Open Access Article

Title: Entrepreneurship bridging ethnic divides

Authors: Ana Kopren; Hans Westlund

Addresses: Faculty of Law, University of Graz, Universitätsstraße 15, 8010 Graz, Austria ' School of Architecture and Built Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Teknikringen 10A, SE 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden; Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, P.O. Box 1026, SE-551 11 Jönköping, Sweden

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to examine the wider societal outcomes of entrepreneurs' networking in ethnically divided post-conflict societies. Using network theory to explain relational dynamics between business, social and personal relationships, we postulate that entrepreneurs' interactions generate connections and paths across ethnically diverse social networks, thus facilitating social relations between ethnic groups. The survey was conducted with 130 entrepreneurs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and North Macedonia. The findings demonstrate that entrepreneurs are driven to increase profit and networks when cooperating with diverse ethnic groups. While spreading their business connections with other ethnic groups, they at the same time form connections between ethnic communities. Entrepreneurs alleviate ethnic cleavages and improve relations between ethnic groups. This article contributes to the recognition of the capacity of economic ties to facilitate cooperative patterns and rebuild impaired ethnic relations in ethnically divided post-conflict societies.

Keywords: entrepreneurs; ethnically divided post-conflict societies; business networks; cross-ethnic paths; social cohesion.

DOI: 10.1504/IJESB.2022.122701

International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2022 Vol.45 No.4, pp.423 - 449

Received: 27 Jan 2021
Accepted: 03 Jul 2021

Published online: 05 May 2022 *