The influence of contexts on entrepreneurial practices : a qualitative study

  • Tobias Pret

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


While it has long been recognised that access to various resources facilitates entrepreneurial processes, little is known about the influence of diverse contexts on the capital accumulation practices of entrepreneurs. Based on the lived experiences of 10 craft entrepreneurs, this thesis seeks to advance knowledge by developing a theory of practice which explains how embeddedness in multiple contexts affects entrepreneurs' resource management practices. Specifically, this study focuses on the effects of embeddedness in households and communities on the capital conversion and sharing practices of craft entrepreneurs. In doing so, it enhances understanding of entrepreneurs' social, spatial and temporal contexts. First, this study reveals a range of hitherto unidentified conversion processes, many of which involve the accumulation of multiple forms of capital, highlighting the complex nature of capital transformations. It also identifies a range of inhibitors and facilitators of these processes, which can be conversion-specific and can derive from household and community embeddedness. Second, the findings show that household members help entrepreneurs not only by providing free resources, but also by developing their psychological capital through boosting self-efficacy, hope, optimism and resilience. Such emotional support is found to be particularly helpful in times of anxiety and stress and reliant upon household members' understanding of the entrepreneur. However, this study also demonstrates that household members' needs, problems and opinions can inhibit entrepreneurial practices, calling attention to the multifaceted relationship between business and family. Third, the data show the significant impact of embeddedness in communities upon entrepreneurs' actions. Participants are found to employ strategic actions to meet the expectations of community members and to conceal non-conforming traits and behaviours. Furthermore, it is revealed that community norms can lead entrepreneurs to share their various resources and engage in social entrepreneurial practices. Throughout, entrepreneurs' embeddedness within and negotiation between these social and spatial contexts is shown to be dependent upon their temporal contexts, further attesting to the considerable impacts of contexts upon entrepreneurs.
Date of Award4 Aug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorEleanor Shaw (Supervisor) & Sara Carter (Supervisor)

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