Login (DCU Staff Only)
Login (DCU Staff Only)

DORAS | DCU Research Repository

Explore open access research and scholarly works from DCU

Advanced Search

Entrepreneurship, identity, and their overlap in the slum: an ethnographic study of the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, Kenya

O'Donnell, Philip (2020) Entrepreneurship, identity, and their overlap in the slum: an ethnographic study of the Mukuru slum in Nairobi, Kenya. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

This study explores the relationship between entrepreneurship and collective identity in an informal, or ‘slum’, community in Nairobi, Kenya. In Nairobi, as in cities across the Developing World, slum communities stand out as islands of poverty and neglect amidst increasingly cosmopolitan urban surroundings. Extant research, much of which centres on the so-called ‘Base of the Pyramid’ (BoP), has shown that where social groups experience levels of social and economic disadvantage which are far in excess of comparable groups, entrepreneurship is often underpinned by a strong collective orientation. This can have a profound and wide-ranging bearing on the venturing process. Slum communities, however, have yet to be considered in this research and, moreover, they remain largely neglected within the broader literature on entrepreneurship at the BoP. Drawing on ethnographic data collected during four-and-a-half months of fieldwork, I observed that collective identity was closely tied up with economic informality. Entrepreneurs believed that their community’s marginal status afforded them a de facto right to circumvent the costs of registration and taxation, considerably reducing the barriers to market entry in an environment characterised by widespread and acute resource deprivation. However, for most entrepreneurs this was the only facet of the venturing process that was permeated by collective identity. Navigating the many challenges of their market context was seen as an individual rather than a collective concern. This was observed to differ, however, among the slum’s younger generation, who, for the most part, had grown up there or moved there as adolescents. This cohort exhibited a stronger proclivity towards collaboration in entrepreneurial venturing, and their ventures were firmly rooted in dense, close-knit friendship networks. This study extends current understandings of how entrepreneurship is affected by social-group membership, particularly in a BoP context.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:March 2020
Supervisor(s):Clinton, Eric, O'Gorman, Colm and de Castro, Julio
Uncontrolled Keywords:Entrepreneurs; Entrepreneurship; Identity theory; Identity work; Collective agency; Contexts; collective; Base of pyramid; Slums
Subjects:Business > Management
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > DCU Business School
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License. View License
ID Code:24022
Deposited On:09 Apr 2020 11:10 by Colm O'gorman . Last Modified 09 Mar 2024 10:43

Full text available as:

[thumbnail of PHILIP O'DONNELL - Final Thesis Hardbound.pdf]
PDF - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0


Downloads per month over past year

Archive Staff Only: edit this record