The embeddedness of illegal entrepreneurship in a closed ethnic community.
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SMITH, R. and MCELWEE, G., 2013. The embeddedness of illegal entrepreneurship in a closed ethnic community. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 11 (1), pp. 45-62.
Purpose: There is an emerging body of literature driven by entrepreneurship scholars which attempts to differentiate between the conceptual and theoretical aspects of legal, illegal, amoral and immoral entrepreneurial practice. Many such studies are based of necessity on individual cases and attempt to develop typologies, models and theories. Legal and illegal entrepreneurship are regarded as separate spheres of study but seldom do we pause to consider the actual human consequences to individuals, communities and places which arise from illegal enterprise. Consequentially, in this invited paper we examine a powerful case of embedded illegal enterprise in a closed ethnic community, exposed through a fatal explosion in an illegal alcohol still in Boston, Lincolnshire. Boston or ‘Bostongraad’ as it is ironically relabelled is a classic example of an ethnic enclave in which legal and illegal entrepreneurial practices are embedded. We also develop a typology of legal-illegal entrepreneurial actions. Design/methodology/approach: This study combines a literature review on illegal entrepreneurship with observations based on documentary research methodology. From such readings and findings we develop a typology of enterprise orientated crime committed by a variety of enterprising individuals in an ethnic community. Findings: Research limitations/implications: This paper demonstrates the embeddedness of illegal entrepreneurial activity in an entrepreneurial community and outlines a typological schema for differentiating between the informal economy, illicit and enterprise, illegal enterprise and criminal entrepreneurship. Practical implications: Policy and practical implications for this scheme and the need to develop sustainable entrepreneurial communities are discussed. Originality/value: The novel aspect of the paper is that it crosses the boundaries between research into entrepreneurship and crime.