The Motives of Off-the-Books Entrepreneurs: Necessity- or Opportunity-Driven?

International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 203-217, 2009

15 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2015

See all articles by Colin Williams

Colin Williams

University of Sheffield - School of Management

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

In recent years, it has become common to represent entrepreneurs as either necessity- or opportunity-driven. Drawing upon face-to-face interviews in England with 70 entrepreneurs trading wholly or partially off-the-books, this paper evaluates critically this dichotomous representation. The finding is that squeezing the motives of off-the-books entrepreneurs into one side or the other of this dichotomy not only over-simplifies their rationales since both necessity and opportunity motives are often involved but also obfuscates how their motives change over time. The outcome is a call to replace this either/or depiction with a richer and more nuanced both/and understanding of off-the-books entrepreneurs that recognises their diverse and dynamic motives.

Keywords: necessity entrepreneurs, opportunity entrepreneurs, informal economy, shadow economy, enterprise culture, England

JEL Classification: H26, J46, K42, O17

Suggested Citation

Williams, Colin, The Motives of Off-the-Books Entrepreneurs: Necessity- or Opportunity-Driven? (2009). International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 203-217, 2009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2702901

Colin Williams (Contact Author)

University of Sheffield - School of Management ( email )

15 Conduit Road
Sheffield, S10 1FL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/management/staff/williams/index

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