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Immigrant Entrepreneurs: in Search of Identity



Objective: The purpose of this study is to show identity construction processes of immigrant entrepreneurs and the way these identities are constructed and reconstructed in business and migration experiences. Research Design & Methods: The findings are based on two qualitative research projects on immigrant entrepreneurs: Vietnamese entrepreneurs in Poland and Polish entrepreneurs in the USA. Both studies were based on ethnographic inspiration. Open interviews and observations were used to collect primary data. Findings: The study indicates that identity construction is a process of an interplay of three main elements: being an immigrant, being an entrepreneur, and sense of nationality. This interplay takes place in different, overlapping dimensions: private, social, national and professional, and it takes place in a certain cultural context. Identities of immigrants are constantly constructed and reconstructed in their search for belonging and freedom at the same time. Implications & Recommendations: The results imply that the issue of immigrant entrepreneurship requires open, culturally-oriented and comparative studies. Recommendations for further studies are formulated in the last section of the paper. Contribution & Value Added: The paper provides insight into the processes of migration between different cultural and institutional contexts and their impact on entrepreneurs' identities.


identity, entrepreneurs, immigrant entrepreneurship, immigrant identity, Vietnamese entrepreneurs, Polish entrepreneurs


Author Biography

Beata Glinka

Professor, Director of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and Head of the Department of Organizational Innovations and Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw.

Agnieszka Brzozowska

Received Ph.D. from the Faculty of Management, the University of Warsaw (Poland).


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