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Ethical Aspects of Research on Ethnic/Immigrant Entrepreneurship
1Nordland Research Institute
Citation Information: Entrepreneurship Research Journal. Volume 1, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 2157-5665, DOI: 10.2202/2157-5665.1017, July 2011
- Published Online:
While numerous empirical studies on entrepreneurship among immigrants and ethnic minorities have been conducted all over the Western world, virtually no attention has been paid to ethical aspects of such studies. The purpose of this paper is to identify ethically ambiguous issues regarding research on ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship, as well as propose methods for addressing such issues. The ethical issues and relevant solutions have been derived from empirical studies on immigrants and ethnic minorities in the fields of medicine, psychology, anthropology, sociology, and marketing, as well as from interviews with five of the leading contributors to the field of ethnic/immigrant entrepreneurship.
The results of this study indicate that research on immigrant and ethnic minority entrepreneurs requires specific methodology that differs from the approaches applied in the mainstream entrepreneurship research. Evidence against ethical universalism has been found in the literature reviewed. The review of the empirical studies revealed a number of potential ethical problems which are important for conducting research on immigrants and ethnic minorities. Lower average levels of education, unfamiliarity with local culture and social context, economic dependency, links to the home country and coethnic community, special legal position, and linguistic disadvantages have been identified as potential sources of ethical ambiguity. Methods for ethical research conduct have been proposed. The need for explicit discussion of the ethical issues in the articles published in international journals has been highlighted.