Fixed, Tethered or Free: The Role of Space and Place in Online Home-Based Businesses

Daniel, Elizabeth; Anwar, Muhammad and Di Domenico, MariaLaura (2014). Fixed, Tethered or Free: The Role of Space and Place in Online Home-Based Businesses. In: ESRC Seminar Series: Entrepreneurship in Homes and Neighbourhoods., 16 Sep 2014, Middlesex University London.



Online businesses were heralded as being ‘anytime, anyplace, anywhere’ businesses, allowing the entrepreneurs who run them to be free of locational constraints. In contrast, entrepreneurs who operate home-based businesses have made a conscious choice to operate their business from home. This study explores the role of space and place for entrepreneurs who have brought these two types of business together, that is, entrepreneurs who are operating online home-based businesses. Such businesses are important as the have been identified as offering a unique opportunity for experimentation and innovation are hence a source of business diversity. The also offer economic benefits both at the individual micro level and at the macro-economic level. The study, which is exploratory in nature, is undertaken by means of key informant interviews with 42 entrepreneurs who are operating online home based businesses. The study finds that whilst certain factors allow such businesses to be location independent, other factors constrain the location of the businesses, usually to the home. The study findings suggest that there is a more subtle third alternative we term ‘tethered’ businesses, that lies between these two extremes of location dependent or independent, which is more appropriate for many online home-based businesses.

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