La Trobe
37939_SOURCE01_3_A.pdf (9.18 MB)

An investigation into entrepreneurship in the transition economies of Mongolia and Vietnam and the complexities of conducting research in culturally different countries

Download (9.18 MB)
posted on 2023-01-19, 09:38 authored by Michael Turner
Submission note: A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy to the Graduate School of Management, Faculty of Law and Management, La Trobe University, Bundoora.

Entrepreneurs the world over are acknowledged as major players in most established markets. In emerging markets their prevalence and activity are both vital and significant in moving an economy through its transition to free market status. This study adds to the existing body of knowledge about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship in the emerging economies of Mongolia and Vietnam. Prior to the fall of Communism entrepreneurs in both countries (like the subjects studied in this thesis), operated covertly and often dealt in black market activities. They were considered by their governments as pariahs and enemies of the State and were often dealt with harshly if their business dealings were uncovered. Today however with Mongolia and Vietnam making the transition towards free market economies, the businesses of the entrepreneurs are at varying stages of growth. All appear to have flourished through the identification and exploitation of opportunities that manifest through the changing political, economic, social and business landscapes that have affected their nations. In an attempt to gather data for this study, a qualitative method of investigation was employed using the case study design method. Although some twenty years ago this method was controversial, over time it has become an accepted and legitimate research method. In conjunction with the case studies a survey conducted by the EIEC in 2009 was replicated in order to compare and contrast the characteristics and traits of the Mongolian and Vietnamese entrepreneurs against entrepreneurs in developed, developing and former Soviet bloc countries. The two research methods were then triangulated to validate the data through cross verification from the two sources. This thesis also examines the challenges of cross-cultural research, with a specific focus on the interview method. The challenges associated with cross-cultural interviews are rarely discussed in business literature therefore an attempt is made to respond to this omission by providing insight into conducting cross-cultural business interviews with examples taken from the author’s research experiences with Vietnamese and Mongolian entrepreneurs. The thesis identifies risks associated with qualitative methods in an effort to ensure scientific rigour. It also discusses methods of guiding and managing interpreters, and dealing with issues of culture and language, as well as discussing the challenges of capturing and translating authentic interview data. This thesis expands the understanding of the entrepreneurial phenomenon through its firsthand observation study of the lives, conventions and environments of a relatively small sample of thirteen entrepreneurs in addition to surveying 63 respondents in Mongolia and 189 in Vietnam. Entrepreneurial activity is explained as emanating from the opening of the economies that produced a seamless fit between the capabilities, skills, motivation, in addition to the “fire in the belly” of entrepreneurs in the two transitioning nations. In summing up the findings from this research, it was identified that entrepreneurs in the transition countries studied did it on their own, by their own initiative and without support from their governments. There was a clear indication of their dedication, willingness to work hard and an understanding of risk factors that they faced in setting up their ventures. The fear of failure was not a major factor in their lives and the findings show a resilience that drove them to bounce back even in the face of disaster. The stories told by each entrepreneur reveal a love for their calling even though they battled to overcome prejudices, long hours and financial hardship. The findings from this thesis demonstrate that enthusiasm, a sense of urgency, persistence, and problem-solving abilities are the defining features of the entrepreneurial character in Mongolia and Vietnam.


Center or Department

Faculty of Law and Management. Graduate School of Management.

Thesis type

  • Ph. D.

Awarding institution

La Trobe University

Year Awarded


Rights Statement

This thesis contained third party copyright material which has been removed. The thesis author retains all proprietary rights (such as copyright and patent rights) over all other content of this thesis, and has granted La Trobe University permission to reproduce and communicate this version of the thesis. The author has declared that any third party copyright material contained within the thesis made available here is reproduced and communicated with permission. If you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact us with the details.

Data source

arrow migration 2023-01-10 00:15. Ref: latrobe:37939 (9e0739)

Usage metrics

    Open Theses


    No categories selected



    Ref. manager