Do immigrant entrepreneurs do business with their country of origin? The effect of personality traits, perception of institutions, and network usage

Date created: 
Immigrant Entrepreneurs
Network Ties
Institutional Environment
Immigrant Effect
Country of Origin Connection

This exploratory study seeks to gain a better understanding of immigrant entrepreneurs’ decision to do business with their country of origin (COO) and their level of resource commitment in country of destination, and investigates how these decisions are affected by their personality traits, as defined by the Five Factor Inventory, perception of the institutional profile of COO and country of residence (COR), as well as their utilization of different types of networks. This research has important theoretical and practical implications. First, migrant recipient countries have begun to see the economic contributions that could be made by immigrants and their business activities. Understanding immigrants’ international business activities and the underlying reasons that fuel them will be of great importance to any migrant recipient country. Second, this dissertation sheds some light on the “why” and “how” of immigrants seeking to improve trade and investment between COO and COR. For the purpose of this research a series of interviews with immigrant entrepreneurs was conducted in 2011. Using a qualitative approach, data were analyzed and the results indicate that Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism, and Openness were related to immigrant entrepreneurs’ perception of the institutional profile of COO and/or COR, network utilization, and the choice of a destination country. The positive and negative perception of immigrant entrepreneurs about COO and COR also seemed to affect their decision to do business with a country and their choice of destination country as well as their resource commitment there. Finally, and most importantly, the findings indicated that being essentially an active networker influences immigrant entrepreneurs’ perception of institutions as well as the type of networks they used in their international business activities. In conclusion, this dissertation shows that the personality traits of immigrant entrepreneurs is important in their perception of the institutional profile of COO and COR, network utilization, as well as their international business activities. Perception of the institutional profile of COR and COO as well as immigrant entrepreneurs’ utilization of their networks also plays an essential role in their international business activities. This dissertation puts forth several recommendations for practitioners, policy makers, and future research.

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Senior supervisor: 
Rosalie L. Tung
Business Administration: Faculty of Business Administration
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.