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Entrepreneurship is the engine that will push the emerging economies forward as the states of the developing world quickly grow to be major economic forces. Yet it is particularly startling that there is virtually no research on the poor in the subsistence economies of the developing world. These economies hold a billion people--one-sixth of the world's population. This 1 billion experience less than $530 per capita annual Gross National Income (GNI) compared to a GNI of $60,000 in Norway and about $44,000 in the United States. However to date, the potential impact of entrepreneurship on the subsistence economy has largely been ignored. often, studies are still answering the "what" question either by testing established theories using emerging economy samples or by describing how an emerging economy entrepreneurship phenomenon differs from a mature economy. There are few studies that go beyond basic comparisons by asking the "why" and "how" questions to advance theory development. It would be insightful if the contextual nature of emerging economies is integrated so that insights on theory can be generated to expand the understanding of emerging economy entrepreneurship
in terms of theory development and extension, researchers employing institutional theory have focused extensively on culture and have largely ignored the impact of other institutions. Typically, researchers have collected data, found differences in a country from what is expected in a mature economy, and then attributed those differences to some cultural dimensions without really understanding what was happening in the institutional environment or elsewhere in the organizations under study. There is a need to contextualize the research in emerging economies. Many recent studies have utilized good theory extensions of existing theory, but the studies are still based on existing theories from the mature Western economies (such as institutional theory and the resource-based view). But there is a need to focus more on the context of emerging economies and develop new theories that will help to shift the management research paradigm.
Emerging economies provide a unique, quasi-experimental setting for testing existing theories. However, too often, emerging economies are treated as a set uniform bloc. Emerging economies may share many similarities, but they also have distinctive characteristics. Each country's history, size, and munificence of their economies differ, as do their economic development paths. There is a need to develop an understanding of these differences and their impacts. However, where there are also similarities that various economies share, these too should be established. Thus, while there is a need for a more in-depth study of individual countries, there is also a need for greater use of multicountry samples that allow an in-depth understanding of issues that impact a wide range of emerging economies. If a researcher is to make composite statements about a region where nations share many similarities, such as Eastern or Central Europe, it seems critical to look at multiple countries in that region. It would be even more critical to look at multiple nations in order for researchers to be able to make statements about all emerging economies.
In building this greater understanding of emerging economies a greater understanding of their differences from mature economies needs to be developed further. The evidence in this special issue is that there is a great difference in many respects between entrepreneurship in emerging and mature economies. But it has been argued by some that there aspects of entrepreneurs in emerging economies and mature economies are less than might be expected. For example, it has been found in examining British, Norwegian, and Polish entrepreneurs that British and Polish entrepreneurs share many characteristics in their values and views of the environment Therefore, there is a need to more fully develop an understanding of the nature and degree of difference between emerging economy entrepreneurship and mature economy entrepreneurship.
There is also the need to understand what the future looks like for such economies. It is argued by some
that the differences between countries and between mature and emerging economies will decline over time as globalization, information technology, and other improved, lower end innovations become widely available to the developing world. Future research should explore this concept to a greater degree. One of the striking conclusions coming from the articles in this special issue is that there is a large variation in the level of economic and institutional development of emerging economies. If these differences are to decline significantly, it will require a major shift in entrepreneurial efforts. To explore whether there is such merging in the future, researchers need to conduct longitudinal studies examining multiple emerging economies in depth.
Finally, there is a need to explore a far richer set of countries than are now in the research. The vast majority of the research to date has focused on China and on states in the former Soviet Union or former communist nations in Eastern Europe. There are a number of other countries that demand examination. That there is in this special issue only a single article on India and Africa and that areas such as Latin America and the Middle East are ignored is not justifiable.
Future research should also look more deeply into the issue of how culturally bounded entrepreneurial behavior is. Entrepreneurial theories today include assumptions such as profit maximization and self-interest maximization. However, this may not be universally true in all emerging economies. The values and motivations in some emerging economies include an emphasis on the welfare of others, maintaining the status quo, maintaining networks and relationships which may change the implications of assumptions an individual on profit maximization and self-interest maximization. Thus, there is a need to look deeper to see how theoretical assumptions made by researchers based on evidence in mature economies need to be altered or deleted as they examine emerging economies.
There is also the need to look deeper to see what the impact of culture is on entrepreneurship. It is known that cultural values and norms, religion, and educational systems shape individual and organizational behavior including entrepreneurship. Emerging economies provide a fascinating testing ground for studying the impact of these items over time. Yet as noted earlier, too often, researchers have argued that any differences found in an emerging economy is due to the culture of that economy. Thus, there is a great need to understand the actual role of culture. Issues such as how culture impacts transactions costs, resources, and cognitive maps of entrepreneurs should be explored.
firms often internationalize to either gain market share or to gain knowledge; which of these two is the principal motivator for entrepreneurial firms or how the two motivations impact each other merits examination. There is also a need to understand the impact of cultural and institutional differences between the country of the entrepreneur and the country where the entrepreneur is doing business. For example, the cultural distance between countries and how that impacts the expansion of entrepreneurial firms should be explored.
Country effects are important, yet often overlooked are the country--firm interaction effects. The interaction effects would include how firms uniquely benefit from going international in that type of country. For example, Middle Eastern entrepreneurs are experiencing some success with investment in the Moslem countries of Southeast Asia such as Malaysia and Indonesia. Similar religious and cultural orientation would appear to provide a variety of benefits apart from standard cost savings or new marketing opportunities that emerge.
A third aspect of examining international dimensions of entrepreneurship in emerging economies is seeking to better understand born global firms from the developing worlds. Born global firms are firms that are international from their very beginning. These firms are not unlike domestic only firms as they must consider all the difficult questions entrepreneurs have about financing, managing, and strategizing within the organization. But the born global firms face a far more complex analysis since the new firms are crossing national borders. By crossing boundaries, the entrepreneurial firm faces constraints but the firm also obtains opportunities to enhance market value based on the strategic deployment of firm resources and assets, as well as intangible assets gained by going international. For firms from emerging economies that are often facing constrained resources, the act of going international would appear to provide unique challenges that need greater understanding.
there is also a need for a more subtle way to analyze how contextual variables differ in emerging economies and to what degree they shape entrepreneurial goals, behaviors, and effectiveness of actions.
Emerging economies are a unique environment that offers the ability to obtain fresh insights to expand theory and our understanding of it by incorporating more contextualized considerations.
It is surprising, but rarely has previous research examined the impact of institutions in shaping entrepreneurial actions in developed economies. If institutions have the explanatory power expected then it would imply that researchers in these developed economies should be including institutions in their research in a manner no different than if they were examining a topic in China or India. As a result, emerging economies can help researchers to develop theory in a way so that they can better understand how to incorporate the theory in mature economies.
It is probable that entrepreneurship will play a critical role in the improvement in these individuals' lives. However, that entrepreneurship may take very different routes from those pursued in other regions of the world.
The entrepreneurs' actions are not only constrained by institutional and cultural forces in their environment they are also enabled, as opportunities are opened for those who can understand and make the most of the local institutional regime These institutional patterns of commercial interaction are readily grasped by successful entrepreneurs, which in turn leads them to form business systems that are distinctive. In this sense, entrepreneurs from emerging economies are embedded in ongoing institutional structures that have an effect on their activities. They can also act to shape their institutional environments.
While it is evident that certain institutional environments tend to give better access to resources needed for entrepreneurship, there are options for entrepreneurs in emerging economies with minimal access to these resources. In emerging economies with undeveloped legal systems, for example, although it takes extra effort, entrepreneurs have been able to work out substitutes for the weaker legal structures and insubstantial capital markets. The challenge for entrepreneurship in emerging economies is for entrepreneurs to continue to work within the system as it were, but also to act as institutional entrepreneurs to encourage financial systems, legal structures, and labor markets that generally facilitate entrepreneurial activities.