Exploring the entrepreneurial mindset in the context of managing adversities within the german ecosystem : the impact of cultural values on entrepreneurial behavior

Entrepreneurship has always been essential to the economic growth of any country. An entrepreneur is the main human player in entrepreneurship. The success of any entrepreneurial endeavor is determined by the entrepreneur’s intrinsic drivers, decisions, behaviors and personality. A relevant attribute in this retrospect can be the “national culture impact on entrepreneurial behaviors” – and this is the topic of the cumulative dissertation at hand. Cultural values and practices play an important role in shaping human’s intentions, decisions and behaviors. Since entrepreneurs are human too, local or national culture should also influence their behaviors in one way or another. In the last six years, the research community started to pay increasing attention to the topic of how culture impacts entrepreneurial behaviors in different phases of the entrepreneurial journey. The mainstream research findings are not consistent enough and predominantly based on quantitative methods only. The dissertation at hand introduces a qualitative analysis concerning the observed entrepreneurial behaviors in different cities in Germany. The analysis clusters the data provided by the interviewed entrepreneurs into categories that show how cultural values and practices form one of the main drivers of the observed behaviors entrepreneurs demonstrate during the phase of bootstrapping. The included four papers consist of (1) a bibliometric literature review paper that shows where the topic of research stands now in the research trend, in timeline and how its importance is increasing. The paper also shows how this research area is dominated by quantitative methods. (2) The second paper is a methodology paper. It discusses the value of qualitative research methods in understanding and interpreting the entrepreneurial behaviors meaningfully, with an example of how to apply ethnography and the Grounded Theory as qualitative methods in research. It also points out that the field of entrepreneurship has generally been extensively using quantitative research methods, while neglecting the qualitative methods significantly. (3) The third paper addresses the core research topic, where we apply the qualitative methods to the case of Germany, in five different cities, the research data, the data analysis, results generation, validation of the final proposed model, as well as the theoretical and practical implications of the final findings. (4) The last paper provides a set of future suggested solutions on how to change the national culture and create a more entrepreneurial culture via education, policy and through institutions by addressing the limiting beliefs and emotions that compose the national cultural barriers to entrepreneurship. This study uses empirical data collected from the entrepreneurial work environments to examine and understand the effect of entrepreneurial behaviors on the stagnation of entrepreneurship in Germany and how these behaviors are influenced by the national cultural values, practices and characteristics. Using ethnographic research techniques and Grounded Theory method, we observe that the entrepreneurial behaviors -in the context of managing adversities for the first time in the bootstrapping phase- are impacted by the German cultural practices and characteristics: (1) “Do-it-Yourself” culture, (2) perfectionism and (3) social trust issues. This study suggests that these practices reflect the dominance of uncertainty avoidance and risk aversion as cultural values shaping entrepreneurial behavior in Germany. This study describes in detail and analyzes the behaviors of entrepreneurs in their early venturing stage, and contributes to the new area of research that seeks more links between the entrepreneurial behaviors and the cultural values, and how both impact the entrepreneurial growth and success. The dissertation closes with general recommendations for future additional research, and new policy and education directions to create a culture conducive to entrepreneurship that mitigates the negative and destructive behavior of entrepreneurs.



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