Immigrant Small Business in Sweden: A Critical Review of the Development of A Research Field

Zoran Slavnic


This paper examines the current state of immigrant small business research (ISBR) in Sweden, discusses the main trends in the field and presents the key texts that represent these trends. It is noted that research in the 1990s was largely influenced by the current political agenda, while academic communication between Swedish and international ISBR on the one hand, and Swedish ISBR and Swedish ‘mainstream‘ small business research (SBR) on the other were conspicuous by their absence. Besides, only a few researchers in the field were able to conduct their research in a systematic manner or with stable and long-term funding of research teams. The situation has changed in the 2000s. This period was characterized by increased academic interest in immigrants’ small businesses. Researchers dealing with ISBR wanted to free themselves from the current political agenda as well as from the focus on domestic priorities in terms of research questions and methodology. This has resulted in a large number of published policy-critical texts. At the same time the research interest shifted towards the previously neglected aspects of immigrants’ small businesses, such as immigrant women in business, young immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurship in the high-tech sector. These studies were based both on ambitious quantitative survey and on refined qualitative micro-studies. This critical review concludes with the discussion of a possible future research agenda for ISBR.

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Journal of Business Administration Research (Submission E-mail:

ISSN 1927-9507 (Print)      ISSN 1927-9515  (Online)

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