Author(s): Carson Duan
Five decades of research into immigrant enterprises, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship (IEEE) call for a synthesis of the field to note the theories and matching applications. The paper aims to fill this literature gap in IEEE field by improving and synthesizing existing knowledge and establishing a clear picture for IEEE study. The paper argues that it is important to choose appropriate theories to guide the research design and inquiry procedure, and thus the comprehensive interpretation of the results in this multi- or inter-disciplinary literature of IEEE research. This paper synthesizes traditional and contemporary theories with their application conditions. Authors argue that since IEEE research needs to be conducted with numerous disciplines such as economics, sociology, anthropology, entrepreneurship and business studies, and the chosen theories need to be logically matching the researchers, conceptual frameworks, investigation questions, data collection and analysis methods. The findings contribute to the immigrant business, management and social science researchers, in particular for higher degree research students.
The research follows the procedure of the theory-context-characteristics-methodology literature review; it utilizes a well-accepted process analytical framework that indicates three phases (motivation, strategies and outcomes) in the IEEE process. Drawing on the framework, IEEE is determined by personal and environmental characteristics, including personal traits, socioeconomic, human capital, cultural, institutional, and many other influential dimensions. Therefore, the theory application in IEEE studies must be from multi- or inter-disciplinary perspectives with correct theory approaches.
The IEEE study process can be either objective or subjective with an inductive or deductive approach; with these objectives, researchers are able to select the best matching theories and apply them in to the research. The paper argues that the key to discovering the nature of knowledge in the field is to apply the best match theories for appropriate projects. From the discussions, it is apparent that theories as positions to explain the phenomena significantly impact research projects’ success. Thus, the choice of a theory infers a near certitude about a particular study that comes from a specific combination of researchers, targets and related environmental factors. This relationship is significant because the theoretical implications of theory choice suffuse the research question/s, participants’ choice, data collection implementation and collection processes, and data analysis. It should be noted that theories can be combined in one research project. This paper provides a clear understanding of the different aspects of the commonly used theories and conditions for application. The paper can be a handy reference for all researchers.