World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship
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World Encyclopedia of Entrepreneurship

Edited by Léo-Paul Dana

This comprehensive reference work, written by some of the most eminent academics in the field, contains entries on numerous aspects of entrepreneurship.
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Chapter 28: Indigenous Entrepreneurship as a Function of Cultural Perceptions of Opportunity

Léo-Paul Dana and Robert Brent Anderson


Léo-Paul Dana and Robert Brent 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: 26–27). Indeed, it is. The leading scholars who contributed to Dana and Anderson (2007) discussed 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. The editors 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 conceptualization by analysing the experiences of the people studied. Let us consider some inductive analysis, to identify patterns, themes that emerge from the data described in the collection. OBSERVATIONS AND PATTERNS 1 Heterogeneity among Indigenous Peoples 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 Helena Ruotsola’s chapter in Dana and Anderson (2007). 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 of the Northwest...

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