The inﬂuence of an
characteristics on the
entrepreneurial orientation of
The Business School, Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK, and
Catherine L. Wang
School of Management, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, UK
Purpose – This paper seeks to examine the relationship between Turkish ethnic entrepreneurs’
socio-cultural characteristics (namely education, experience and religion) and the entrepreneurial
orientation of their ﬁrms.
Design/methodology/approach – The study collected data through 139 face-to-face structured
interviews with Turkish ethnic entrepreneurs in London, UK.
Findings – The study illustrates that educational attainment of an entrepreneur makes a positive
impact on a ﬁrm’s entrepreneurial orientation. Educational attainment equips business owners with
the skills and reﬂective mindsets of understanding customers and responding to their needs. Previous
business experience of the entrepreneur also impacts positively upon a ﬁrm’s entrepreneurial
orientation, while religion of the entrepreneur does not have a signiﬁcant impact on the ﬁrm’s
Research limitations/implications – This paper reports ﬁndings based on Turkish ethnic
entrepreneurs in London. Therefore, care should be taken in making generalisations from the sample.
Practical implications – This paper identiﬁes those socio-cultural attributes that entrepreneurs can
capitalise on in order to enhance the entrepreneurial orientation of their ﬁrms.
Originality/value – The paper ﬁlls in a glaring gap by providing empirical evidence about the
relationship between socio-cultural characteristics of entrepreneurs and their small ﬁrms’
Keywords Socio-cultural characteristics, Entrepreneurial orientation, Entrepreneurs, United Kingdom,
Paper type Research paper
Entrepreneurial orientation (EO) is crucial in improving a ﬁrm’s competitive
advantage and performance (Zahra, 1991; Zahra and Covin, 1995; Wiklund, 1999). An
entrepreneurial ﬁrm engages in product innovation, undertakes somewhat risky
ventures and acts proactively by being the ﬁrst to come up with new products,
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the ESRC for the project “Socio-cultural
factors, ethnic minority entrepreneurial orientation and a ﬁrm’s growth: a comparative study of
Turkish and Chinese small ﬁrms in the UK” (Project Reference: RES-061-23-0051).
Journal of Small Business and
Vol. 18 No. 4, 2011
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited