Who Do I Want to Be Now That I’m Here? Refugee Entrepreneurs, Identity, and Acculturation

Lisa Jones Christensen, Arielle Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This article focuses on a subset of refugees who engage in entrepreneurship shortly after relocating to a new host community; it explores identity-related antecedents and integration consequences of different entrepreneurship strategies in the new location. It draws from acculturation psychology and founder identity theory to argue that, post-arrival, new refugees consider (a) how to prioritize the identity associated with their former life and (b) the degree of connection they desire in the host community. For some, these preferences drive heterogeneous entrepreneurial behaviors associated with different acculturation outcomes—including marginalization, separation, integration, and assimilation. Specifically, we describe two refugee entrepreneur identity management strategies: reinvention (distance from home country identity) and reinforcement (close connection to home country identity) and propose their different acculturation outcomes. The theory-based arguments emphasize how attending to identity preferences of refugees can improve stakeholder responses. The article also illustrates why refugee integration can remain elusive, as not all refugees with successful ventures integrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)242-275
Number of pages34
JournalBusiness and Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • agency
  • culture
  • entrepreneurship
  • identity
  • refugee

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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