Original Research

A framework for understanding the role of culture in entrepreneurship

B. Urban
Acta Commercii | Vol 7, No 1 | a13 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v7i1.13 | © 2007 B. Urban | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 05 December 2007 | Published: 05 December 2007

About the author(s)

B. Urban, Department of Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Purpose: Synthesising research findings on business regulations, culture, self, and entrepreneurship, this article provides a broad overview of the potential patterns of relationships between cultural values, personal and contextual factors, and entrepreneurial outcomes. Theories of entrepreneurship where either environmental or personality variables have been specified as unique predictors of entrepreneurship are investigated to determine whether they capture the complexity of entrepreneurial action that encompasses the interaction of environmental, cognitive, and behavioural variables. Emphasis is also placed on the South African business environment, where business regulations that may enhance or constrain new business activity are analysed.

Design/Methodology/Approach: Building on previous conceptualisations and empirical findings, the article identifies salient antecedents and consequences of venture creation from established literature. A framework is then proposed, building on previous findings to approach the interaction between the multiple interacting influences on entrepreneurship more systematically.

Findings: Principal literature reviews indicate that, despite SA's apparent favourable regulatory environment, low entrepreneurial activity persists, and understanding the interplay between culture, self, context and entrepreneurship remains imperative for policymakers and practitioners. In the proposed model, cultural values affect the perception of an individual resulting in key entrepreneurial outcomes; culture is depicted as a moderator in the relationship between contextual factors (business regulations) and entrepreneurial outcomes, and acts as a catalyst rather than a causal agent of entrepreneurial outcomes. Limitations include lack of any causal inferences, and thus directionality between the variables which are not fully explored or empirical tested.

Implications: Implications for policymakers encouraging entrepreneurship in SA, are that the complexity of factors involved in enhancing or constraining entrepreneurship should be given due consideration, without any one set of variables overshadowing the other factors. Entrepreneurs, educators, and consultants all benefit from a better understanding of how various factors merge into the intent to start a business. Training entrepreneurs to be aware of the multiple influencing factors will raise their level of sophistication and ability to correctly gauge opportunities.

Originality/Value: Since no unified theme exists regarding the relationship between culture / self / context and entrepreneurship, the synthesis of the variables proposed in this framework offers an introductory roadmap to guide future research. Taking the multiplicity of variables and dimensions influencing entrepreneurial activity even further, the article provides crucial insights of how entrepreneurial outcomes are determined in a SA context; such models are essential for real advances in the emerging field of entrepreneurship.


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