University of Leicester
2019DYEBDSocSci.pdf (4.35 MB)

"What Can I Possibly Achieve As A Necessity-Driven Entrepreneur?" The Impact Of The Cultural Component Of The Entrepreneurial Ecology On Possible Future Entrepreneur Selves

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posted on 2019-11-18, 12:03 authored by Bruce G. Dye
This study focuses on necessity-driven entrepreneurs, seated within the entrepreneurial ecology where culture and individuals intersect. It is responding to the poor understanding of necessity-driven entrepreneurs in extant literature. Specifically, there is not a comprehensive, theoretically informed understanding of necessity-driven entrepreneurs and how entering entrepreneurship from a position of social disadvantage impacts aspirations and behaviors. As such, the study is concerned with how culture impacts entrepreneurial aspirations and resulting entrepreneurial behavior, framed by theories of entrepreneurship, culture, possible future selves, and the entrepreneurial ecology. The study was guided by a general research question that probed the impact of culture on the possible future selves of necessity-driven entrepreneurs. It was supported by specific research questions focused on necessity-driven entrepreneurs’ needs, dreams, fears, and the impact of culture. A systematic, yet flexible, qualitative research process was used, informed by interpretivism and constructivism. Thematic analysis was used to facilitate discovery of propositions that can apply to other similar, necessity-driven entrepreneurs in similar contexts. It was found that the needs necessity-driven entrepreneurs are trying to meet are likely to be non-financial and their entrepreneurial dreams and fears are distinctly social. Their belief that they can achieve their needs through entrepreneurship and their possible future entrepreneur selves are sensitive to signals from culture. It was also found that necessity driven entrepreneurs are likely to interpret signals from culture that are encouraging, discouraging, mixed, and sometimes insulting and derogatory. Discouraging signals negatively impact possible future entrepreneur selves and result in risk averse behavior. Finally, it was found that necessity-driven entrepreneurs' social disadvantage may prompt them to act on long-standing entrepreneurial aspirations. To better understand necessity-driven entrepreneurship, we need to broaden our lens beyond assumptions that it is necessarily a profit-motivated, individual-centric activity and simultaneously consider the role that culture plays, within the context of the entire entrepreneurial ecology.



Martin Quinn; Richard Courtney

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Business

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • DSocSci



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