International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship
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International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson

The comprehensive and thoroughly accessible International Handbook of Research on Indigenous Entrepreneurship aims to develop a multidisciplinary theory explaining entrepreneurship as a function of cultural perceptions of opportunity. The Handbook presents a multitude of fascinating, superbly illustrated studies on the facets of entrepreneurship amongst indigenous peoples.
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Chapter 48: A Multidisciplinary Theory of Entrepreneurship as a Function of Cultural Perceptions of Opportunity

Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson


Léo-Paul Dana and Robert B. Anderson Introduction Why do individuals from some nations have a greater propensity to engage in different forms of entrepreneurship than do others who have unlike values? It appears that any given situation may present itself as an opportunity, or not, based on culturally influenced interpretation. Helander argued that ‘the time is ripe for a new paradigm when looking at the issues of Indigenous people’ (1999, pp. 26–7). Indeed it is. The leading scholars who contributed to this Edward Elgar reference book discuss the contemporary economic activities of Indigenous peoples from a variety of perspectives, including anthropology, business, development, education, entrepreneurship, ethnic studies, geography, management, sociology and subsistence. We could have assigned categories of analysis prior to data collection; instead, we wished to avoid imposing classifications in advance. Taking an emic approach, we opted to seek units of conceptualisation by analysing the experiences of the people studied. Let us take a moment for some inductive analysis, to identify patterns of themes that emerge from the data described in the preceding chapters. Observations and patterns There is rich heterogeneity among Indigenous peoples; their respective values are far from identical. Even within one Indigenous people there can be significant differences, as explained, for example, by Ruotsala’s chapter in this volume. Some people are Dionysian, with emphasis on being. Others are Promethean, with emphasis on doing. Benedict wrote, ‘Like most of the American Indians, except those of the Southwest pueblos, the tribes...

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