To Be or Not to Be an Ethnic Firm: Identity Strategies in Mitigating Liability for Foreignness for Immigrant Owned Organizations

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Kwesiga, Eileen
Juma, Norma
Sardeshmukh, Shruti R.
Das, Diya
Washburn University. School of Business
Kaw Valley Bank
Issue Date
February 2010
Alternative Title
Identity related problems for immigrant entrepreneurial firms have remained an understudied area within the literature of organization studies. In this paper we develop a theoretical framework that draws upon concepts of liability of foreignness and social identity theory to explain how immigrant firms negotiate their foreign identities. Following recent studies in social identity theory (Brickson, 2007; Roberts, 2005), we suggest that immigrant organizations choose identity strategies (individual or collectivistic orientation) to confirm or negate their national identities in order to survive in their immediate environment. We also suggest that country image, networks and time are possible moderators of firm identity and organizational mortality.