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The Discursive Construction of Entrepreneurial Identities: Solving Dilemmas and Moving Forward as Identity Practices
Mälardalen University, School of Sustainable Development of Society and Technology.
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering.
2010 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Becoming an entrepreneur seems to be an endless topic in entrepreneurship research. In other words the question posed (often implicitly, but sometimes explicitly (e.g. Burns, 2005) is: can one become an entrepreneur, or are we born to be entrepreneurs? This is the story line that seems to have imbued the entrepreneurship discourse as one of the basic assumptions that works as a back-drop in writings on entrepreneurship, and is consequently often generally taken for granted. Moving away from the idea of the “born-to-become” entrepreneur there is a claim for other epistemological standpoints (e.g. Jennings et al., Lindgren and Packendorff, 2009). As well there has been some interest regarding how entrepreneurs are socially constructed (e.g. Goss, 2005), by different discourses in society (Berglund, 2006), a process that can be described as both complex and multi-faceted, going beyond notions from ‘entrepreneurial’ discourses (Watson, 2000), and which not always construct the heroic figure that is depicted by the entrepreneurship discourse (Kets de Vries, 1986, Shepard and Haynie, 2009).

In this paper we aim to develop knowledge on the discursive construction of identity when it comes to an entrepreneurial setting that is multi-faceted. From following an entrepreneur on her journey in developing a business that could both be described as traditional (commercial) entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship (fair trade) it is obvious that becoming an entrepreneur does not come from any prescribed recipe. On the contrary, entering an entrepreneurial route is followed by a number of identity dilemmas. Thus, we will elaborate on some examples considering how the CEO of Oria is challenged by different dilemmas when she combines the social part and the commercial part of her entrepreneurship in constructing an entrepreneurial identity. First we will discuss entrepreneurship from different logics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Social Entrepreneurship, Fair Trade, discourse, identity
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Industrial Economics and Organisations
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-14705OAI: diva2:532548
Företagsekonomisk ämneskonferens i Kalmar och Växjö den 1-2 december 2010: Entreprenörskapets olika dräkter.
Organisering av Samhällsentreprenörskap i Sverige
Available from: 2012-06-12 Created: 2012-06-11 Last updated: 2012-06-12Bibliographically approved

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Schwartz, BirgittaBerglund, Karin
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