The Opportunity Not Taken: Institutional and Cognitive Barriers to Entrepreneurial Innovation in Contexts of Resource Scarcity
Slade Shantz, Angelique Fiona
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Entrepreneurship is increasingly heralded as a solution to poverty, and many organizations and governments have begun to pursue market-based approaches to poverty alleviation through programs like microfinance and entrepreneurship training. Despite some exceptions, the results of such efforts have largely generated imitative opportunities, whereby individuals use the money and training they receive to replicate existing businesses within their community, rather than becoming able to recognize a broader range of opportunities for innovation and growth, and would-be entrepreneurs are often little better off than before. Whereas prior work has predominantly explored human/financial capital and formal institutional barriers to innovative entrepreneurship, this dissertation, through a series of three studies, using multiple theoretical lenses and methodologies, aims to identify and understand other potential impediments to innovative entrepreneurship in contexts of poverty, focusing on informal institutional and cognitive barriers. My studies all aim to provide both theoretical and practical insights around the following broad research question: What are the (informal) institutional and cognitive barriers to entrepreneurial innovation in contexts of resource scarcity, and how might they be addressed?