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Becoming, being and belonging entrepreneurial establishment: alternative views of the social construction of entrepreneurship

Wade, Glenis and Smith, Robert and Anderson, Alistair R. (2003) Becoming, being and belonging entrepreneurial establishment: alternative views of the social construction of entrepreneurship. UNSPECIFIED. Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

This paper is concerned with extending our understanding of the entrepreneurial process. Taking a fresh look at the mature stages of entrepreneurship process, the study looks at, being an entrepreneur and belonging to a recognisable grouping of entrepreneurs. Previous entrepreneurship research focused upon the entrepreneur of humble origins. We use a narrative approach for the semiotic analysis of entrepreneurs' storyboards at the BABSON College Centre for Entrepreneurial Excellence hall of fame in the USA. Exploring ideologies lying behind the semiotic displays of individual entrepreneurs' storyboards, we unveil the symbolic presentations. The paper discusses different levels of analysis and shows how entrepreneurial ideology can be transmitted. We find that the storyboards of entrepreneurs assist as a heuristic and semiotic mechanism for transmitting the important cultural issues such as values, tradition and heritage. Because of this, we propose that the established entrepreneurial elite play a central role in the social construction of entrepreneurship. They do as role models and in so doing build, develop and perpetuate the tradition of entrepreneurship. Surprisingly we find a tradition of entrepreneurship, as this is a paradoxical position for non-traditional nature of the entrepreneurship. Yet, the social cherishment of enterprise presents a set of individual actions so that a tradition, a behavioural tradition, exists about socially and economically revered sets of activities surrounding the entrepreneurial process. Knowing how and where entrepreneurial values are communicated helps the understanding of entrepreneurial learning. The wider implications of the study are that it aids attempts to improve the social construction of the entrepreneurial mindset.

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