Exploring The Depressed Rate Of Black Entrepreneurship: The Impact Of Consumer Perceptions
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentBusiness and Management
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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The rate of Black entrepreneurship has remained relatively unchanged for nearly a century, and it is one third that of White. Black entrepreneurship research has traditionally focused on the entrepreneur and the entrepreneur's circumstances, such as access to capital, education, family structure, and human capital. Conversely, very little attention has been given to the impact of consumer perceptions on the rate of Black entrepreneurship. This dissertation focused on examining consumer perceptions related to Black entrepreneurship. Past research suggests that consumers patronize businesses that they perceive as legitimate and toward which they have favorable attitudes. Consumer attitudes and legitimacy perceptions are especially important to ethnic enclave entrepreneurs, who rely heavily on co-ethnic patronage. The present research study explored whether Black and White consumers have perceptual differences of Black-owned or White-owned businesses, and whether these differences vary by respondent's area of residence. Using a multi-disciplinary theoretical framework, a cross-sectional study was conducted. A total of 846 randomly selected respondents participated voluntarily and completed an anonymous survey questionnaire that measured consumer perceptions of Black and White start-up entrepreneurs. Respondents included Blacks in predominantly Black and predominantly White neighborhoods, and Whites in predominantly White and predominantly Black neighborhoods. Regression analyses were used to analyze relationships between key variables and t-test analyses were used to determine if there were significant differences between groups of respondents with respect to perceptions of legitimacy, attitudes, self-esteem, and patronage. This study provides empirical evidence that there are relationships between consumer attitudes, perceptions of legitimacy, and intended patronage for new entrepreneurial startups. This study found significant differences based on race/ethnicity and neighborhood type. The findings suggest that while limited factors determine patronage for Black entrepreneurs, multiple factors predict patronage for White entrepreneurs. Following a discussion of the results, implications for practice and future research directions are offered.