Trust as a coopetititive strategy in a global co-ethnic market: Towards an empirically supported theory

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This article aims to push existing theory on immigrant business in a new direction, challenging the present monoethnic, community delimited and static-structuralist approach with a focus on the processes of migrant business owners who simultaneously compete and cooperate with competitors, be it co-ethnic or cross-ethnic; in what are characterised as ‘coopetitive' environments. This coopetitive environment has led to interaction, learning and innovation within the context of multicultural communities and business activities, combined with an understanding of the ways such units are embedded in contemporary processes of globalisation rather than living locally isolated "lives of their own". Trust, identification based trust, bounded solidarity and enforceable trust seem to be some of the empirically supported catalysts that on one hand act as an initiating factor and on the other hand, as a prohibitive factor; respectively enabling or hindering entrepreneurial migrants to achieve success in their ventures.

In order to support this theoretical perspective the article presents some empirical evidence form Denmark on immigrant businesses, combining longitudinal registry data with survey data. These quantitative data add to the puzzle, but would doubtless benefit from further qualitative studies which could provide more detailed and precise information on the processes of globalisation, co-opetitiveness, interaction, networking, learning and innovation which takes place every day in multiethnic communities and associated business networks, particularly in inner city districts. The choice of Denmark and the Copenhagen area as the study field is appropriate for two reasons: (1) statistical data are, because of reliable statistical registration procedures and the unique personal number system, more detailed and advanced than in most other countries; and (2) Denmark is no exceptional case but rather an average European case in that the share of foreign born is neither exceptionally high or low and in that immigrant business activities over the past four decades have moved from an insignificant level to a more advanced stage, just as in most other European countries in this period.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Business and Globalisation
Udgave nummer3
Sider (fra-til)265-302
Antal sider38
StatusUdgivet - 11 aug. 2011


  • Globalisation Trust
  • Coopetitive Environment
  • Ethnic Business
  • Bounded Solidarity
  • Longitudinal Registry and Survey Data

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