Date of Award

Summer 8-5-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)

First Advisor

Danny Bellenger

Second Advisor

Lars Mathiassen

Third Advisor

Wesley Johnson


The literature indicates that only a few studies have compared immigrant and non-immigrant entrepreneurs in the United States. The present study addresses this gap by inquiring how these populations perceive drivers of success. I employed an in-depth, multi-case analysis of immigrant and nonimmigrant entrepreneurs operating in the United States. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews. Adaptive comparative causal maps (CCMs), which are qualitative methodological tools, were used to illustrate similarities and differences between the groups.

I identified 155 drivers of success. I ascertained connections, deviations, and causal linkages as well as portrayed overlaps and divergences in the groups’ perspectives regarding the perceptions of success drivers. There were many differences detected between the groups, such as immigrants’ views that being innovative and able to adapt to trends (entrepreneurial orientation (EO)), being dynamic (EO), and able to build a reliable team (business orientation (BO)) influence success. Nonimmigrants perceived that communicating with customers (BO) and the ability to calculate risks (EO) are the factors that affect success. Despite having many differences, both groups regarded BO drivers (e.g., leadership skills, market orientation, and financial capabilities) as the most influential determinants of success. Among EO drivers, the groups indicated that innovative capability exerts the most significant effect on success.

This study contributes to research and practice through its determination of immigrant and nonimmigrant perceptions of EO and BO drivers and their effects on entrepreneurial success. The findings are expected to assist practitioners, scholars, and educators in formulating improved strategies and creating training programs for developing EO and BO factors and, consequently, clear the way for entrepreneurial success.

This is the first qualitative study that utilized the research model that incorporated both EO and BO to observe the separate effects of these orientations on entrepreneurial success, the first study that compares immigrant and nonimmigrant perceptions of drivers of success, and the first in the business and entrepreneurship disciplines to employ and build on the CCM technique. Overall, the research adds to the existing body of knowledge by filling the gap in how the aforementioned method is used, wherein rules and regulations for standard dimensional gauges are lacking.


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