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Article
Publication date: 6 December 2017

Robert Smith

The literature of entrepreneurship has an urban focus and despite the emergence of the rural entrepreneurship literature, we know little about the characteristics…

Abstract

Purpose

The literature of entrepreneurship has an urban focus and despite the emergence of the rural entrepreneurship literature, we know little about the characteristics, philosophies, operating practices and growth strategies of ordinary village entrepreneurs’ in a UK context. As a concept, the “village entrepreneur” is contentious as theoretically there should be little difference between urban and rural entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, there is! The concept is important because many villages are in decline and are marginal places in terms of entrepreneurial opportunity. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

A review of the fragmented literature is conducted to synthesise and develop greater understanding. Drawing on a “life-story” approach the empirical strand comprises of an analysis of five ethnographic interviews with village entrepreneurs.

Findings

The respondents did not consider themselves entrepreneurs whom they characterised as flash, rogues and even crooked. Their embedded village entrepreneur persona was constructed around tales-of-character, hard work and perseverance. They prided themselves in making “slow-money” which they retain over their lifetime. Embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality were key themes encountered.

Research limitations/implications

From a research perspective the findings are based on a limited sample and the study was not specifically designed to capture data on characteristics, philosophies and operating practices. Further research on a larger scale is necessary to validate the findings.

Practical implications

From a practical perspective policy makers require to consider the notions of embeddedness, self-efficacy, character and morality when considering implementing growth strategies in rural areas.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the growing literature of rural entrepreneurship by expanding the typology of rural entrepreneurs and by detailing philosophies, operating practices, and growth strategies suitable and appropriate for small village and rural businesses.

Details

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2554

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 October 2014

Robert Smith

The purpose of this paper is to explore the under researched interface between entrepreneur and family business stories and in particular the form and structure of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the under researched interface between entrepreneur and family business stories and in particular the form and structure of second-generation entrepreneur stories. It illustrates how second-generation entrepreneur stories can be (co)authored to narrate an alternative entrepreneurial identity within a family business setting.

Design/methodology/approach

From a desk based review of relevant literature a number of conceptual storyline models are developed and these are used to better understand second-generation entrepreneur/family business stories.

Findings

The authorial process allows individual family members the freedom to craft contingent stories which fit their circumstances. The paper also examines the research process of co-authoring research with respondents and how this adds value to the process. The findings are mainly relevant to theory building.

Research limitations/implications

There are obvious limitations to the study in that the conceptual model is only compared against one second-generation entrepreneur story and that clearly further research must be conducted to establish the veracity of the storyline models developed.

Practical implications

There are some very practical implications in relation to conflict resolution within family businesses in that the storying process allows individuals the freedom to author their own stories and place in family and family business history.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the contribution that an understanding of the interface between entrepreneur and family business stories can bring to understanding this complex dynamic.

Details

Journal of Family Business Management, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2043-6238

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 March 2009

Rob Smith

Family businesses do not perpetuate themselves. Entrepreneurs must nurture and propagate the values that led to the creation of the very thing most precious to them‐their…

Abstract

Family businesses do not perpetuate themselves. Entrepreneurs must nurture and propagate the values that led to the creation of the very thing most precious to them‐their business.This of course depends on stability. Nor do these cherished values propagate themselves. To be made meaningful for others, and for future generations, family experiences, values, and achievements must be communicated to others via language, narrative and storytelling, or other forms embedded in the narrative such as symbols. Often a variety of different socially constructed stories may be necessary contingent upon situation, purpose, or need.

Details

New England Journal of Entrepreneurship, vol. 12 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2574-8904

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Article
Publication date: 8 June 2015

Robert A Smith and Helle Neergaard

This paper aims to explore the “Fellowship-Tale” as an alternative tale type for narrating entrepreneur stories. The authors illustrate this by telling the Pilgrim…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the “Fellowship-Tale” as an alternative tale type for narrating entrepreneur stories. The authors illustrate this by telling the Pilgrim business story. It is common for the deeds of men who founded businesses to be narrated as heroic entrepreneur stories. Such fairy tales are dominant narratives in Western culture but do not resonate with everyone, particularly women. Consequentially, many businesswomen do not engage in the rhetoric of enterprise.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative, analytic approaches adopted in this study include narratology, semiotics and aesthetics. This complementary triage helps us appreciate the complexity of entrepreneur stories while unravelling the nuances of the tale. It also permits triangulation of the data gathered from an in-depth interview of the respondent with newspaper and Internet research.

Findings

The research indicates that “fellowship-tales” provide a viable and credible alternative to the fairy-tale rendition common in entrepreneur and business stories.

Research limitations/implications

An obvious limitation is that one merely swaps one narrative framework for another, albeit it offers dissenting voices a real choice.

Practical implications

This study has the potential to be far reaching because at a practical level, it allows disengaged entrepreneurs and significant others the freedom to exercise their individual and collective voices within a framework of nested stories.

Originality/value

A key contribution is to challenge the hegemony of a dominant and embedded social construct allowing new understandings to emerge via a novel combination of research methodologies.

Details

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, vol. 7 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-6266

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2013

Robert Smith

This research paper aims to examine how organized criminals rescript their identities to engage with entrepreneurship discourse when authoring their biographies. From a…

Abstract

Purpose

This research paper aims to examine how organized criminals rescript their identities to engage with entrepreneurship discourse when authoring their biographies. From a sociological perspective, stereotypes and social constructs of the entrepreneur and the criminal are subjects of recurring interest. Yet, despite the prevalence of the stereotype of the entrepreneur as a hero-figure in the entrepreneurship literature and the conflation of the entrepreneur with the stereotype of the businessman, notions of entrepreneurial identity are not fixed with constructions of the entrepreneur as a rascal, rogue or villain being accepted as alternative social constructs.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative approaches of “biographical analysis” and “close reading” adopted help us draw out discursive strategies.

Findings

The main finding is that a particular genre of criminal biographies can be re-read as entrepreneur stories. The theme of nuanced entrepreneurial identities and in particular gangster discourse is under researched. In this study, by conducting a close reading of contemporary biographies of British criminals, the paper encounters self-representations of criminals who seek to author an alternative and more appealing social identity as entrepreneurs. That this re-scripting of personal biographies to make gangster stories conform to the genre of entrepreneur stories is of particular interest.

Research limitations/implications

This study points to similarities and differences between criminal and entrepreneurial biographies. It also presents sociological insights into an alternative version of entrepreneurial identity and sociological constructions of the criminal as entrepreneur.

Practical implications

This research provides an insight into how criminals seek to legitimise their life-stories.

Originality/value

This research paper is of value in that it is the first to consider contemporary biographies of British criminals as entrepreneurship discourse. Understanding how criminal biographies and entrepreneur stories share similar socially constructed themes, storylines and epistemologies contribute to the development of entrepreneurship and sociological research by examining entrepreneurship in an unusual social setting.

Details

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, vol. 7 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1750-6204

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2005

Ulla Hytti

To underline that viewing entrepreneurship in the context of shifting career roles and professional identities, gendered organizational life and in the current societal…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 18 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2011

Robert Smith and Gerard McElwee

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of shame in entrepreneurship. Extant research in relation to the entrepreneurial process has tended to concentrate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of shame in entrepreneurship. Extant research in relation to the entrepreneurial process has tended to concentrate upon the entrepreneur as hero and other positive aspects of the process. Consequently, the darker sides of the entrepreneurial personality and enterprise culture such as the role of shame remain a relatively under researched facet of entrepreneurship theory. Despite this dearth of actual empirical studies, the negative aspects of entrepreneurial behaviour associated with the “flawed hero model of entrepreneurship” are implicitly understood. These negative aspects include hubris, tragedy, narcissism, over‐stretching, hedonism, personality disorders, status anxiety, self‐centeredness, destructive relationships, alcoholism, suicide and the most heinous of all, business failure.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper considers the deeply social phenomenon of shame on the entrepreneur and his or her world by developing a conceptual model of shame. The social script of shame is analysed as found in novels and as found in real life newspaper reports of such epic tragedies, using a chosen methodology of narrative analysis.

Findings

The world portrayed in narrative is very much a “man's world” in which shame is a personal construct, a penance to be endured or ended and in the process a narrative script is developed. Shame is a deeply personal cognitive emotion easier to study in narrative than in person. From the stories of flawed heroes we construct a holistic model of possible entrepreneurial trajectories that take cognisance of wellbeing issues and cover the unspoken events that occur after a fall from grace. But why should we expect the story to end with the entrepreneur in crisis staring into the abyss?

Originality/value

Little previous work has been undertaken to explore entrepreneurial shame using both the entrepreneurship literature and narrative analysis.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 31 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 June 2009

Robert Smith

Many “Divas” despite possessing destructive character traits ironically become successful entrepreneurs thus illustrating an alternative “storied” social construction of…

Abstract

Purpose

Many “Divas” despite possessing destructive character traits ironically become successful entrepreneurs thus illustrating an alternative “storied” social construction of entrepreneurship. This influences how female entrepreneurs are perceived in the popular press and can be manipulated as an alternative entrepreneurial reality. The purpose of this paper is to build upon research into entrepreneurial identity introducing the “Diva” concept.

Design/methodology/approach

The qualitative methodological approach involves an analysis of biographies of famous Diva's to identify common themes; and an internet trawl to identify supplementary micro‐biographies and newspaper articles on “Divas”. This tripartite approach allows rich data to be collected permitting a comparative analysis.

Findings

This empirical paper presents the socially constructed nature of entrepreneurial narrative and the “Diva storyline” demonstrating the influence of journalistic licence upon how successful women are portrayed. The paper adds incremental credence to power of male‐dominated journalistic practices to vilify enterprising behaviour to sell newspapers.

Research limitations/implications

An obvious limitation to the work is that the sample of articles and biographies selected were chosen via search parameters which mention the word “Diva”. Nevertheless, there is scope for further “more detailed” research into the phenomenon to flesh out the model built in this preliminary paper.

Practical implications

An important implication for scholars and journalists is the need to reconsider how we tell and decode entrepreneur stories. As researchers, we need to recognise that there are other avenues for women to become entrepreneurs than to become businesswomen and that it is alright for women to reject the “entrepreneur” label.

Originality/value

This paper informs our understanding of the socially constructed nature of how we tell, understand and appreciate entrepreneur stories. It thus makes a unique contribution by illustrating that the storylines which constitute the “Diva cycle” are constructed from the same storylines that we associate with entrepreneur stories but narrated in a different order. It provides another heuristic device for understanding the social construction of gendered entrepreneurial identities making it of interest to feminist scholars of entrepreneurship and to social constructionists alike.

Details

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, vol. 1 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-6266

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Robert Smith

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the aesthetic dimension of entrepreneur poems. The notion of the entrepreneur as storyteller, and the entrepreneur story as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the aesthetic dimension of entrepreneur poems. The notion of the entrepreneur as storyteller, and the entrepreneur story as cultural genres have become so firmly entrenched in the collective social consciousness that little consideration is given to the existence of other narrative genres, such as business poetry as expressions, or manifestations of enterprising behaviour and indeed identities. Poetry, like art, possesses aesthetic dimensions which make it difficult to theorize and analyze. Indeed, as a genre, poetry seldom features as a heuristic device for better understanding entrepreneurial behaviour or learning. This is surprising because poetry in particular is a wonderfully creative and expressive narrative medium and accordingly, many entrepreneurs engage in writing poetry as a form of creative expression.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study the author considers the entrepreneur as poet and from a reading of the literatures of entrepreneurship and aesthetics develops an aesthetic framework for analysing entrepreneur poetry which is used to analyze six poems written by entrepreneurs or about entrepreneurs.

Findings

That poetry has value in terms of entrepreneurial learning because of its atheoretical nature it permits listeners to experience the emotion and passion of lived entrepreneurial experiences and to relive these vicariously. In particular entrepreneur poems are a variant form of entrepreneur story devoid of the usual cliché.

Research limitations/implications

There are obvious limitations to the study in that the analysis of six poems can merely scratch the surface and that aesthetic analysis is by its very nature subjective and open to interpretation. The study opens up possibilities for further research into entrepreneur poems, the aesthetics of other non-standard entrepreneur narratives and consideration of the aesthetic elements of entrepreneurship per se. Poetics and aesthetics are areas of narrative understanding ripe for further empirical research.

Originality/value

The paper is original in terms of creating an aesthetic framework used to analyze entrepreneur poems. Indeed, little consideration had previously been given to the topic.

Details

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1462-6004

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 October 2014

Philip Roundy

The purpose of this study is to focus on how narratives are used to acquire social venture resources. Social entrepreneurship is a phenomenon of increasing significance. A…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to focus on how narratives are used to acquire social venture resources. Social entrepreneurship is a phenomenon of increasing significance. A key challenge for social ventures is resource acquisition. However, how social entrepreneurs gather the resources necessary to grow their organizations is not clear.

Design/methodology/approach

This topic is examined using a multi-study, inductive, theory-building design based on 121 interviews, observation and archival data. In Study 1, 75 entrepreneurs, investors and ancillary participants were interviewed in the social enterprise sector. In Study 2, case studies of eight technology-focused social ventures were constructed.

Findings

The result of this study is a framework explaining how differences in entrepreneurs’ narrative tactics and characteristics are associated with differences in their resource acquisition success. Specifically, from Study 1, this paper develops a typology of social enterprise narratives, identifies three narrative-types (personal, social-good and business) and shows that they possess unique elements. Evidence from Study 2 suggests that the three narrative-types serve as the building blocks for communication with external stakeholders.

Originality/value

These findings contribute to three studies that formed the basis of the study – social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial resource acquisition and organizational narrative theory – and have implications for work on competing organizational logics. They also produce several practical implications for social entrepreneurs.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

Keywords

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