To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Liminality and the entrepreneurial firm: Practice renewal during periods of radical change

Nicole Gross (College of Business, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)
Susi Geiger (College of Business, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland)

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research

ISSN: 1355-2554

Article publication date: 13 March 2017

690

Abstract

Purpose

Focussing on the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship, the purpose of this paper is to advance an understanding of entrepreneurial practice in phases of radical change, which the authors conceptualize as periods of liminality. A particular focus on the management of tension is taken to investigate destabilization of practices, sources of resistance and enablers of change during shifts from a familiar past into an unfamiliar and uncertain future.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory longitudinal study of a single case firm was conducted to study the entrepreneurial change process during radical transition phases. To understand and theorize liminality and practice renewal in the entrepreneurial firm, the authors leveraged data collection tools from ethnography and engaged in data analysis inspired by grounded theory.

Findings

The authors build a process model of becoming that maps the following processes: destabilizing incumbent practices, sources of resistance and enablers of change, acceptance of upheaval and trying on a new state of being. A research agenda for future research in this area is also formulated.

Originality/value

The research contributes to contemporary entrepreneurship-as-practice research and to research considering the concept of liminality in entrepreneurship. Through processual theory building based on empirical research, the authors highlight that simultaneously handling the practices of the past whilst breeding new trajectories in an unknown future create tensions that can make or break the entrepreneurial firm.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge the Dublin Institute of Technology for the funding that it has provided for this research. The authors are also grateful to Professor David Carson, Dr Katrina Lawlor and Dr Claire McBride for their advice and feedback.

Citation

Gross, N. and Geiger, S. (2017), "Liminality and the entrepreneurial firm: Practice renewal during periods of radical change", International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, Vol. 23 No. 2, pp. 185-209. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-02-2016-0049

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles