Keeping It in the Family: Exploring Igbo Ethnic Entrepreneurial Behaviour In Nigeria

Igwe, Paul Agu, Newbery, Robert, Amoncar, Nihar , white, Garath R.T. and Madichie, Nnamdi O (2018) Keeping It in the Family: Exploring Igbo Ethnic Entrepreneurial Behaviour In Nigeria. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research . ISSN 1355-2554

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Purpose – This study examines the attributes of the Igbos in Eastern Nigeria and the underlying factors influencing their entrepreneurial behaviour. More specifically, the study highlights the links between family, culture, institution and entrepreneurial behaviour in the African context.

Design/methodology/approach – This article is based on a qualitative research method by interviewing 50 entrepreneurs and community leaders of the Igbo nation. Igbos have been described as ‘naturally enterprising and ingenious’ and can be found throughout Nigeria and West Africa. Understanding the vagaries of ethnic entrepreneurship can arguably only be achieved through research that is undertaken within these socio-historically rich, traditional and cultural contexts.

Findings –Linked to social learning theory, Igbo families provide an entrepreneurial leadership platform which influences youths through role models, providing mastery experiences, and socialization. The extended family provides a safe environment for risk-taking, creativity and innovation. Also, an informal apprenticeship system provides entrepreneurial learning that prepares the younger generation to take to business as a way of life.

Research limitations – The study is based on a relatively small sample size of 50 respondents, which makes it difficult to generalise the findings despite the benefits of the research methods adopted in the study. Also, there are limitations to the extension of the findings to a generalized Igbo population comprising individuals who may, or may not, behave entrepreneurially.

Practical implications – There are significant practical implications, both Nationally and Internationally, for policy-makers that are concerned with developing jobs for the growing population of unemployed youths and inclusive entrepreneurship in Nigeria.

Originality/value – The research has three main contributions. First, it valorizes indigenous knowledge of family and institutional entrepreneurial behaviour in an African context. Second, it highlights the importance of the linked institutions of the extended family and the informal apprenticeship system in Igbo culture. Finally, it provides a model and an explanation of how the Igbo culture nurtures and develops transgenerational entrepreneurial behaviour.

Keywords:Entrepreneurship, Ethnic Groups, Institutional Theory, Family Firms
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N220 Institutional Management
T Eastern, Asiatic, African, American and Australasian Languages, Literature and related subjects > T530 African Society and Culture studies
N Business and Administrative studies > N120 International Business studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
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ID Code:32854
Deposited On:07 Aug 2018 10:52

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