Digital Ethnicity Affordances In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: From A Liability To An Asset

Evansluong, Quang, Grip, Lena and Karayianni, Eva (2023) Digital Ethnicity Affordances In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: From A Liability To An Asset. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research . ISSN 1355-2554

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Purpose. This paper aims to understand how immigrant entrepreneurs use digital opportunities to overcome the liability of newness and foreignness and how an immigrant’s ethnicity can be digitally performed as an asset in business.

Design. The study adopts an inductive multiple case study approach using social media content. The data consists of over 3,500 posts, images, and screenshots from Facebook, Instagram, and the webpages of seven successful Vietnamese restaurants in Sweden. Grounded content analysis was conducted using NVivo.

Findings. The findings suggest that digitalising ethnic artifacts can mediate and facilitate three digital performances that together can turn ethnicity from a liability to an asset: (i) preserving performance through digital ethnicising, (ii) embracing performance through digital generativitising and (iii) appropriating performance through digital fusionising. The results support the introduction of a conceptual framework depicting the interwoven duality of horizontal and vertical boundary blurring, in which the former takes place between the offline and online spaces of immigrant businesses, and the latter occurs between the home and host country attachment of the immigrant businesses.

Originality. This study responds to calls for understanding how immigrant entrepreneurs can overcome the liability of foreignness. It offers a fresh look at ethnicity, which has been seen in a negative light in the field of immigrant entrepreneurship. This study illuminates that ethnicity can be used as a resource in immigrant entrepreneurship, specifically through the use of digital artifacts and digital platforms.

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