Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The embeddedness of e-entrepreneurship : institutional constraints and strategic choice in Latin American digital start-ups
Author: Quinones, Gerardo
ISNI:       0000 0004 6497 5990
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2017
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
The so-called digital economy has been growing exponentially in the emerging economies and it is expected to continue growing around the globe. For this reason, many governments are funding support programmes (e.g. Start-up America in the USA, the UK’s Tech City, and Brazil Startup) to both encourage and facilitate the creation of Digital Start-ups (DSs), defined here as recentlycreated enterprises that produce solely digital products or services. Whilst in some regions there is some evidence that these efforts are starting to pay off, the majority of DSs that have grown to become global digital enterprises remain concentrated in the United States and Europe. In the case of Latin America, the digital economy already accounts for between 2-3.2% of GDP. Nonetheless, most e-commerce transactions occur through platforms based in the United States, with a scarcity of examples of Latin American DSs (LADSs) that have grown to become large digital firms. Despite this, the literature has paid little attention to the relationship that exists between the institutional environment and LADS’s agency. The few extant studies that do exist have focused on either institutional or infrastructure constraints and public policies, or business models and resource analysis. To address this knowledge gap, this research studied LADSs in the four largest Latin American countries (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia), representing three-quarters of the region’s GDP, in order to answer the following questions: How do environmental pressures influence the development of LADSs? How do LADSs respond to these pressures and seize potential business opportunities? The research followed a critical realist philosophical foundation and was operationalised through a qualitative exploratory field study of forty organisations, including DSs, accelerators, investors, government agencies, and not-for-profits. Geel’s (2014) Triple Embeddedness Framework (TEF) was chosen as the theoretical framework to guide this research and integrates constructs from the Lean Start-up method (LSM), which was widely adopted by the LADSs to develop their business models. This study provides empirical support for the constructs outlined in the TEF, identifies crucial shortcomings in LSM, and uncovers new constructs that are necessary to accommodate the DSs’ digital properties, which result in tensions between their embeddedness in the institutional environment, their hybrid embeddedness in a product-sector industry and a digital industry, and their embeddedness in a multi-level organisational field that creates a core-periphery relationship between Latin America and the United States. Therefore, a new framework, entitled DIME, is proposed to assist e-entrepreneurs when developing digital business models to achieve the right firm-environment-fit in Latin America. The findings of this study will also contribute to future research, and to guide policy makers interested in fostering the development of the digital economy in emerging economies.
Supervisor: Nicholson, Brian ; Heeks, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: digital entrepreneurship ; e-entrepreneurship ; digital start-ups ; digital ventures ; Lean Startup ; Triple Embeddedness Framework ; Digital Multiple Embeddedness Framework ; Institutional Theory ; Strategic Choice ; Critical Realism ; Field study ; emerging economies ; Latin America ; digital economy ; developing countries