Does entrepreneur perception of the city’s decline matter to place attachment?

James M. Wilkerson, Frank M. Sorokach, Marwan A. Wafa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the association between local entrepreneurs’ perception of the city’s decline and their place attachment (measured in terms of commitment to the declining city and sense of how the declining city compares to other cities). Design/methodology/approach: The authors surveyed entrepreneurs in a relatively small sample (N = 105) from a declining city of about 78,000 residents in the USA. Findings: The authors found significant inverse correlations and found that, after controlling for length of residency, the entrepreneur’s perception of the city’s decline predicted lower place attachment. The authors also tested a moderation hypothesis and observed that, whereas professional-service entrepreneurs with both stronger and weaker perceptions of the city’s decline showed similar place attachment, non-professional entrepreneurs showed significantly more variation, displaying both the highest place attachment when weak in perceptions of the city’s decline and the lowest place attachment when strong in perceptions of the city’s decline. Research limitations/implications: The authors discuss implications for place attachment, place image and place branding research, as well as for the study of place context’s effects on entrepreneurship. Practical implications: Results hold implications for place branding’s participative development and for reasons to expect some difficulty in place branding when the context is a declining city. Originality/value: Relative to prior research in place management, the research features a neglected segment of the city’s population, business owners, to study place attachment. Relative to prior entrepreneurship research, the authors advance the study of context’s effects on entrepreneurship by extending it to the place context of declining cities, which are not usually featured in entrepreneurship studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-422
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Place Management and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 23 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management
  • Marketing


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