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The Influence of Contextual Factors on the Entrepreneurial Process: A Multiple-Case Study of Sustainability-oriented and Commercial Entrepreneurship in Central America
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Social entrepreneurship and other new forms such as ecological or sustainable entrepreneurship have emerged as promising new solutions to solve societal problems. Therefore these types of sustainability-oriented entrepreneurship also increasingly attract the interest of researchers, but there is no clear theoretical concept for these emerging research areas yet. As for commercial entrepreneurship, existing research has neglected the influence of contextual factors on the entrepreneurial process. Therefore this topic is not well researched yet and requires an increase in knowledge to keep up with its popularity and potential impact on society.

Therefore the research purpose of this study was to systematically analyse how contextual factors, i.e. political & legal, economic, technological, environmental, social and cultural factors, influence the stages of the entrepreneurial process and if this influence differs for commercial and sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs. To fulfill this purpose a theoretical framework depicting the entrepreneurial process in its context was developed, which incorporates the different types of entrepreneurship based on the value they create.

In order to adequately explore the research purpose our theoretical framework was applied to the context of Central America. In line with our interpretivistic standpoint we followed an inductive approach with a qualitative, comparative research design of an exploratory nature. We collected secondary data about Central America and conducted a multiple-case study in which we collected primary data from 13 interviews with entrepreneurs being active in Central America.

The empirical findings were thoroughly analysed and discussed leading to several interesting results which were used to revise our theoretical framework. Despite a great variety among entrepreneurs we realised that they all undergo the entrepreneurial process and we could therefore successfully apply our theoretical framework. All entrepreneurs are differently influenced by contextual factors in their entrepreneurial process, but disparities are mostly due to the background of the entrepreneurs or the type of venture. Some political and legal, and economic factors have been found to influence commercial and sustainability-oriented entrepreneurs differently, while other economic and social factors rather determine differences between non-profit and for- profit oriented entrepreneurs.

This study contributes to theories regarding the influence of contextual factors and concepts in the field of (sustainability-oriented) entrepreneurship as well as methodologies used in this field. It provides considerable practical contributions to entrepreneurs and recommendations for policy-makers which can lead to valuable societal contributions. Throughout the research ethical issues have been considered and quality criteria applied to ensure the trustworthiness of this research. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 144 p.
Keyword [en]
Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Process, Social Entrepreneurship, Ecological Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Entrepreneurship, Sustainability, Contextual Factor(s), Environment, Central America, Multiple-case Study
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-91047OAI: diva2:733501
Educational program
Master's Programme in Management
Available from: 2014-08-07 Created: 2014-07-09 Last updated: 2014-08-07Bibliographically approved

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