New meanings for entrepreneurs: from risk‐taking heroes to safe‐seeking professionals

Ulla Hytti (Business Research and Development Centre, Turku School of Economics and Business Administration, Turku, Finland)

Journal of Organizational Change Management

ISSN: 0953-4814

Publication date: 1 December 2005



To underline that viewing entrepreneurship in the context of shifting career roles and professional identities, gendered organizational life and in the current societal context regarding working life (ageing, gender discrimination) provides us with new lenses and enables us to perceive the entrepreneurial identity as fluid and emergent.


A female entrepreneur's life‐story collected through a narrative interview is applied in the study. In this paper identities, organizations and societies in change form the basis for entrepreneurship. Treating entrepreneurship as a social process constrained by time and place allows it to gain new meanings and understandings of security, reliability, risk‐moderation that it has not previously seen to possess.


The paper presents the connections of time and place for entrepreneurship; first, by demonstrating how entrepreneurship as a phenomenon reflects the time and place of investigation; second, how time and place are applied as important elements in the individual story presented in the paper, and, third, how readings of time and narrative are applied to make sense of entrepreneurship in the story.

Research limitations/implications

The paper suggests that the social context (different times, places as well as, e.g. different roles, social identities and careers) should more frequently be studied within entrepreneurship research.

Practical implications

By portraying entrepreneurship from the non‐economic and non‐heroic standpoint, and reflecting the social changes that surround it, entrepreneurship is potentially made more accessible for a larger number of people.


The paper refuses the research of entrepreneurs as a general overriding, economic category and the quest for the “Theory of Entrepreneurship”.



Hytti, U. (2005), "New meanings for entrepreneurs: from risk‐taking heroes to safe‐seeking professionals", Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 594-611.

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