Immigrant Entrepreneurship: Entrepreneurial activities of immigrants from the Far East in Poland

The main objective of the project is to explore and understand entrepreneurial activities undertaken by immigrants from the Far East (China, Vietnam, South Korea, India, Philippines) in Poland.

The project can be described as pioneering as it follows current trends in research, but puts them in a different (Polish) context. The phenomenon of migrations attracts growing attention, and is analyzed from many different perspectives. The Economic aspect of migrations is considered to be one of the crucial factors to understand immigrant groups, their motives and actions. There are numerous studies on migration processes from and to Poland but most of them are not connected with entrepreneurial activities. The small number of immigrants living in Poland (below 1% of the population) may be one of the reasons behind the scantiness of research. But it must be noted that the immigrant communities are growing, and they are more and more diversified as lots of them come from geographically and culturally distant countries. Very often immigrants decide to open their own business ventures. The negligence of this aspect of economic life creates an opportunity to fill the knowledge gap.

For all that reasons, we made entrepreneurship of immigrants from the Far East a central aspect of our project. Far Eastern ethnic groups are quite big (e.g. Vietnamese), integrated and closed to the outsiders. Coping with that challenge was the main rationale for project consortium creation: partners have access to different groups thanks to their previous research and social activities (Institute for Middle and Far Eastern Studies, UJ and Faculty of Management, UW).  It makes the project feasible and will lead to filling the research gap and broadening the knowledge on immigrants.

Project financed by National Science Centre (UMO-2016/21/B/HS4/00767)

We intend to answer the following research questions:

  1. What are the characteristics of entrepreneurial activities of immigrants?
  2. What are the main motives of starting own business ventures and what kind of businesses are created by immigrants?
  3. How immigrant entrepreneurs define their market/customers? When do they choose to operate as an ethnic business, and when they decide to serve local (or international) customers?
  4. What are the main immigrants' approaches to building market position, defining success and development?
  5. What is the role of ethnic community/ethnic networks in business? How immigrant entrepreneurs build relations with local communities?
  6. How immigrant entrepreneurs cope with cultural, institutional, legal and economic differences? What factors shape their intercultural competencies?
  7. What are the differences between first and second generations of immigrants in terms of opportunity recognition, market strategies and building company developmental plans?
  8. What differences can be identified between different groups of Far East immigrants running their businesses in Poland?

In order to ensure the high quality of project the research team decided to combine qualitative (ethnographic) and quantitative methods. We start with 65 interviews with immigrant entrepreneurs (first and second generation) running their businesses in Poland. The results of this qualitative study will enable us to formulate hypotheses and design questionnaire for the quantitative part of research. Thanks to combining different methods we will: 1) obtain in-depth knowledge, 2) be able to compare groups and generations of immigrants + their motives, strategies and intercultural competencies.

As immigration is currently one of the most vivid challenges to European Union, the research project can also have an important economic and societal impact. It will lead to the recognition of patterns leading to entrepreneurial activities of immigrants. It will also allow to find out how entrepreneurial activities help in assimilation processes, and in building ties between immigrants and host societies. As a result, ways of introducing new migrants to Polish society and economy can be defined, and some guidelines for the policy design towards migrations can be derived from the research

Beata Glinka – Head of the research project

Beata Glinka

Beata Glinka – project leader. Beata Glinka is a professor and serves as a Vice – Dean for Research as Liaison at the Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw. She is a head of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Management systems at the same Faculty. Her research interests focus on entrepreneurship, cultural context of entrepreneurship and management and immigrant entrepreneurship (in 2013 she authored a book “Entrepreneurship of Polish immigrants in the USA”, published in Polish, Warsaw: Poltext). She was a visiting scholar and researchers in the USA (Columbia University, George Mason University) and Europe (e.g. Sweden, Hungary).

Adam Jelonek

Prof. Dr. Adam Wacław Jelonek is a Professor and Head of the Institute of Middle and Far East at Jagiellonian University. Rector’s Representative for Internalization. Chair for East and South East Asia at the Institute of the Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University. He specializes in Political Science, Sociology, and Business Administration. His research interests include political anthropology, theories of social development, political systems of East Asia. He is a graduate of the Faculty of Journalism and Political Science at the University of Warsaw. MBA at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Ph.D. in humanities from the Institute of Sociology of the Warsaw University. Habilitation at the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology in 2005. Between 2010 and 2014 Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Poland to Malaysia, Brunei and the Philippines. Later advisor for the armament affairs in the Ministry of National Defense. He was also an underground activist of Federation of Fighting Youth and Confederation of Independent Poland.

Agnieszka Brzozowska

Agnieszka Brzozowska graduated from University of Warsaw with a degree in Psychology, she defended her doctoral thesis at the Faculty of Management and currently is an Assistant Professor at the The Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw.

Her research interests focus on immigrant entrepreneurship, cultural context of entrepreneurial processes and the development of entrepreneurial skills.

Renata Czekalska

Renata Czekalska, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Institute of the Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Deputy Head for General Affairs. Head of the Department of Korea. She specializes in Cultural Studies, with special focus on India and South Asia. Her research interests include cultural heritage of India and South Asia; contemporary Indian literature; modern history of the Indian Subcontinent; contemporary socio-political problems of South Asia; theory and practice of translation from and into South Asian languages; intercultural communication; cultural contacts between South Asia and Europe; reception of European culture in South Asia. Her recent publications include a monograph dedicated to the enriching phenomenon of mutual transfer of intrinsic values in symbolic cultures. Currently she is preparing a study on India traces in Korean culture.

Michał Lubina

Michał Lubina PhD, is Asssistant Professor at the Institue of the Middle and Far East, Jagiellonian University in Krakow. He specializes in Social Sciences and Political Science. His research interests include: contemporary Burma/Myanmar and Russia-China relations. He is the author of pioneer works on Burma/Myanmar in Polish (e.g. the first history of Burma/Myanmar in Poland and the only biography of Aung San Suu Kyi) as well as the first book on on contemporary Russian-Chinese relations (The Bear in the Shadow of the Dragon). Between 06.2016 – 04.2017 he served as the first Director of Sejong Institute in Krakow. Currently he is the coordinator of Southeast Asian Studies and co-founder and contributor to “Puls Azji” online magazine.

Julita Majczyk

Julita Majczyk is Assistant Professor at the University of Warsaw. She holds a PhD in Economic Science from the University of Warsaw (Poland). She received a Master’s Degree in International Economics from the Jagiellonian University (Poland), and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Economics & Enterprise from the University of the West of Scotland Business School (UK). Her research interests include entrepreneurial bahaviours, styles of governance, leadership and team motivation. She is the European Group for Organizational Studies (EGOS) member.

Małgorzata Osińska

Malgorzata Osinska is a Ph.D. student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at the Jagiellonian University (since 2016). After she has graduated from a Faculty of International and Political Studies at Jagiellonian University, Chair of Middle and Far East in 2009, she went to Yunnan University in Kunming, China (2009-2010) as a scholarship holder of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education Republic of Poland. She was also a Chinese Government (CSC) scholarship holder to Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China (2011-2017). Ms Osinska has also received a fellowship at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Department of Applied Social Science as part of the PhD Research Program (2015). She is interested in interdisciplinary research on the problems of modern cities and space-place relationship and the processes of local identity formation and reflected in the image of the city.

Agnieszka Postuła

Agnieszka Postuła, Ph.D. – assistant professor in Entrepreneurship and Management Systems Department at the Faculty of Management, University of Warsaw. She studies organizational anthropology and conducts field research on communication, professions, cultures and social roles. Her interests also include team-building trainings, teamwork, culture (from different perspectives), interpersonal communication and negotiations. She works as a coach and consultant within these fields. She publishes her works in Polish, English and Russian. She collaborates/teaches at several Polish business schools as well as universities in Spain, Portugal and Hungary.

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