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Digital platforms and entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago: an examination of their relationships using technology affordances and constraints

Digital platforms and entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago: an examination of their relationships using technology affordances and constraints
Digital platforms and entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago: an examination of their relationships using technology affordances and constraints
Digital platforms are used by entrepreneurs globally and have changed the way entrepreneurs interact. However, while digital platforms are expected to change the processes and practices of entrepreneurship their influence on entrepreneurship is insufficiently examined. When influence is considered, culture and social norms are usually ignored, and it is assumed that digital technology can and should be used to overcome barriers entrepreneurs face. Existing research also tends to focus on developed countries and high-growth entrepreneurship. This leaves a gap in our understanding of developing countries and low-growth entrepreneurship, which represents most entrepreneurial activity. This study asks questions about the influence of digital platforms on entrepreneurship in the context of Trinidad and Tobago, a high-income, developing Caribbean country. This multicultural, twin-island state has low levels of high-growth entrepreneurship and is attempting to diversify its oil and gas economy through supporting entrepreneurship.

The research takes an interdisciplinary, multi-method, qualitative approach that includes a pilot study, interviews, focus groups and secondary data. It finds that when entrepreneurs use digital platforms, the benefits accrued are in tension with platform rules that continuously change creating uncertainty, unpredictability and risk. Additionally, culture, social norms and historical structures may limit the potential for entrepreneurs to use digital platforms or capitalise on their benefits. This research contributes to the Technology Affordances and Constraints Theory (TACT) literature, which informs the research method. TACT is used to illustrate how affordances and constraints co-exist and intertwine with societal norms, cultures and structures to influence entrepreneurial activities and outcomes. Additionally, the research adopts the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) to provide new insight into the extent to which digital platforms may influence an informal and fragmented EE.

This study provides recommendations to the Trinidad and Tobago government which should help them to understand the influence of digital platforms, that simultaneously aid and mitigate their efforts to support entrepreneurship. For entrepreneurs, it provides recommendations that support a deeper understanding of digital platform use.
University of Southampton
Taylor, Keisha Candice
0ad7cbad-375b-4e0b-a7d4-7170011fd687
Taylor, Keisha Candice
0ad7cbad-375b-4e0b-a7d4-7170011fd687
Baxter, David
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Taylor, Keisha Candice (2020) Digital platforms and entrepreneurship in Trinidad and Tobago: an examination of their relationships using technology affordances and constraints. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 384pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

Digital platforms are used by entrepreneurs globally and have changed the way entrepreneurs interact. However, while digital platforms are expected to change the processes and practices of entrepreneurship their influence on entrepreneurship is insufficiently examined. When influence is considered, culture and social norms are usually ignored, and it is assumed that digital technology can and should be used to overcome barriers entrepreneurs face. Existing research also tends to focus on developed countries and high-growth entrepreneurship. This leaves a gap in our understanding of developing countries and low-growth entrepreneurship, which represents most entrepreneurial activity. This study asks questions about the influence of digital platforms on entrepreneurship in the context of Trinidad and Tobago, a high-income, developing Caribbean country. This multicultural, twin-island state has low levels of high-growth entrepreneurship and is attempting to diversify its oil and gas economy through supporting entrepreneurship.

The research takes an interdisciplinary, multi-method, qualitative approach that includes a pilot study, interviews, focus groups and secondary data. It finds that when entrepreneurs use digital platforms, the benefits accrued are in tension with platform rules that continuously change creating uncertainty, unpredictability and risk. Additionally, culture, social norms and historical structures may limit the potential for entrepreneurs to use digital platforms or capitalise on their benefits. This research contributes to the Technology Affordances and Constraints Theory (TACT) literature, which informs the research method. TACT is used to illustrate how affordances and constraints co-exist and intertwine with societal norms, cultures and structures to influence entrepreneurial activities and outcomes. Additionally, the research adopts the concept of entrepreneurial ecosystem (EE) to provide new insight into the extent to which digital platforms may influence an informal and fragmented EE.

This study provides recommendations to the Trinidad and Tobago government which should help them to understand the influence of digital platforms, that simultaneously aid and mitigate their efforts to support entrepreneurship. For entrepreneurs, it provides recommendations that support a deeper understanding of digital platform use.

Text
3a Taylor, Keisha - thesis - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
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More information

Published date: March 2020

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 442101
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/442101
PURE UUID: 9c2ea798-e6ed-4d9d-ae5f-733256c8a8fd
ORCID for David Baxter: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-1983-7786

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 07 Jul 2020 16:49
Last modified: 11 Jul 2020 00:35

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Contributors

Author: Keisha Candice Taylor
Thesis advisor: David Baxter ORCID iD

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