The Institutional Dynamics of Transnational Entrepreneurship: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Alexander EBNER , Social Sciences, Goethe University Frankfurt, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

The phenomenon of transnational entrepreneurship refers to the transnational operations of the start-up enterprises of migrant entrepreneurs. It may be viewed as a complement to the networking dynamics of large transnational companies, thus resembling a ‘globalisation from below’ (Portes). Transnational entrepreneurs combine resource mobilization in their countries of origin and destination, augmented by resources in third countries. The factor movements of labor, capital and knowledge are framed by network relationships that combine local and transnational components in terms of a ‘multiple embeddedness’ (Kloostermann and Rath). Against this background, the question arises in what sense transnational entrepreneurship exhibits strategic qualities regarding the utilisation of socio-cultural resources. This would imply that transnational entrepreneurship gains an institutional logic of its own. Empirical evidence regarding this matter has been gained from empirical research projects that have been carried out in Frankfurt/Rhine-Main during 2011 and 2012, primarily by making use of interviews with entrepreneurial actors. Frankfurt/Rhine-Main is the economically and socially most internationalised region in Germany with a share of migrants in start-up enterprises that is set well above 40% since the mid-2000s. Corresponding transnational segments of business operations involve not only capabilities in mobility, multilingualism and intercultural interaction but increasingly also human capital in terms of professional qualifications. In exploring the multiple dimensions of embeddedness the projects confirm the hypothesis that transnational entrepreneurship goes together with a strategic utilisation of socio-cultural resources and identities.