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Understanding entrepreneurial resilience development within institutional constraints: a case of Ghana.

Abebrese, Armstrong


Armstrong Abebrese


Alistair R. Anderson

Robert Smith


This thesis contributes towards understanding the dynamic phenomenon of entrepreneurship by exploring how entrepreneurs developed resilience within institutional constraints at the lived experience level. This is a qualitative research based on several assumptions of the phenomenological paradigm. The research describes the experiences of thirty-four participants - twenty-three practising entrepreneurs, and eleven Directors whose institutions support entrepreneurship, particularly the dimensions of the institutional profile, as well as how they developed resilience within institutional constraints. The study proposes that entrepreneurial resilience development is dynamic reflecting the context in which it arises. Institutions determine the rule of the game for entrepreneurs, in that entrepreneurs fit within the limitations provided by the institutional framework (North, 1990). The institutions shape opportunity fields for entrepreneurship, determine the ease and transaction cost of entrepreneurship, determine the stability and certainty of the environment, guide the strategic activities of entrepreneurs, confer legitimacy on entrepreneurs, (re)allocate entrepreneurship, and counter market failures for entrepreneurs. The experiences of the individuals indicate such constraint limits what the entrepreneurs are capable of doing. The research therefore focuses on how the entrepreneurs survived within such constraints, especially operating within underdeveloped institutions. In particular, the participants described how they were able to survive within such institutional constraints. The term 'resilience' can sometimes be trivialized to mean 'ego-resilience', which basically talks about certain characteristics that individuals' exhibit to show their resilience. Instead, apart from individuals exhibiting certain characteristics, there are several contextual activities that must be put in place to ensure survival or recovery within institutional constraints. These activities represent the resilience strategies that the entrepreneurs designed and implemented so as to survive institutional constraints - breakthrough, circumvent, destructive, and other strategies. The study concludes that entrepreneurial resilience strategy occupies a central role within three complex, interactive and interdependent processes - institutions, entrepreneurship, and resilience. Furthermore, entrepreneurship is engulfed in institutions, which act as the "determinant", "promoter", and "inhibitor" of entrepreneurial activities. Hence, entrepreneurs need to develop resilience through preventative, reactive or agility strategies, so as to be able to survive the institutional arrangements. The research therefore works towards a more integrated perspective of entrepreneurship development.


ABEBRESE, A. 2015. Understanding entrepreneurial resilience development within institutional constraints: a case of Ghana. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jun 29, 2015
Publicly Available Date Jun 29, 2015
Keywords Entrepreneurship in Ghana; Phenomenology; Resilience strategies; Institutional constraints; Husserl Heidegger
Public URL
Award Date Apr 30, 2015


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