Turkish Entrepreneurship and Integration in Metropolises and Smaller Towns

Term Paper, 2007

27 Pages, Grade: 1,0



1. Introduction SvP & DH

2. History of Turkish Immigrants in Germany DH

3. Methodology SvP
3.1. Procedure of Data Collection
3.1.1. Our Samples
3.1.2. Our Research Method
3.2. Experiences on Making Interviews SvP & DH
3.2.1. Pilot Test
3.2.2. Main Research Interviews

4. The Analysis of the Interdependencies between Integration and Business Success
4.1. Definition and Scope of Integration and its Realization
4.1.1. Cultural integration SvP & DH
4.1.2. Structural integration SvP
4.1.3. Interactive integration SvP
4.1.4. Identificative integration DH
4.2. Definition and scope of success and its achievement SvP & DH

5. Conclusion SvP & DH

6. Appendix
6.1 Fragebogen

7. List of references

List of Graphics:

Graphic #1 Question #5: Would you prepare kebab in Turkey in the way you do it here?

Graphic #2 Question #12: Would you offer pork if required by the situation?

Table: 1 Question #32 Would your kids be allowed everything German kids usually do?

Graphic #3: Ethnicity of Customers in Dithmarschen

Graphic #4: Ethnicity of Customers in HH-Veddel

Graphic #5: Ethnicity of employees in Dithmarschen

Graphic #6: Ethnicity of employees in HH-Veddel

Graphic #7: Ethnicity of circle of friends in Dithmarschen

Graphic #8: Ethnicity of circle of friends in HH-Veddel

Graphic #8 Question #30: Wie deutsch fühlen Sie sich in einer Skala von 1-4?

Graphic #9 Question #31: Wie türkisch fühlen Sie sich in einer Skala von 1-4?

Graphic #10 Question #10: How many kebabs do you sell on average per day?

1. Introduction

Ethnic entrepreneurship has experienced significant development during the last decade. Today 8.7% of all immigrants in Germany run their own businesses (Plahuta, 2004, p.1). In the year 2003, 286.000 self-employed migrants were counted in Germany. Out of this number the Turks represent the biggest group with 60.000 entrepreneurships (Leicht, 2005, p.6). Of 10.000 Turkish workers 197 launched their own business as opposed to 122 business foundations among the German population (ibid, p.7).

Even though the Turks outnumber the German business foundations, they also experience a higher rate in closedowns (ibid). In some German cities, four out of five Turkish business foundations fail, according to Dr. René Leicht (2005, ‘Die Rheinpfalz’). He opens the thesis that this high number is at least partly due to the fact that Turks rather prefer to open their businesses in branches and areas dominated by their own people. As a result of this concentration, Turkish businesses solely depend on the purchasing power of their fellow immigrants. Besides, they unnecessarily create a highly competitive market.

Since the preference to live and work in an area inhabited primarily by one’s own nationality indicates a rather limited integration, we are going to examine whether integration in general is a driver for financial business success.

2. History of Turkish Immigrants in Germany

For understanding the integration challenges Turkish immigrants see themselves confronted with, it is essential to know about the background history.

Starting in the 1950s, to feed the post World War II economic miracle, Germany signed bilateral agreements with poorer Mediterranean countries to import guest workers to fill vacant positions in the booming industrial economy. The first guest workers came from southern European countries, mainly Italy, Croatia, Spain, and Greece. As these sources of labour dried up, the German authorities moved further afield. In the 1960s and 70s millions of Turks came to work in Germany. This Turkish population soon overtook all of the other guest worker populations and today (2000) 2,375,000 people of Turkish origin live in Germany and comprise approximately thirty percent of all those of foreign descent. (Keskin, 2005, p.262)

At the outset the Germans expected the Turks to leave and the Turks expected to return to Turkey. However, the political situation in Turkey was unstable and many Turks soon built a life for themselves in Germany and no longer expected to go home; children went to school and families bought property. The longer the guest workers stayed in Germany, the more the guest workers were treated as foreigners in their native Turkey. Furthermore, a complicated set of international agreements later backed up by the German courts decided that the Turks had a right to stay in Germany and could not be deported unless they had committed serious crimes. Until recently, however, Turkish immigrants and their German-born offspring could not acquire German citizenship. (Motte/Ohliger/Oswald, 1999, p. 157/158)

3. Methodology

With our umbrella question in mind we thought about what would be the best primary research method and the most suitable selection of samples to maximize the quality and efficiency of our study.

3.1. Procedure of Data Collection

3.1.1. Our Samples

First of all we defined our sampling groups. Since the aim of our study builds on Leicht’s thesis about the comparably disappointing business results of Turkish entrepreneurs in city quarters with a high immigration rate, we decided to select our samples according to the purpose we were pursuing. We opted to compare two extremes: kebab shop owners in the area of Hamburg-Veddel (also known as the Turkish quarter) vs. Turkish restaurant owners in the rural district of Dithmarschen, an area of 1.404 km² (http://www.dithmarschen.de) with only approx. 15-20 kebap places. We wanted to make our research as representative as possible, so we aimed at the totality of all shops in Dithmarschen and then select the same sampling size from kebap vendors in Veddel. Eventually, we reached a number of 15 samples from each sampling cluster to be compared.

3.1.2. Our Research Method

The challenge was to gather in depth opinions and information of a total of 30 Turkish entrepreneurs in the limited time we had to complete our study. Probably, focus group discussions between metropolitan and provincial Turkish entrepreneurs would have been the most insightful method to study the differences between the degrees of integration and business success in the city and in villages and small towns. Yet, focus group discussions require a lot of organization and a certain degree of schedule flexibility. It is hard to get all participants together at one location at one specific point of time, especially when dealing with entrepreneurs who have many responsibilities at hand. Moreover, chances were that the contestants would eventually end up discussing in their home language rather than in German, which would have made the messages transferred impossible for us to understand and much less analyzable.

The distribution of questionnaires is of course the easiest and fastest way of data collection, which also allows for a structured analysis afterwards. Moreover, the research candidates can fill in the questionnaire when it best fits into their busy timetable. However, for our purposes we did not consider this method adequate, mainly because we were dealing with immigrants whose first language is not German. When filling in a questionnaire alone in private, comprehension problems cannot be solved or might not even be realized by the respondents and thus not produce viable answers. Also, we did not expect to receive too many responses with this method, because most candidates would probably not be motivated to invest their time and effort without any direct personal suasion.

Instead, we chose personal structured interviews as a means for our data collection. This method combines the advantages of questionnaires and focus group discussions. We prepared a master questionnaire that enabled a smooth conduct of interviews and allowed for an organized comparison and analysis of information. At the same time, in depth insights could be gained in the course of the conversations with our respondents. Misunderstandings due to wordings or grammar could be elicited (also see 3.2. Experiences on Making Interviews).

The structure of our master questionnaire was reasoned by the principle of broad to narrower questions. For instance, we first asked about the personal classification of integration, before inquiring about further attitudes and opinions. This way, we wanted to provide a starting platform for the contestants to keep in mind, when answering the other questions. Indicators for business conduct and success were hidden here and there within the questionnaire to make them less obvious, because we anticipated that this would be a rather delicate issue to most entrepreneurs. The most intimate questions about the income (respectively, number of people living on the income) and age were posed at the very end, when a certain basis of mutual trust would possibly have developed that attenuates this intrusion into the private sphere.

3.2. Experiences on Making Interviews

3.2.1. Pilot Test

In order to make our interviews comparable, we have prepared a master questionnaire. Before starting off with our actual research we tested our first draft questionnaire on two individuals. We decided to conduct our test-run during the morning hours when costomer numbers are low.

Our first contact with a kebab shop owner at a quarter past ten was a deception because he sent us away. Even though there was no single costomer around, he suggested that we should have come at 8.15 a.m. when he was not busy. Assuming that the shop owner was not willing to answer our questionnaire in general, we moved on.

Eventually, we got two guinea pig interviews in very distinctive kebab shops. One of them was a typical fast food place with a counter and a couple of bar stools. The other was a fancy restaurant that was part of a big franchising company. Here they only offered kebabs as a supplement to their regular menu.

While conducting the interviews we realized that some of our formulations were not suitable for our interviewees to understand. As a simple example our question number three initially read: „Did the opening of the kebab shop assisted you in your integration?“ (“Hat Sie die Eröffnung des Dönerladens bei Ihrer Integration unterstützt”) and was substituted by „Did the opening of the kebab shop helped you in your integration?“ (“Hat die Eröffnung des Dönerladens bei Ihrer Integration geholfen”).

Furthermore, some questions were not answered at all, either because they were too difficult to answer or because they were to privat. The question about child education was obviously too broad and required to much time to ponder in its original version[1]. We changed this question into a selected response question, which was more specific and helped our respondents by providing them with pre-designed answers of question # 32.

None of our test contestants wanted to give us any information about their monthly earnings. Consequently, we tried to get around this direct inquiry in our actual research interviews by asking more indirectly about the economic profit. In order to do so, we identified other crucial key indicators for business success, such as the number of employees, the number of people living on the entrepreneurial profit and the number of kebabs sold per day, multiplied by the single retail price. We hoped to investigate the actual revenue of each enterprise on an inconspicuous detour, as we placed the question about the price per piece and question about the daily sales well apart from each other.

3.2.2. Main Research Interviews

In the starting phase of our first main interviews that were used for this study we came across additional interesting facts that we had not taken into account when finalising our master questionnaire during the test phase. When posing question number 34 about the acceptance of a possible marriage between a Turk and a German, two out of the first three correspondents claimed that they had been married to a German partner themselves. Thus we decided to add another sub question to this issue to investigate about the contestant’s own background in terms of German-Turkish marriages[2]. This question proved to be an additional indicator for the different degrees of integration in the two sampling groups.

Our overall impression in the course of the interviews was mostly positive, for example, we were often invited for tee or coffee. The time between three and six pm proved to be the best time of the day for interviews in the rural areas because most customers come for lunch and dinner. The shop owners in the city, by contrast, were best available during the early morning hours, because customer tend to visit the shop throughout the whole day. In some cases the actual shop owner was not on-hand at that time so that we had to come back later that day or another day. In one interview we erroneously believed that we were talking to the owner of the shop until it came to light that the little restaurant officially belonged to his daughter. Obviously, her father largely influenced her and her business.

Usually our questionnaires took around 20-30 minutes but sometimes even up to an hour. This was mainly due to remote background stories that were connected to the topic of culture and integration. In some cases language barriers made the interview process more difficult and also more time consuming, as we had to rephrase some questions several times and explain some unfamiliar vocabularies. We also realized that some of our shop owners were biased towards interviews of this kind as they experienced similar questionings during the application for their naturalization as German citizens. In these cases we had to persuade the candidates in a most possible friendly and unobtrusive way.

4. The Analysis of the Interdependencies between Integration and Business Success

4.1. Definition and Scope of Integration and its Realization

Concerning the question of integration, Plahuta (2004, p. 3) describes four dimensions that have been identified in sociology: Cultural, structural, interactive and identificative integration. Following we are going to examine in how far the various aspects of integration differ among our two sampling groups. Moreover, we will discuss the differences of ethnic ownership economies and ethnic enclave economies described by Plahuta (2004, p. 3) and analyse whether there is a predominant existence of one of these two classifications in the major city area of Hamburg or in the rural area of Dithmarschen.

4.1.1. Cultural integration

One determinant for the degree of cultural integration is for example sufficient language knowledge (Plahuta, 2004, p. 3). All of our questioned entrepreneurs in smaller towns and villages agreed that fluency in German is an important element of integration, whereas only 10 out of the 15 respondents from Hamburg Veddel supported this statement. However, in the majority part of all kebab shops, whether in the city or countryside, German is the predominantly used language (question # 25). We believe this fact to be natural or even indispensable, taking into consideration that almost all clients in the rural area and about every second customer in Hamburg-Veddel is German (question #17). Also, both our sampling groups claimed that almost all of their family members were able to speak German (question #22) and more than half of all even use it as their preferred language in every day life (question #23). This is at least the case when they are not at home in private, for nine respondents from rural areas and eight respondents from the City of Hamburg prefer to communicate in their home language when they are among their Turkish family and friends (question #24).


[1] Welche typisch deutschen Werte und welche typisch türkischen Werte vermitteln Sie Ihren Kindern?

[2] Sind Sie oder waren Sie schon einmal mit einer Deutschen/ einem Deutschen verheiratet

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Turkish Entrepreneurship and Integration in Metropolises and Smaller Towns
Hamburg University of Applied Sciences  (Wirtschaft / AIM)
KUSO Prof. Dr. Iken
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ISBN (Book)
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Turkish, Entrepreneurship, Integration, Metropolises, Smaller, Towns, KUSO, Prof, Iken
Quote paper
Dirk Hollank (Author)Sabine von Possel (Author), 2007, Turkish Entrepreneurship and Integration in Metropolises and Smaller Towns, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/120288


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