The role of institutional and family embeddedness in the failure of Sub-Saharan African migrant family businesses

Dieu Hack-Polay*, Paul Agu Igwe, Nnamdi O. Madichie

*Corresponding author for this work

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There is considerable interest among European politicians and policymakers in how to integrate migrants in the local and national economy. Drawing on in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 owners of Sub-Saharan African migrant family businesses (SSAMBs) in the United Kingdom, this article critically examines why SSAMBs fail or underperform. This investigation draws upon three streams of literature – notably migrant business failure, institutional theory and family embeddedness. The findings highlight the challenges of doing business and the reasons for business failure among this group. These are different from other small businesses and include culture, family interference and ethnicity. The main contribution of the article lies in the development of a conceptual model that highlights the relationships between institutional contexts and migrant family business outcomes. The model proposes that institution and family embeddedness results in the enactment of ethnic behaviours that drive migrant businesses into cultural markets leading to business underperformance or failure.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Early online date9 Mar 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Mar 2020


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