Gruenhagen, Jan Henrik, & Per Davidsson (2018, December). Returnee entrepreneurs: Do they all boost emerging economies? International Review of Entrepreneurship, 16(4), 455-488.

Abstract: Returnee entrepreneurs are argued to be important contributors to innovation and economic development in emerging economies by transferring advanced knowledge and skills to their home countries. To date the literature has predominantly treated returnee entrepreneurs as a homogeneous phenomenon; not accounting for variabilities in types and orientations of returnee-owned ventures. Based on empirical data from returnee entrepreneurs in China, this study proposes a classification of five venture type orientations reflecting variations in start-up motivations, ambitions for growth and independence, innovativeness, formality, and utilisation of relationships. The article then discusses theoretical and practical implications regarding the value of these different types of returnee entrepreneurship for the economic and societal development of emerging economies. The study adds to the literature by revealing that returnee entrepreneurship is more multi-faceted and heterogeneous than as treated in previous studies and by providing a tentative conceptual typology of returnee-owned ventures and their potential economic and societal value for emerging economies.

Jan Henrik Gruenhagen <> is in the Centre for METS Business Innovation and Per Davidsson <> is in the Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.