"The Impact of Acculturation on Management Dynamics within UK SMEs”- A Study of West Midlands Based African and Caribbean Migrant Owned or Managed SMEs”

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector has experienced tremendous
growth since the mid-1990s. It has also increasingly become evident that the number of
SMEs in the UK owned and managed by people from different cultural backgrounds has
grown. Based on Berry et al. (2007) acculturation literature, GLOBE culture-management
insights, and SME acculturation studies with empirical findings (Khirsariya 2015 and
DeVries 2012), this research sought to establish the impact of acculturation on the
management dynamics and practices of migrant SME AC business owners and managers
in the West Midlands region of the UK. The research was conducted to address the current
management integration challenges encountered by African and Caribbean migrant
business owners and managers in the UK.

Adopting a mixed method approach that included quantitative analysis of online survey
responses and qualitative analysis of online, face-to-face and focus group interviews, 102
online survey responses, 26 face-to-face, online and 3 focus group interviews were
analysed. The online survey responses were analysed using descriptive statistics (Alpha
Cronbach test) to establish the correlation between the dependent and independent
variables to test the hypotheses for the study. To triangulate the results from the analysis,
further qualitative data were analysed (using manual coding and thematic analysis) to
provide in-depth insights from the data set.

The research findings established a significant impact of acculturation on crucial
management strategies such as managing & leading and adhering policies of the migrant
AC SME owners and managers in the West Midlands area. Another finding established a
significant level of agreeability between the level of adaptation of the management
strategies by the AC SMEs owners and managers due to the acculturation of the host UK
culture. In line with GLOBE studies, Berry’s acculturation model and social theory of
acculturation, the key causal factors driving the adoption of the host culture in the UK
were identified as a sense of belonging, survival, tenacity to succeed, personal
achievement, quest to integrate, need to leverage host country opportunities and need to
improve on standard of living. The managerial competencies and skills required to deal
with and adopt the host culture by the AC SME managers or owners were identified as
language skills, cultural knowledge, communication skills, open-mindedness, trust and
empathy. There was no significant difference in the change in management dynamics and
strategies of the two-sub ethnic minority migrant SMEOMs due to the acculturation of UK
host culture however, the research identified an interplay of antecedents (proximate)
and relational factors enhancing the acculturation process with the migrant groups.
Finally, the growth of ethnic minority SMEs in the UK could be attributed partly to the
ease of acculturation based on the ‘culture bricks’ for some migrant groups. Some of the
findings corroborate with empirical findings and the acculturation theory.

A publication by the Department for Work and Pensions on the annual labour market on
ethnic minorities has been a critical data source for the UK Government on diversity
policies. For example, past and current UK governments have attempted to develop
policies for small businesses to encourage diversity among the workforce from diverse
ethnic backgrounds. Some of the key research findings and recommendations would have
relevant implications to inform government policies on this area and as such, grants and
funding can be sought from the UK government for further business research on this
increasingly interesting topic of changes in SME management practices due to successful
UK culture integration trends. In addition, in the areas of consultancy and bespoke
business research for SMEs, the findings would provide comprehensive guidance on
areas of SME management strategies, competencies and skills for dealing with host
culture adoption and cultural diversity and finally, contribute to the body of knowledge
on SME management practices and acculturation studies. The key contribution has been
the redevelopment of the acculturation framework and the identification of a new
concept of metacculturation.
Date of AwardJul 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Coventry University
SupervisorZulf Khan (Supervisor) & Nigel Berkeley (Supervisor)


  • African Caribbean
  • Acculturatio
  • Small medium enterprise
  • Management dynamics
  • Cross cultural adoption
  • Small business managers and owner’s acculturation
  • Ethnic minority small business management and ownership
  • Migrant entrepreneurship

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