Shaking the Minority Box: Conceptualizing the Impact of Context and Social Capital on the Entrepreneurial Activity of Minorities

  • Leo-Paul DanaEmail author
  • Markku Virtanen
  • Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen
Part of the Contributions to Management Science book series (MANAGEMENT SC.)


This chapter advances the theoretical understanding of the links between social capital, minority entrepreneurship, and entrepreneurial context. The main research question is what kind of impact social capital may have on the entrepreneurial activity of an established minority, especially in relation to the identification and development of entrepreneurial opportunities. The Swedish-speaking population of Finland is used as an example to illustrate the analysis. Our analysis suggests that social capital possessed by a minority or diaspora can combine with its embeddedness in regional contexts on one hand, and international contexts on the other, to create preconditions for entrepreneurship that are at least equal to those enjoyed by the majority population, despite potential pitfalls such as the risk of overembeddedness. This potential is especially good when minority members can take on positions as boundary spanners between contexts. The notion that well-integrated, prosperous minorities are an economic asset of regions and nations in terms of the international business linkages they can enable could be highlighted in public discussions on immigration alongside other arguments on immigration, cultural diversity, integration, and public investments into business development. Researchers with an interest in migration and diaspora research should collaborate with economists and accountants to develop appropriate metrics for estimating the generated potential economic value.


Minority entrepreneurship Entrepreneurial opportunities Social capital Context Finland 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leo-Paul Dana
    • 1
    Email author
  • Markku Virtanen
    • 2
  • Wilhelm Barner-Rasmussen
    • 3
  1. 1.Montpellier Business School – Montpellier Research in ManagementMontpellier cedex 4France
  2. 2.Emind OyMikkeliFinland
  3. 3.Åbo Akademi University School of Business and EconomicsTurkuFinland

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