Advertisement

Informal Refugee Entrepreneurship: Narratives of Economic Empowerment

Chapter

Abstract

Jordan hosts a total of 1.4 million Syrian refugees. This exploratory, qualitative study presents the narratives of five Syrian refugees engaged in informal entrepreneurship in Jordan. It aims to provide a better understanding of their motives and the challenges they faced as they tried to create home-based business in a patriarchal and conservative context. Purposeful sampling was employed to recruit participants. A semi structured interview guide was used to interview the refugees. Content analysis was used to identify recurring themes present in the data and amongst refugee narratives. Refugee motivations were a combination of push and pull factors whereas, finding start-up capital, hostility from locals and work-life balance were cited as the major challenges faced. The study highlights how entrepreneurship can be used as a means of survival and economic empowerment under dire circumstances. It also draws attention to how these types of activities may help relieve the economic burden of host communities.

Keywords

Informal entrepreneurship Women entrepreneurs Refugee entrepreneurship Syrian refugees Middle East 

References

  1. Adom, K. (2014). Beyond the marginalization thesis: An examination of the motivations of informal entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa. Insights from Ghana Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 15(2), 113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Al-Dajani, H., & Marlow, S. (2010). Impact of women’s home-based enterprise on family dynamics: Evidence from Jordan. International Small Business Journal, 28(5), 470–486.  https://doi.org/10.1177/0266242610370392CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Arrighetti, A., Caricati, L., Landini, F., & Monacelli, N. (2016). Entrepreneurial intention in the time of crisis: A field study. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 22(6), 835–859.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ascher, J. (2012). Female entrepreneurship- an appropriate response to gender discrimination. Journal of Entrepreneurship, Management and Innovation, 4, 97–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barcucci, V., & Mryyan, N. (2014). Labour market transitions of young women and men in Jordan. Geneva: International Labour Organisation.Google Scholar
  6. Bartel, C. A., & Garud, R. (2009). The role of narratives in sustaining organizational innovation. Organization Science, 20(1), 107–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bastian, B. L., Sidani, Y. M., & El Amine, Y. (2018). Women entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa: A review of knowledge areas and research gaps. Gender in Management: An International Journal, 33(1), 14–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baughn, C., Chua, L. B., & Neupert, K. (2006). The normative context for women’s participation in entrepreneurship: A multi-country study. Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice, 30(5), 687–708.Google Scholar
  9. Bertulfo, L. (2011). Women and the informal sector. AusAid Office of Development Effectiveness, Australian Government.Google Scholar
  10. Bizri, R. M. (2017). Refugee-entrepreneurship: A social capital perspective. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 29(9–10), 847–868.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boden, R. J., & Nucci, A. R. (2000). On the survival prospects of men’s and women’s new business ventures. Journal of Business Venturing, 15(4), 347–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brill, L. (2011). Women’s participation in the informal economy: What we can learn from Oxfam’s work? Manchester: Oxfam.Google Scholar
  13. Bullough, A., & Renko, M. (2013). Entrepreneurial resilience during challenging times. Business Horizons, 56(3), 343–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carrion, D. (2015). Syrian refugees in Jordan: Confronting difficult truths. Middle East and North Africa Programme. London: Chatham House.Google Scholar
  15. Collins, J., & Low, A. (2010). Asian female immigrant entrepreneurs in small and medium-sized businesses in Australia. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 21(1), 97–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cortes, K. (2001). Are refugees different from economic immigrants? Some empirical evidence on the heterogeneity of immigrant groups in the United States (Working Paper 4). Berkeley: University of California, Center for Labor Economics.Google Scholar
  17. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research method: Choosing among five approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  18. Dana, L. P. (2009). Religion as an exploratory variable for entrepreneurship. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 1092, 87–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dana, L.-P., & Dana, T. E. (2005). Expanding the scope of methodologies used in entrepreneurship research. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 2(1), 79–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. De Vita, L., Mari, M., & Pogessi, S. (2014). Women entrepreneurs in and from developing countries: Evidences from the literature. European Management Journal, 32(3), 451–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Down, S., & Reveley, J. (2004). Generational encounters and social formation of entrepreneurial self-identity-‘young guns’ and ‘old farts’. Organization, 11(2), 233–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Down, S., & Warren, L. (2008). Constructing narratives of enterprise: Clichés and entrepreneurial self-identity. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 14(1), 2–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Eisenhardt, K. M., & Graebner, M. E. (2007). Theory building from cases: Opportunities and challenges. Academy of Management Journal, 50(1), 25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Elliot, J. (2005). Using narrative in social research. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. El-Rahmony, S. (2002). Women in the Arab world: From role conflict to effective participation, Al-Mustaqbal Al-Arabi (Arab future) (pp. 93–107). Beirut: Centre for Arab Unity Studies.Google Scholar
  26. Essers, C., & Benschop, Y. (2009). Muslim businesswomen doing boundary work: The negotiation of Islam, gender and ethnicity within entrepreneurial contexts. Human Relations, 62(3), 403–423.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fielden, S. L., & Davidson, M. J. (2005). International handbook of women and small business entrepreneurship. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Franck, A. K. (2012). Factors motivating women’s informal micro-entrepreneurship: Experiences from Penang, Malaysia. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 4(1), 65–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Guest, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, L. (2006). How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Methods, 18(1), 12–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hodges, N., Watchravesringkan, K., Yurchisin, J., Karpova, E., Marcketti, S., Hegland, J., et al. (2015). Women and apparel entrepreneurship. International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, 7(2), 191–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hughes, K. D. (2003). Pushed or pulled: Women’s entry into self-employment and small business ownership. Gender, Work and Organization, 10(4), 433–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. ILO. (2002). Decent work and the informal economy. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  33. Itani, H., Sidani, Y. M., & Baalbaki, I. (2011). United Arab Emirates female entrepreneurs: Motivations and frustrations. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 30(5), 409–424.  https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151111150654CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. JIF. (2018). Syrian refugees in Jordan: A protection overview. The Jordan INGO forum. Accessed April 22, 2018, from https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/JIF-ProtectionBrief-2017-Final.pdf
  35. Johansson, A. W. (2004). Narrating the entrepreneur. International Small Business Journal, 22(3), 273–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. JRP. (2015). Jordanian response plan to the Syrian crisis- An executive summary.Google Scholar
  37. Kachkar, O. A. (2017). Towards the establishment of cash waqf microfinance fund for refugees. ISRA International Journal of Islamic Finance, 9(1), 81–86.Google Scholar
  38. Kasseeah, H., & Tandrayen-Ragoobur, V. (2014). Women in the informal sector in Mauritius: A survival mode. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, 33(8), 750–763.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kelberer, V. (2017). The work permit initiative for Syrian refugees in Jordan: Implications for policy and practice. Boston consortium for Arab region studies. Accessed October 2017, from https://www.bu.edu/ioc/files/2017/02/Work-Permit-Initiative-for-Syrian-Refugees-in-Jordan-1.pdf
  40. Kloosterman, R. C. (2010). Matching opportunities with resources: A framework for analyzing (migrant) entrepreneurship from a mixed embeddedness perspective. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 22(1), 25–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lee, J., & Wang, J. (2017). Developing entrepreneurial resilience: Implications for human resource development. European Journal of Training and Development, 41(6), 519–539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Loscocco, K., & Bird, S. (2012). Gendered paths: Why women lag behind men in small business success. Work and Occupations, 39(2), 183–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ma, Z., Zhao, S., Wang, T., & Lee, Y. (2013). An overview of contemporary ethnic entrepreneurship studies: Themes and relationships. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 19(1), 32–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Madzima-Bosha, T. (2013). The effects of conflict are felt hardest by women and children. Accessed from https://www.peaceinsight.org/blog/2013/05/effects-conflict-women-children/
  45. Maitlis, S. (2012). Narrative analysis. In G. Symon & C. Cassell (Eds.), Qualitative organizational research: Core methods and current challenges (pp. 492–511). London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mehtap, S., Al-Shakhanbeh, R. & Hattar, J. (2015). The entrepreneurial spirit of Syrian refugees in Jordan. Research paper presented at the 60th Annual ICSB World Conference in Dubai, UAE.Google Scholar
  47. Mehtap, S., Pellegrini, M. M., Caputo, A., & Welsh, D. H. B. (2017). Entrepreneurial intentions of young women in the Arab world: Socio-cultural and educational barriers. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, 23(6), 880–902.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pechlaner, H., Dal Bo, G., & Volgger, M. (2012). What makes tourism an attractive industry for new minority entrepreneurs: Results from an exploratory qualitative study. Tourism Review, 67(1), 11–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Ramadani, V. (2015). The woman entrepreneur in Albania: An exploratory study on the motivation, problems and success factors. Journal of Balkan and Near East Studies, 17(2), 204–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Ramadani, V., Gerguri-Rashiti, S., Dana, L. P., & Tasaminova, T. (2013). Women entrepreneurs in the Republic of Macedonia: Waiting for directions. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 19(1), 95–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Ramadani, V., Rexhepi, G., Gërguri-Rashiti, S., Ibraimi, S., & Dana, L. P. (2014). Ethnic entrepreneurship in Macedonia: The case of Albanian entrepreneurs. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 23(3), 313–335.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Ramadani, V., Dana, L. P., Ratten, V., & Tahiri, S. (2015). The context of Islamic entrepreneurship and business: Concept, principles and perspectives. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 15(3), 244–261.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ratten, V. (2014). Encouraging collaborative entrepreneurship in developing countries: The current challenges and a research agenda. Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, 6(3), 298–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Ratten, V. (2016). Female entrepreneurship and the role of customer knowledge development, innovation outcome expectations and culture on intentions to start informal business ventures. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 27(2–3), 262–272.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Refai, D., Haloub, R., & Lever, J. (2018). Contextualizing entrepreneurial identity among Syrian refugees in Jordan: The emergence of a destabilized habitus? The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1465750317750322
  56. Rezaei, S., Goli, M., & Dana, L. P. (2013). Informal opportunity among SMEs: An empirical study of Denmark’s underground economy. Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 19(1), 64–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Rezaei, S., Goli, M., & Dana, L.-P. (2014). Beyond legal entrepreneurship: The case of Austria. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, 21(2), 202–215.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Rought-Brooks, H. (2015). Gaza: The impact of conflict on women. Report published by Norwegian refugee council (NRC). Accessed from https://www.nrc.no/globalassets/pdf/reports/gaza%2D%2D-the-impact-of-conflict-on-women.pdf
  59. Sidani, Y. (2005). Women, work and Islam in Arab societies. Women in Management Review, 20(7), 498–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Snyder, K. A. (2004). Routes to the informal economy in New York’s East Village: Crisis, economics and identity. Sociological Perspectives, 47(2), 215–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Steyaert, C., & Bouwen, R. (1997). Telling stories of entrepreneurship-towards a narrative contextual epistemology for entrepreneurial studies. In E. Donckels & A. Miettineb (Eds.), Entrepreneurship and SME research: On its way to the next millennium (pp. 47–62). Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  62. Stoevska, V. (2012). Employment and gender differences in the informal economy. Geneva: International Labour Office.Google Scholar
  63. UNHCR. (2016).UNHCR global trends: Forced displacement in 2015, Geneva. Accessed February 21, 2017, from www.Unhcr.org/statistics/unhcrstats/576408cd7/unhcr-global-trends-2015.html
  64. UNHCR. (2017a). Figures and a glance: Statistical yearbooks. Accessed August 8, 2017, from http://www.Unchr.Org/Uk/Figures-At-A-Glance.Html
  65. UNHCR. (2017b). Regional response portal for Jordan. Accessed October 2017, from http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php
  66. Valdez, Z. (2002). Ethnic entrepreneurship: Ethnicity and the economy in Enterprise. San Diego, CA: The Centre for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California.Google Scholar
  67. Wauters, B., & Lambrecht, J. (2006). Refugee entrepreneurship in Belgium: Potential and practice. The International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 2(4), 509–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wauters, B., & Lambrecht, J. (2008). Barriers to refugee entrepreneurship in Belgium: Towards an explanatory model. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 34(6), 895–915.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Webb, J. W., Bruton, G. D., Tihanyi, L., & Ireland, R. D. (2012). Research on entrepreneurship in the informal economy: Framing a research agenda. Journal of Business Venturing, 28(5), 598–614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Welsh, D. H. B., Memili, E., Kaciak, E., & Al-Sadoon, A. (2014). Saudi women entrepreneurs: A growing economic segment. Journal of Business Research, 67(5), 758–762.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Williams, C. C. (2007). Entrepreneurs operating in the informal economy: Necessity or opportunity driven? Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 20(3), 309–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Williams, C. C. (2013). Beyond the formal economy: Evaluating the level of employment in informal sector enterprises in global perspective. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 18(4), 1–18.Google Scholar
  73. Williams, C. C., & Horodnic, I. A. (2015). Self-employment, the informal economy and the marginalization thesis: Some evidence from the European Union. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 21(2), 224–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Williams, C. C., & Round, J. (2007). Entrepreneurship and the informal economy: A study of Ukraine’s hidden enterprise culture. Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship, 12(01), 119–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Williams, C. C., & Round, J. (2009). Evaluating informal entrepreneurs’ motives: Some lessons from Moscow. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior and Research, 15(1), 94–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Yin, R. (2004). Case study research: Design and methods (Vol. 5). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  77. Zahra, S. A., & Wright, M. (2011). Entrepreneurship’s next act. Academy of Management Perspectives, 25(4), 67–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University of KuwaitSafatKuwait
  2. 2.Princess Sumaya University for TechnologyAmmanJordan

Personalised recommendations