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Entreprenørers fortellinger: en identitetsstudie i det opplevelsesbaserte reiselivet
Karlstad University, Faculty of Social and Life Sciences, Department of Social Studies.
2011 (Norwegian)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Entrepreneurs' narratives : a study of identity in experience-based tourism (English)
Abstract [en]

This is a narrative study in which five entrepreneurs in the experience-based tourist industry have told their life-stories in connection with their establishing and running their own enterprises.   Over the last decades the number of adventure-based companies has markedly increased in tourist industry, but the knowledge gained through the research on the persons who establish these companies is scant.  Through focusing on the constructions of  identity of the entrepreneurs, this study gives nuanced pictures of the chain of events that had lead an individual to establish one`s own company.  In addition, these pictures offer deeper understanding of how these individuals perceive themselves as the founder and manager of an experience-based company.

Over the last decades research in entrepreneurship has criticized the imbalanced focus on the entrepreneurs' personal characteristics and it's use as an explanation of their entrepreneurial activities. In the same critical vein I question whether motivational studies are able to explain why certain individuals choose to establish their own business. Indeed, these five stories show that an entrepreneur is not something one is but something one becomes.

Although the concept of an experiential economy appeared at the end of the 1990s, the production of experiences has a long tradition in the tourist industry. Norwegian tourism has faced an uphill struggle for several decades, which worries both the authorities and the industry itself.  In recent decades the focus has been directed more and more on the dimension of experience. One hopes that the creation of new and attractive adventures will help to reverse the negative trend in the industry.  Effecting this reversal places a heavy responsibility on the entrepreneurs since they are to be the driving force in this process. Tourist adventures have been one of several core themes within the field of research in tourism for decades, but this focus has mainly been on the perspective of the consumer. In contrast, this study concentrates on the producers, a group about whom we know much less.

The five entrepreneurs who tell their story in this study give detailed descriptions of their life until the establishment of their businesses, and we see that each of them describes a number of causal chains that are interwoven and together create a meaningful picture of their choice. Through focusing on their reflexive identity-constructions and viewing these in light of the concrete situations they were in, before they established their enterprises, we gain a deeper understanding of this choice.

Through the process of categorizing these reflexive identity-constructions, three  distinct ontological positions emerge, that is, different ways in understanding reality. The study shows that there is a connection between these ontological positions and the ways that the entrepreneurs run their businesses, as well as their understanding of how they create and produce adventures for their guests.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet , 2011. , 270 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2011:44
Keyword [en]
entrepreneurs, life story, identity studies, experience-based tourism
Keyword [no]
entreprenører, livsberättelse, identitets studier, opplevelsesbasert turisme
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-8207ISBN: 978-91-7063-379-9OAI: diva2:439860
Public defence
2011-11-18, Rejmersalen, 9C 204, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2011-10-27 Created: 2011-09-09 Last updated: 2011-10-27Bibliographically approved

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