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Title: Mimetic processes in entrepreneurship ecosystems : the cases of mobile technology entrepreneurship networks in Nairobi, Kathmandu and London
Author: Andjelkovic, Maja
ISNI:       0000 0004 6060 5677
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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This qualitative study of networks of entrepreneurs in the mobile technology industry in three ecosystems - Kathmandu, Nairobi and London - examines perceptions and attitudes of entrepreneurs related to their networking activities. The focus is on understanding the entrepreneurs' motivations for, and benefits and risks of networking, as well as the overall trends of development of the three ecosystems, which are very different from each other in terms of socioeconomic circumstances. The findings provide new insights into the link between the concept of a community of supportive peers and the acquisition of subjective resources, such as self-efficacy and legitimacy, while also supporting conclusions of earlier empirical and theoretical work linking networks with the acquisition of resources necessary for founding and building a new firm. A comparison of results across the three ecosystems uncovers a strong tendency towards institutional convergence of the three ecosystems based on a model inspired by the Silicon Valley experience. The mechanisms through which this is found to occur are mimesis and storytelling, motivated primarily by learning goals and the pursuit of legitimacy for entrepreneurial action in the mobile technology industry, as well as for the individual ventures. The overall finding emerging from the cases is that, despite significant differences, the three ecosystems are reliant on a shared pool of relevant information and knowledge, via the Internet and through personal and organizational connections. They resemble one another not only in terms of resources sought by entrepreneurs through their networks, but also in the ways entrepreneurs signal their purpose and value to their community, and in the way the describe their environment - through references to other entrepreneurship ecosystems. In the absence of an existing theoretical approach to analyzing convergence of diverse entrepreneurship ecosystems, the study proposes a framework based on DiMaggio and Powell's theory of institutional isomorphism, and integrating the works of Wiewel and Hunter, on legitimacy-building by association through networks, and Djelic, on the process of cross-national transfer, or export, of economic models. The type of isomorphism perceived is termed "aspirational," since it is found to occur in the context of pursuing a specific outcome previously achieved by the application of a particular institutional model. The difference between "aspirational isomorphism" and behaviours described by DiMaggio and Powell lies in the interpretation and adaptation of a model that can then be embedded in a nascent institutional environment (in this case, an entrepreneurial ecosystem). Rather than pure mimesis, aspirational isomorphism is a flexible and creative endeavor.
Supervisor: Meyer, Eric T. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Business networks ; Mobile computing--Social aspects ; Entrepreneurship--Technological innovations ; Mobile apps ; Cross-platform software development--Economic aspects