The influence of the 'phase of ease' on cross‐ border activity of entrepreneurs : How entrepreneurs from Gelderland can be stimulated to move from the phase of ease towards a fully aware decision‐making process on activity across the German border

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Provincie Gelderland wants to realize its ambition of a sustainable and international competitive economy in Gelderland through the programme 'Topsectoren en Innovatie' on the basis of strong innovative food‐, health‐ and manufacturing sectors. Provincie Gelderland therefore has the aim to internationalise so that the economy of Gelderland gets a direct positive impulse. A single market has been one of the main aims of the European Union (EU) right from the start and the EU offers a lot of possibilities for economic cross‐border activity, but this has not resulted in the desired amount of economic cross‐border activities. A reason for this cross‐border inactivity of can be found in theory on the threshold of indifference. This term means that a large number of people do not have the border in their mindset and thus do not include the border in their decision‐making process. After doing research on the influence of the threshold of indifference on entrepreneurs in the Dutch‐ German borderlands, Van de Griend argued that there is a transitional phase in which possibilities across the German border have a slight part at the background of consideration, but are almost directly shoved away because cross‐border activity is an uneasy option. Van de Griend calls this the 'phase of ease', which helps to explain the inactivity of his respondents out of a tendency toward comfort. The 'phase of ease' is a relatively new term and has not been given a lot of scientific attention yet. In this research I focus on the process of moving from the phase of ease towards a fully aware decision‐making process on cross‐border activity, by doing research on entrepreneurs of SMEs from Gelderland and their activity across the German border. This results in the following research objective: To gain understanding in how entrepreneurs make the step from the phase of ease to a fully aware consideration of cross‐border activity and in the way that government institutions can influence this step, by analysing entrepreneurs' experiences with the phase of ease.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen