectives that offers a one size fits all understanding of Entrepreneurship. Therefore, this thesis contribute knowledge on lived experiences and entrepreneurial perspectives of Mchesi Ethnic and Malawian Entrepreneurs especially considering that In Malawi, there are fewer Ethnographic studies on Malawian and Ethnic Entrepreneurs lived experiences.



Simon Lilley

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Business

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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