Entrepreneurship and Generation Z: the behavioural characteristics of Generation Z entrepreneurs in Wales

  • Phil Swan

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    There is a growing and significant interest in extending understanding of the characteristics of Generation Z (those born after 2000), their approaches to entrepreneurship, and how they are reacting to contextual challenges and opportunities. This research explores the behavioural characteristics of Generation Z entrepreneurs in Wales and addresses the gap in current entrepreneurship studies which have not examined entrepreneurial behaviour through a generational lens. In addition, prior studies in the field of generational theory have provided little insight into entrepreneurial behaviour from a generational context and are often focused on identifying generational characteristics through personality traits such as values rather than behaviour. This thesis seeks to address this gap in knowledge by examining the common shared entrepreneurial behaviours of Generation Z and the social contexts surrounding the described entrepreneurial behaviours. It also investigates how Generation Z entrepreneurs’ perceptions of social contexts interplay with their described entrepreneurial behaviours. Data was collected through participant event diaries and in-depth one-to-one interviews with seven entrepreneurs over a maximum of eight weeks which provided detailed data related to activities and behaviours as well as the social contexts that surrounded the reported behaviours. This data was analysed individually and then by cross-case analysis through an intuitive consideration of the themes that emerged from the whole dataset. The findings of this study provided several contributions to knowledge by providing up to date, molecular and detailed descriptions of specific areas of entrepreneurial behaviour of Generation Z entrepreneurs and exploring the social contexts that surrounded their behaviours. For example, there is evidence that the entrepreneurs were motivated by social capital through social media influence and within their local communities and were keen to develop sustainable businesses aligned to their personal values.The research also identified several areas which appear to be more specific to the entrepreneurial activities of Generation Z including extensive use of digital technology and social media to develop the business, as well as having environmental and social concerns as the drivers for the new venture. These findings have implications for economic and enterprise policies to encourage greater entrepreneurship amongst young people and for business support to help develop new firms created by Generation Z.
    Date of AwardMay 2021
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDylan Jones-Evans (Supervisor) & Nihar Amoncar (Supervisor)

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