Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Multicultural migrant firms: Evidence from Italy

Abstract

Objective: The article aims to show the emergence of a multicultural migrant firm (MMF) model on the market. The empirical analysis of the composition of human capital and economic strategies outlines a new type of migrant firm, which is losing its monocultural character in favour of multicultural heterogeneity. MMFs have reached a large diffusion in migrant entrepreneurship and they play an important role in the processes of integration between actors of different cultures and nationalities. Through three research questions, we investigated how this model differs from the conventional migrant firm one. Firstly, we studied how relevant are family and community ties still. Secondly how much does the propensity for innovation and differentiation of products or services change? And thirdly what is the level of internal diversification that distinguishes MMF from the migrant firm?

Research Design & Methods: We employed a qualitative, interpretative approach to obtain original empirical evidence on the characteris-tics of MMFs. We based our research methodology on 36 semi-structured in-depth face-to-face interviews with MMFs-owners or partners operating in Italy. Next, we analysed the transcripts from the interviews using a manual approach.

Findings: The research highlights, firstly, how much the diffusion of the firms studied derives precisely from the social and professional ties accumulated over time in the host country; relationships built locally, of a mixed ethnic/nationality nature and not coming exclusively from the pre-existent background, limited to one’s geographical origin. In Granovetter’s terminology, ‘weak ties’ gain importance over ‘strong ties.’ Secondly, the article demonstrates how MMFs are associated with processes of innovation and the identification of market spaces for hybrid products and services. Thirdly, we found that well far from being homogeneous, as the dominant monoethnic model claims, there is a variety of MMFs.

Implications & Recommendations: Because MMFs are highly heterogeneous in terms of economic objectives and values pursued, institutional support has to be as varied and differentiated as the set of target companies. Moreover, policies designed for MMFs must consider adequate consultancy tools (i.e. specific mentoring programmes and projects) regarding managerial practices, strategic decisions, and the planning of workforce training.

Contribution & Value Added: The article contributes to the current debate on the relationship between migration and entrepreneurship highlighting the importance and specificity of MMFs, which is a relevant under-researched segment of migrant entrepreneurship. Our work shows how the boundaries between native and immigrant entrepreneurship are much more blurred than the literature claims.

Keywords

immigrant entrepreneurship, multiculturalism, cosmopolitanism, migration, break-out strategy

(PDF) Save

References

  1. Aldrich, H., & Waldinger, R. (1990). Ethnicity and entrepreneurship. Annual Review of Sociology, 16, 111-35. https://doi:org//10.1146/annurev.so.16.080190.000551
  2. Aliaga-Isla, R., & Rialp, A. (2013). Systematic review of immigrant entrepreneurship literature: previous findings and ways forward. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 25(9-10), 819-844. https://doi:org//10.1080/08985626.2013.845694
  3. Ambrosini, M. (2011). Sociologia delle migrazioni. Bologna, Il Mulino.
  4. Appadurai A. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimension of Globalization. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota Press.
  5. Arrighetti, A., Bolzani, D., & Lasagni, A. (2012). Imprese etniche: competenze, strategie e mercati. Working Paper Dipartimento di Economia, Università di Parma, EP08.
  6. Arrighetti, A., Bolzani, D., & Lasagni, A. (2014). Beyond the Enclave? Break-outs into Mainstream Markets & Mul-ticultural Hybridism in Ethnic Firms. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 26(9-10), 753-777. https://doi:org//10.1080/08985626.2014.992374
  7. Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120.
  8. Bates, T. (1997). Financing small business creation: the case of Chinese and Korean immigrant entrepreneurs. Journal of Business Venturing, 12(2), 109-124. https://doi:org//10.1016/S0883-9026(96)00054-7
  9. Basu, A., & Goswami, A. (1999). Determinants of South Asian entrepreneurial growth in Britain: a multivariate analysis. Small Business Economics, 13(1), 57-70. https://doi:org//10.1023/A:1008025628570
  10. Basu, A. (2011). From ‘break out’ to ‘breakthrough’: successful market strategies of immigrant entrepreneurs in the UK. International Journal of Entrepreneurship, 14 (1), 59-81.
  11. Bonacich, E. (1973). A theory of Middleman Minorities. American Sociological Review, 38(5), 583-594. https://doi:org//10.2307/2094409
  12. Bonacich, E. (1993). The Other Side of Ethnic Entrepreneurship: Dialogue with Waldinger. International Migra-tion Review, 27(3), 685-692. https://doi:org//10.1177/019791839302700324
  13. Bolzani, D. (2020). The Role of Firm-level Resources for Migrant Entrepreneurs: New Research Suggestions from Management Theories. In Migrant Entrepreneurship (pp. 55-70). Emerald Publishing Limited.
  14. Brett, J., Behfar, K., & Kern, M.C. (2011). Managing multicultural teams. In M. L. Di Domenico, S. Vangen, N. Win-chester, D. K. Boojihawon, & J. Mordaunt (Ed.), Organizational collaboration: themes and issues (pp. 155-164), London: Routledge.
  15. Brzozowski, J., Cucculelli, M., & Surdej, A. (2014). Transnational ties and performance of immigrant entrepre-neurs: the role of home-country conditions. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 26(7-8), 546-573.
  16. Canello, J. (2016). Migrant entrepreneurs and local networks in industrial districts. Research Policy, 45(10), 1953-1964. https://doi:org//10.1016/j.respol.2016.05.006
  17. Chaganti, R.R.S., Watts, A.D., Chaganti, R., & Zimmerman‐Treichel, M. (2008). Ethnic- immigrants in founding teams: Effects on prospector strategy and performance in new Internet ventures. Journal of Business Ven-turing, 23, 113-139. https://doi:org//10.1016/j.jbusvent.2006.07.004
  18. Clark, K., & Drinkwater, S. (2000). Pushed out or pulled in? Self-employment among ethnic minorities in England and Wales. Labour Economics, 7, 603-628. https://doi:org//10.1016/S0927-5371(00)00015-4
  19. Clark, K., Drinkwater, S., & Robinson, C., (2015). Self-employment amongst migrant groups in England and Wales: new evidence from Census Microdata. Institute for the Study of Labor, Discussion Paper No. 9539.
  20. Cox Jr, T. (1991). The multicultural organization. Academy of Management Perspectives, 5(2), 34-47. https://doi:org//10.5465/ame.1991.4274675
  21. Cox Jr, T. (1994). Cultural diversity in organizations: Theory, research and practice. Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
  22. Dabić, M., Vlačić, B., Paul, J., Dana, L.P., Sahasranamam, S., & Glinka, B. (2020). Immigrant entrepreneurship: A review and research agenda. Journal of Business Research, 113, 25-38. https://doi:org//10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.03.013
  23. Deakins, D., & Scott, J.M. (2021). Entrepreneurship: a contemporary and global approach. London: Sage Publica-tions.
  24. Dheer, R.J. (2018). Entrepreneurship by immigrants: a review of existing literature and directions for future research. International Entrepreneurship & Management Journal, 14(3), 555-614. https://doi:org//10.1007/s11365-018-0506-7
  25. Earley, C.P., & Mosakowski, E. (2000). Creating hybrid team cultures: An empirical test of transnational team functioning. Academy of Management Journal, 43(1), 26-49. https://doi:org//10.2307/1556384
  26. Edwards, P., Ram, M., Jones, T., & Doldor, S. (2016). New migrant businesses and their workers: developing, but not transforming, the ethnic economy. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 39(9), 1587-1617. https://doi:org//10.1080/01419870.2015.1116702
  27. Engelen, E. (2001). ‘Breaking in’ and ‘breaking out’: A Weberian approach to entrepreneurial opportunities. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 27(2), 203-223. https://doi:org//10.1080/13691830020041570
  28. Glinkowska, B. (2016). Managing Teams in the Multicultural Organizations. Journal of Intercultural Management, 8(2), 55-69. https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=727623
  29. Granovetter, M. (1973). The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology, 78, 1360-80. https://doi:org//10.1086/225469
  30. Haq, M., Johanson M., Davies, J., Ng, W., & Dana, L. (2023). Bourdieusian and resource-based perspectives on ethnic minority microbusinesses: The construction of a culture-induced entrepreneurship model. Journal of Small Business Management, https://doi:org//10.1080/00472778.2023.2192760
  31. International Organization for Migration. (2020). Merging Competencies, Valuing Diversity: The Multicultural Enterprise as an Emerging Model. Le Grand-Saconnex: International Organization for Migration (full text Re-trieved from https://publications.iom.int/books/merging‐competencies‐valuing‐diversity‐multicultural‐enterpriseemerging‐model) on April 2, 2023.
  32. Jenkins, R. (1984). Divisions over the international division of labour. Capital & Class, 22, 28-57. https://doi:org//10.1177/030981688402200103
  33. Jones, T., Barrett, G. & McEvoy, D. (2000). Market potential as a decisive influence on the performance of ethnic minority business, in: J. Rath and R. Kloosterman (Eds) Immigrant Business: The Economic, Political and Social Environment (pp. 3-53). London: Macmillan.
  34. Kloosterman, R. (2000). Immigrant entrepreneurship and the institutional context: A theoretical exploration, in Immigrant Businesses. In J. Rath (Ed.) The Economic, Political & Social Environment. Macmillan, Basingstoke: 90-106.
  35. Kloosterman, R. C. (2010). Matching opportunities with resources: A framework for analysing (migrant) entre-preneurship from a mixed embeddedness perspective. Entrepreneurship & Regional Development, 22(1), 25-45. https://doi:org//10.1080/08985620903220488
  36. Kloosterman, R. C., K. Rusinovic, & Yeboah, D. (2016). Super-diverse migrants—similar trajectories? Ghanaian entrepreneurship in the Netherlands seen from a Mixed Embeddedness perspective. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 42(6), 913-932. https://doi:org//10.1080/1369183X.2015.1126091
  37. Kushnirovich, N. (2015). Economic integration of immigrant entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurial Business and Eco-nomics Review, 3(3), 9-27. https://www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=305119.
  38. Lazear, E. P. (1999). Culture and language. Journal of Political Economy, 107(6), 95-126. https://doi:org//10.1086/250105
  39. Leung, M.W.H. (2001). Get IT Going: New Ethnic Chinese Business. The Case of Taiwanese-owned Computer Firms in Hamburg. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 27(2), 277-294. https://doi:org//10.1080/13691830020041615
  40. Levent, B. T., E. Masurel, & P. Nijkamp. (2003). Diversity in Entrepreneurship: Ethnic and Female Roles in Urban Economic Life. International Journal of Social Economics, 30(11), 1131-1161. https://doi.org/10.1108/03068290310497495
  41. Li, P. S. (1997). Self-employment and its economic return for visible minorities in Canada. New Approaches to Employee Management, 2, 181-199.
  42. Light, I. (1979). Disadvantaged minorities in self-employment. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 20, 31-55.
  43. Light I. (1984). Immigrant and ethnic enterprise in North America. Ethnic & Racial Studies, 17,195-216. https://doi:org//10.1080/01419870.1984.9993441
  44. Light I., G. Sabagh, Bozorgmehr, M., & Der-Martirosian, C. (1994). Beyond the ethnic enclave economy. Social Problems, 41(1), 65-80.
  45. Marra, C. (2011). Esperienze di imprenditori migranti in Emilia-Romagna. Mondi Migranti, 2, 125-139.
  46. Malerba, R. C., & Ferreira, J. J. (2020). Immigrant entrepreneurship and strategy: a systematic literature review. Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship, 33(2), 183-217. https://doi:org//10.1080/08276331.2020.1804714
  47. Maher, C., Hadfield, M., Hutchings, M., & Eyto, A. (2018). Ensuring Rigor in Qualitative Data Analysis: A Design Research Approach to Coding Combining NVivo with Traditional Material Methods. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 17, 1-13. https://doi:org//10.1177/1609406918786362
  48. Masurel, E., P. Nijkamp, M. Tastan, & Vindigni, G. (2002). Motivations and Performance Conditions for Ethnic Entrepreneurship. Growth & Change, 33(2), 238-260. https://doi:org//10.1111/0017-4815.00189
  49. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Sage.
  50. Mushaben, J. M. (2006). Thinking globally, integrating locally: Gender, entrepreneurship & urban citizenship in Germany. Citizenship Studies, 10(2), 203-227.
  51. Nathan, M., & Lee, N. (2013). Cultural Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Firm‐level Evidence from London. Economic Geography, 89(4), 367-394. https://doi:org//10.1111/ecge.12016
  52. Ndofor, H.A., & Priem, P. (2011). Immigrant Entrepreneurs, the Ethnic Enclave Strategy, and Venture Perfor-mance. Journal of Management, 37(3), 790-818. https://doi:org//10.1177/0149206309345020
  53. Nee, V., Sanders, J., & Sernau, S., (1994). Job transitions in an immigrant metropolis: ethnic boundaries and the mixed economy. American Sociological Review, 59(6), 849872. https://doi:org//10.2307/2096372
  54. Pécoud, A. (2004a). Entrepreneurship and identity, cosmopolitanism and cultural competencies among German-Turkish businesspeople in Berlin. Journal of Ethnic & Migration Studies, 30(1), 3-20.
  55. Pécoud, A. (2004b). Do immigrants have a business culture? The political epistemology of fieldwork in Berlin’s Turkish economy. Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Europe, 4(2), 19-25.
  56. Pécoud, A. (2010) What is ethnic in an ethnic economy?. International Review of Sociology, 20(1), 59-76, DOI: 10.1080/0390670090352567
  57. Piore, M. J. (1979). Migrant labor and industrial societies. Cambridge Unversity Press.
  58. Portes, A., W. Haller, & Guarnizo, L. (2002). Transnational entrepreneurs, an alternative form of immigrant eco-nomic adaptation. American Sociological Review, 67(2), 278-298. https://doi.org/10.2307/3088896
  59. Reiche, B. S., Tenzer, H., & Harzing, A. W. (2018). International human resource management. International Hu-man Resource Management, 1-640.
  60. Rinaldi, R., Arrighetti, A., Lasagni, A., & Canello, J. (2023). Immigrant entrepreneurship in Europe: a comparative empirical approach, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, Kiel, Hamburg.
  61. Rusinovic, K. (2007). Moving Between Markets? Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Different Markets. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 14(6),440-454. https://doi:org//10.1108/13552550810910997
  62. Rusinovic, K. (2008). Transnational Embeddedness, Transnational Activities and Networks among First- and Sec-ond-Generation Immigrant Entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. Journal of Ethnic and migration Studies, 34(3), 431-451.
  63. Saxenian, A. (2002). Transnational communities and the evolution of global production networks, The cases of Taiwan, China and India. Industry and Innovation, 9(3), 183-202. https://doi:org//10.1080/1366271022000034453
  64. Sequeira, J. M., & Rasheed, A. A. (2006). Start-up and growth of immigrant small businesses: The impact of social and human capital. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 11(04), 357-375. https://doi:org//10.1142/S1084946706000490
  65. Shinnie, X., T. Domboka, & Carey, C. (2019). From Ethnic Exceptionalism to Multicultural Hybridism, Rethink Eth-nic Culture in Migrant Entrepreneurship. In BAM 2019 Conference Proceedings, BAM British Academy of Management.
  66. Shore, L. M., Randel, A. E., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., Holcombe Ehrhart, K., & Singh, G. (2011). Inclusion and di-versity in work groups: A review and model for future research. Journal of management, 37(4), 1262-1289. https://doi:org//10.1177/0149206310385943
  67. Sinkovics, N., & Reuber, A. R. (2021). Beyond disciplinary silos, A systematic analysis of the migrant entrepre-neurship literature. Journal of World Business, 56(4), 101-223. https://doi:org//10.1016/j.jwb.2021.101223
  68. Tsukashima, R. (1991). Cultural Endowment, Disadvantaged Status and Economic Niche, The Development of an Ethnic Trade. International Migration Review, 25(2), 333-354. https://doi:org//10.1177/019791839102500204
  69. Unioncamere Emilia-Romagna. (2019). Imprese attive straniere, retrieved from https://www.ucer.camcom.it/studi-e-statistica/bd/registro/imprese-attive-straniere on January 20th, 2020.
  70. Vershinina, N. & Rodionova, Y. (2011). Methodological issues in studying hidden populations operating in infor-mal economy. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 31(11/12), 697-716. https://doi:org//10.1108/01443331111177887
  71. Vershinina, N., P. Rodgers, M. Xheneti, J. Brzozowski, & P. Lassalle, (Eds.) (2021). Global Migration, Entrepreneur-ship and Society. Emerald Group Publishing.
  72. Wadhwa, V., A. Saxenian, B. Rissing, & Gereffi, G. (2008). Skilled immigration and economic growth. Applied Re-search in Economic Development, 5(1), 6-14.
  73. Waldinger, R. (2000). The Economic Theory of Ethnic Conflict, A Critique and Reformulation. In Immigrant Busi-ness, The Economic, Political and Social Environment (pp. 124-141), edited by J. Rath. Basingstoke, Macmil-lan.
  74. Waldinger, R., H. Aldrich, & Ward, R. (1990). Ethnic Entrepreneurship, Immigrant Business in industrial Societies. London: Sage.
  75. Wang, Y., & Warn, J. (2019). Break-out strategies of Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in Australia. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 25(2), 217-242. https://doi:org//10.1108/IJEBR-03-2017-0108
  76. Wernerfelt, B. (1984). A resource‐based view of the firm. Strategic Management Journal, 5(2), 171-180. https://doi:org//10.1002/smj.4250050207
  77. Wilson, K. L., Portes, A. (1980). Immigrant enclaves: an analysis of the labor market experiences of Cubans in Miami. The American Journal of Sociology, 862, 295-319. https://doi:org//10.1086/227240
  78. Yuniarto, P. (2015). Culture, Structure, and Co-Ethnic Relations of Indonesians Migrant Entrepreneurship in Tai-wan. Asia-Pacific Social Science Review, 15(2); 56-74.
  79. Xu, K., J. Drennan, & Mathews, S. (2019). Immigrant entrepreneurs and their cross-cultural capabilities, A study of Chinese immigrant entrepreneurs in Australia. Journal of International Entrepreneurship, 17(4), 520-557. https://doi:org//10.1007/s10843-019-00261-4
  80. Zhou, M. (2014). Revisiting Ethnic Entrepreneurship, Convergencies, Controversies, and Conceptual Advance-ments. International Migration Review, 38(3), 1040-1074. https://doi:org//10.1111/j.1747-7379.2004.tb00228.x
  81. Zolin R., Chang A., Yang X., & Ho E.Y.H. (2015) Social capital or ethnic enclave location? A multilevel explanation of immigrant business growth. Thunderbird International Business Review, 58(5), 453-463. https://doi:org//10.1002/tie.21754
  82. Zubair, M., & Brzozowski, J. (2018). Entrepreneurs from recent migrant communities and their business sustain-ability. Sociologica, 12(2), 57-72. https://doi:org//10.6092/ISSN.1971-8853/8622

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Similar Articles

<< < 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 > >> 

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.