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Entrepreneurship and Religion

Entrepreneurship and Religion

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This rich and detailed book makes a very timely contribution to extending our understanding of entrepreneurship in its social context. Using selected examples, the respected contributors show how the values developed in religious beliefs and practices shape entrepreneurship.

Chapter 11: Collective Entrepreneurship in a Mennonite Community in Paraguay

Léo-Paul Dana and Teresa E. Dana

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship


* Léo-Paul Dana and Teresa E. Dana1 INTRODUCTION Does enterprise develop the same way amongst all peoples? The convergent perspective was asserted by Farmer and Richman, ‘As the general similarity of men everywhere is recognized, and as managerial and technological necessity presses all types of culture toward a common road, nations everywhere become more similar’ (1965, p. 400). In contrast, advocates of the divergent position include Hofstede (1980) and Laurent (1983). Subsequently, Huntington (1993; 1996) showed that globalization has neither standardized societies, nor produced a homogeneous world culture. This paper will support the divergent perspective, demonstrating that the nature of collective entrepreneurship among the Mennonites is unlike entrepreneurship in mainstream society. Farmer and Richman wrote, ‘Prevailing religious beliefs and cultural values, in conjunction with parental behavior, child-rearing practices, and the formal system of education in a particular country, usually have a direct and very significant bearing on the dominant view toward work and achievement’ (1965, pp. 156–7). This chapter will examine the impact of prevailing religious beliefs on the dominant view toward work and achievement. The focus of this chapter is the Menno Colony of the Chaco, one of the Mennonite communities in Paraguay. It will be illustrated that the values of this religious minority appear to facilitate successful collective entrepreneurship. The Mennonites have prospered here and their activities have created jobs for indigenous people who come from distant places to work for the Mennonites. 249 250 Entrepreneurship and religion MENNONITES Renshaw described the Mennonites as ‘members of a...

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