Cultures and entrepreneurial competencies:ethnic propensities and performance in Malaysia

Tehseen, Shehnaz and Anderson, Alistair (2020) Cultures and entrepreneurial competencies:ethnic propensities and performance in Malaysia. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 12 (5). pp. 643-666.

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Purpose We examine the extent and types of entrepreneurial competences amongst culturally different ethnic groups in Malaysia. Malaysia offer us a common environment and ecosystem to make comparisons within a single context. Method We surveyed 600 respondents; 200 Chinese Malaysians, 200 Indian Malaysians and 200 Malays and collected data about the types of competencies and about self-reported growth as firm performance. We used PLS-SEM for inferential testing and PLS-MGA to conduct multigroup analysis among the three ethnic groups and found considerable and interesting differences. Findings Our nuanced, fine grained findings showed a distinctive distribution of competencies. We take the analysis further to argue that there is an ethnic disposition to favour and value different competencies. Broadly, Chinese Malaysians have a commercial outlook which contrasts with the Malaysian emphasis on social values such as family. Indian Malaysian competencies are similar to Chinese Malaysians, but with more social value emphasised. This distribution impacts on firm performance with Chinese Malaysian firms faring economically better. However, this economic measure takes no account of social measures which may be an important determinant and motivation for some ethnic groups. Implications Theoretically, it becomes evident that one size does not fit all. In practice, different competencies are prioritised. Hence competencies appear to be culturally shaped. Culture influences what might be seen as very practical dimensions of entrepreneuring. From a practical perspective, those encouraging entrepreneurship should take such differences into account.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies on 4 April 2020, available online:
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Deposited On:
25 Feb 2020 13:45
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:44