Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
Abstracts > Abstract Details JDE

Abstract Details

Doing Business in the Torres Straits: A Study of the Relationship Between Culture and the Nature of Indigenous Entrepreneurs
Vol. Volume 12, Number 2 June/2007

Darren Lee-Ross and Benjamin Mitchell

This qualitative study focuses on the relationship between culture and entrepreneurship in the Torres Strait Islands. Similar to other countries with a low per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) aggregate evidence suggests that entrepreneurial activity is commonplace among the indigenous community. Closer investigation revealed this is particularly so for a form known as ‘marginal’ entrepreneurship. Using Hofstede’s (1994) model of cultural dimensions linked to key Western entrepreneurial traits, a sample of 61 Torres Straits’ entrepreneurs showed sizable perceptual trait differences compared with Western theory. This has implications on the received current wisdom regarding typical values and characteristics of entrepreneurs. It would appear that cultural differences exist between the entrepreneurs of the Torres Straits and others. The implications of this finding have a potentially significant impact on policy and the level and types of investment funds made available for enabling entrepreneurship in the Torres Straits.