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Issue Season

Fall

Document Type

Article

Abstract

While considerable attention has been devoted to the personality traits of entrepreneurs, less attention has been given to their values, especially outside of a Western context. Values are instrumental in the decision to pursue entrepreneurship, and have implications for the entrepreneur’s approach to creating and managing the venture. The role of values would seem especially relevant in the context of ethnic subcultures. Values traditionally associated with entrepreneurship, such as risk, individualism, competitiveness, wealth generation, and growth, may be more consistent with Western cultures, and may conflict with closely held values within various ethnic subcultures the world over. This article examines the values of entrepreneurs in two ethnic subcultures within South Africa. Findings are reported from interviews with cross-sectional samples of black and colored entrepreneurs. The results indicate entrepreneurs tend to embrace common values regardless of their individual ethnic heritage, but with different underlying patterns. In addition, the entrepreneurial path itself gives rise to certain shared values; and the overarching country culture has a strong influence on value orientations. Implications are drawn from the results, and suggestions made for ongoing research.

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