Research Article

Sub-Saharan African cultural belief system and entrepreneurial activities: A Ghanaian perspective


Abstract

This article seeks to advance our understanding of the culture-entrepreneurship relationship from an African perspective by examining how six African traditional beliefs either promote or hinder entrepreneurial activities. These six traditional Ghanaian cultural beliefs (i.e. belief in godliness, belief in paranormal activities, belief in a social hierarchical structure, belief in familism, belief in communal social orientation, and belief in patriarchism) are directly linked to entrepreneurial behavior. We argue that this belief system differs from those of other cultural contexts and provides the underpinnings for understanding African culture and entrepreneurship. We derive propositions of how this belief system relates to the entrepreneurial eco-system. These propositions suggest the following: Belief in familism, belief in communal social orientation and belief in patriarchism are likely to have, depending on the circumstances, a positive or a negative relationship with entrepreneurship. Belief in paranormal activities and belief in a social hierarchical structure are bound to influence entrepreneurial behavior negatively. At the same time, belief in godliness will influence entrepreneurial activities positively. Following these inferences, the article concludes that Ghanaian culture, and African culture as a whole, frame entrepreneurial activities. However, the cultural belief system suggests that the culture-entrepreneurship relationship is more complex than previously envisaged.

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