Microfranchise emergence and its impact on entrepreneurship

Our investigation uses structuration theory to explore the emergence of a microfranchise whose aim is to raise the income of smallholder farmers in Kenya by enabling an increase in productivity. This longitudinal real time qualitative study tracks the key actions taken in developing the venture, beginning in the conception phase of startup and continuing through to the initial stage of operations. In doing so it focuses on how agency and structure reciprocally influence the resulting social enterprise. The findings indicate that agency is not exclusive to the founders. Rather it was distributed among the micro-franchisor’s stakeholders to significantly shape the nature and scope of the enterprise. While franchising, generally, is not noted to provide autonomy and independence to franchisees, we find the opposite in this emerging market context. Implications are discussed.

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