Home-based business : a means to what end?
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This thesis set out to investigate why individuals engage in home-based business (HBB) and to what end. Little previous academic research has investigated this phenomenon despite the sizable proportion of UK SMEs which could be termed as such and their cumulative economic contribution. The purpose of this thesis was fourfold: 1) to explore HBB dimensions and types; 2) to examine why an individual might be motivated to create a HBB; 3) the influence of motivations on business and personal outcomes arising from HBB activity; 4) and the fit of HBB within the entrepreneurship paradigm. This study was underpinned by Critical Realist philosophy and employed a qualitative research approach. Data were collected from thirty Scottish HBB owners during 2014 using in-depth narrative interviews. Data were subject to thematic analysis. The main finding of this study is that HBB owners exhibit unique motivations particular to their choice of business location. Further, these can impact on business (and personal) outcomes, which ultimately affect the fit of the HBB within the entrepreneurship paradigm. There are five major contributions from this research. First, three new typologies based on gender, human capital and technology were created. Second, HBB owners have specific motivations for the creation of a HBB. Third, Shapero’s Entrepreneurial Event Theory is valid as an entrepreneurial intention model in this context. In addition, an adaptation to this model is proposed based on the significance of context to the HBB owner entrepreneurial event cognition process. Fourth, there are both business and personal outcomes of operating a HBB, some of which can have a significant ‘dark side’ for the individual and ‘downsides’ for the business. Finally, HBB is entrepreneurship; however the ‘fit’ of the business within this paradigm exists along a spectrum.