A narrative perspective of immigrant entrepreneurial identity: literature review and implications for studies in the post socialist societies

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This article aims to contribute to better understanding of immigrant entrepreneurial identity formation from the perspective of autobiographical narrative analysis. Research on immigrant entrepreneurship identity has been dominated by works of scholars who basically fall into two main steams. The first one deals with such issues as ethnic, female entrepreneurship, and in many cases it reduces immigrant entrepreneurship identity to ethno-cultural phenomenon, which exists outside or at least in the margins of official economy and mainstream society. The second research stream elaborates on rapidly emerging field of transnationalism studies. From the perspective of identity, transnational entrepreneurs are considered as new “nomads” who migrate from one country to another, and they maintain linkages with their former country of origin. The article argues that, in spite of extensive and numerous research studies, little has been said about how individuals identify themselves as immigrant entrepreneurs. The article delivers two main propositions. First, instead of “labelling” immigrant entrepreneurs, such as “ethnic”, “female”, or “transnational”, we should approach identity phenomena from the perspective of opportunity discovery and opportunity realisation. Proposition is based on the assumption that opportunity is the generic theme in entrepreneurial discourse. Second, the article proposes new approach and shows how immigrants construct entrepreneurial identity by narrating opportunity, which lies in the centre of any entrepreneurial story.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
JournalEuropean journal of business and economics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • Immigrants
  • Entrepreneurial identity
  • Narrative analysis

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