A taxonomy of rural micro-enterprises: Disembedded or bedrock of the community

Karen Wilson, Shelley Harrington, Alex Kevill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper develops a taxonomy of rural micro-enterprises based on their level of embeddedness in the rural. Drawing upon 19 in-depth narrative interviews we identify the classifications of ‘bedrock’, ‘anchored’, ‘disembedded’ and ‘perfunctory’ enterprises. This offers a new categorisation of rural micro-enterprises and challenges the notion that all rural micro-enterprises add value to the rural economy. Indeed, ‘disembedded’ rural micro-enterprises may have parasitical tendencies and be negative contributors to rural economic sustainability due to the actions and choices made by their owner-manager(s). Through the creation of an empirically and conceptually grounded taxonomy we reveal a number of important attributes which develop understanding of the nature of rural micro-enterprises and highlight the varied activities of such businesses. The implications of the taxonomy are discussed, and important policy implications are identified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)188-202
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Issue number3
Early online date12 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022


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