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Entrepreneurial identity formation-in-practice: Immigrant women entrepreneurs' lived practices and experiences within gender, ethnicity and class relations
Jönköping University, Jönköping International Business School, JIBS, Center for Family Enterprise and Ownership (CeFEO).
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation, comprising four appended papers, examines what entrepreneurs actually do in order to manage the intrinsic social complexity pertaining to relations of power and culture involved in entrepreneurial undertakings. The studies share the common interest in probing into the ways inwhich fundamental social divisions and conflicts, namely gender, ethnicity and class are inscribed into the entrepreneurs through the organization of difference (Ashcraft, 2012) and how these shape and are shaped by the identity construction processes of individual entrepreneurs. The thesis provides an empirical account of entrepreneurial identity formation and its implications on shaping differential degree and the forms of entrepreneurial agency exerted by entrepreneurs by drawing on two sets of empirical materials generated through life story narratives of seventeen immigrant women entrepreneurs and some particular family business members with Turkish origin, in their involvement with entrepreneurial practices in Sweden. In overall, the thesis approximates to the notion of the individual entrepreneur in identity terms. Three major theoretical approaches, including practice theory, identity work and the feminist intersectionality framework, lay the groundwork for thinking about the relational and contextual foundation of the individual and associated identity construction processes intraversing the contexts at different temporal and spatial scales, namely individual, organizational, familial and societal.

The thesis responds to the call for relational analysis examining the entanglement of material and symbolic resources and practices to draw a more rounded picture of entrepreneurship (Tatli, Vassilopoulou, Özbilgin, Forson, & Slutskaya, 2014). It adds to this debate by highlighting the identification processes of entrepreneurs, especially of those who have been historically and relatively marginalized in their societies. This thesis connects with studies emphasizing the socio-culturally constructed, relational and contextual nature of entrepreneurship and contributes to bridging the gap between two bifurcated streams of research in entrepreneurship-constructionist approaches, e.g., discursive/ narrative accounts with practice based perspectives. I emphasize the importance of considering both complex identification processes for the benefit of practice-based analysis and material practices and resources to the greater advantage of constructionist accounts. Throughout my thesis, I suggest that the discursive and material aspects of agency and structures are inseparable. In entrepreneurship, it is imperative to transcend symbolic and material boundaries. This way, the thesis provides complementary insights to cultural studies of entrepreneurship which emphasize access either to material or cultural representations.

My first contribution concerns the generation of rich empirical accounts ofimmigrant women entrepreneurs in the particular context of migration encompassing the two cultural scenes of Turkey, where the immigrants came from, and Sweden, where they live and enterprise. The studies in the thesis demonstrate that immigrant women entrepreneurs and immigrant family members have used creative agency to sustain their struggles of entrepreneurial identity formation and capital accumulation and have effected social change indifferent terms. By combining two streams of inquiries, which have usually been undertaken separately, studying cultural representations and what an entrepreneur would do with these representations with a focus on identity formations, the thesis contributes to the reflexive entrepreneurship scholarship by examining the entrepreneurs’ own responses to hegemonic discourses where a complex set of negotiations and diverse forms of entrepreneurship could be drawn. This forms my second contribution. Finally, the analysis also leads to a discussion of processual issues, which amount to the relative advantage (privilege) and disadvantage (marginalization) in the field of entrepreneurship. My studies suggest that inequalities do not have a static and spatial position but are a dynamic and accumulated process that defines access, mobility and investment across different fields of activities made possible by the diverse histories and practices of entrepreneurs and relevant constituents.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Jönköping: Jönköping University, International Business School , 2015. , 128 p.
Series
JIBS Dissertation Series, ISSN 1403-0470 ; 106
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28581ISBN: 978-91-86345-63-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-28581DiVA: diva2:881714
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-12-11 Created: 2015-12-11 Last updated: 2016-04-05Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. "People Like Us": experiencing difference in the working life of immigrant women
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"People Like Us": experiencing difference in the working life of immigrant women
2013 (English)In: Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, ISSN 2040-7149, E-ISSN 2040-7157, Vol. 32, no 6, 575-591 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The main aim of this article is to research the lived experience of difference. In this article, we are interested in the field of working life in the context of entrepreneurship among Turkish women in Sweden.

Design/methodology/approach - The article is based on the stories of two immigrant women entrepreneurs who reflect upon their experience of working life in the context of migration to Sweden. These two stories provide a ground for a discussion regarding the responding to and re-making of difference by individual subjects. Our analysis is grounded in discursive approaches to narratives, particularly in the positioning analysis.

Findings - In our discussion, we focus on the field of work to discuss the changing conditions that affect and are affected by particular constructions of difference in a migration context. In this, we present how difference is experienced and put into use differently by the individuals, even under very similar descriptive categories of difference.

Originality/value - This article contributes with an experiential account of difference. It favors the notion of lived experiences within the intersecting structures in the analysis of complex interactions between structures, agents, times and spaces. It demonstrates the importance of attending to spatial, temporal, structural and subjective dimensions of difference.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2013
Keyword
Difference, Entrepreneurship, Immigrant women, Immigrants, Inequality, Lived experience, Storytelling, Sweden, Women
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-20581 (URN)10.1108/EDI-07-2012-0062 (DOI)
Available from: 2013-02-14 Created: 2013-02-14 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
2. Gender, ethnicity and identity work in the family business
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Gender, ethnicity and identity work in the family business
2015 (English)In: European Journal of International Management, ISSN 1751-6757, E-ISSN 1751-6765, Vol. 9, no 2, 160-178 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We study how family business members form and manage their individual identities in a family business context, attending both to individual and societal circumstances. We depart from the understanding that the institutions of family and business are media by which diverse individual and social identities are mutually enacted, formed and continuously worked out. In order to bring in a combination of important individual and societal influences and processes, we draw a framework of an identity work with a particular focus on two specific habitats of meaning: gender and ethnicity. We show that formation and management of plural identities take a distinctive form, and that the two habitats of meaning - gender and ethnicity - prove to be fundamental in organising and performing in the family business context.

Keyword
gender, ethnicity, identity work, family business, interpretive approach, qualitative research, case study, family firms
National Category
Economics and Business
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28257 (URN)10.1504/EJIM.2015.067857 (DOI)000352805600002 ()2-s2.0-84924498789 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2015-11-03 Created: 2015-11-03 Last updated: 2017-12-01Bibliographically approved
3. Entrepreneurial capital development processes within gender, ethnicity and class relations: A practice-based perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Entrepreneurial capital development processes within gender, ethnicity and class relations: A practice-based perspective
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this study, I discuss the ways in which a diverse body of entrepreneurs, especially those who are historically disadvantaged and have scarce legitimate resources, strategize and negotiate being the ‘right sort of entrepreneur’ as a party in culturally constituted social class relations. To that end, I approach cultural and symbolic capital acquisition and conversion processes as inherent elements of entrepreneurs’ everyday coping practices, as experienced by seventeen immigrant women entrepreneurs in Sweden. I offer a class analysis by paying attention to the intersectionality of ethnicity and gender in relational terms to better articulate the interdependence between the material and cultural and symbolic configurations of power relations and the ways entrepreneurs rework them.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28577 (URN)
Conference
8th International Conference in Critical Management Studies, ‘Extending the Limits of Neo-Liberal Capitalism’, July 10th -12th, 2013, Manchester, UK
Available from: 2015-12-11 Created: 2015-12-11 Last updated: 2015-12-11Bibliographically approved
4. Bridging the gap between resistance and power through agency: An empirical study of immigrant woman entrepreneurs’ ‘struggle’
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Bridging the gap between resistance and power through agency: An empirical study of immigrant woman entrepreneurs’ ‘struggle’
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this paper I discuss the intertwined relations between power and resistance based on the concept of struggle. Drawing on life story narratives of seventeen Turkish origin immigrant woman entrepreneurs venturing in Sweden, I demonstrate the results of my research on how entrepreneurs respond to intersecting forces of gender, ethnicity and class through two main forms of agency: agency of power and agency of intentions. I show that the entrepreneurs used certain tactics creatively to empower themselves to bring value and meaning to their lives.

National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-28580 (URN)
Conference
Annual Meeting of Academy of Management Conference, August 7-11, 2015, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Note

Nominated for the ‘Carolyne Dexter Award’ - The Best International Paper at Annual Meeting of Academy of Management Conference in 2015.

Available from: 2015-12-11 Created: 2015-12-11 Last updated: 2015-12-11Bibliographically approved

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