How does national culture enable or constrain entrepreneurship? Exploring the role of Harambee in Kenya

Natalia Vershinina*, Kassa Woldesenbet Beta, William Murithi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
328 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to conceptualise how various value dimensions of Harambee, the Kenyan culture, affect the fostering of entrepreneurial behaviours. Theoretically, we draw upon perspectives that view culture as a toolkit and use cultural variables provided by Hofstede to examine the links between national culture and entrepreneurial endeavours in an African context. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is based on review and synthesis of accessible secondary sources (published research, country-specific reports, policy documents, firm-level empirical evidences, etc.) on the topic and related areas to understand and advance research propositions on the link between enterprising efforts and national culture specific to the Kenyan context. Findings: Several theoretical propositions are offered on themes of collective reliance, social responsibility, enterprising, resource mobilisation and political philanthropy to establish relationships, both positive and negative, between values of Harambee and entrepreneurial behaviours. Further, the study provides initial insights into how actors blend both collectivistic and emergent individualistic orientations and display collective identity in the process of mobilising resources and engaging in entrepreneurship. Research limitations/implications: The conceptual framework presented bears a considerable relevance to the advancing theory, policy and practice associated with the national culture and entrepreneurial behaviour in the African context and has potential to generate valuable insights. Originality/value: This original study provides a springboard for studying the relationship between African cultural context and entrepreneurial behaviours.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)687-704
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Small Business and Enterprise Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018


  • Entrepreneurship
  • Harambee
  • Kenya
  • National culture
  • Toolkit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management


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