A Grounded Theory of Portfolio Working: Experiencing the Smallest of Small Businesses

Posted: 10 Nov 2009

See all articles by Michael Clinton

Michael Clinton

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Peter Totterdell

University of Sheffield

Stephen J. Wood

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2006

Abstract

Portfolio work is becoming a common form ofself-employment. A common definition of a portfolio worker is a self-employedfreelance worker who is employed by a number of organizations or clients on ashort-term basis, either in series or parallel. Using a constructivist groundedtheory methodology, this studydevelops a model and theory about thenature of portfolio work and the ways in which portfolio workers experiencetheir way of working. The study was based on semi-structured interviews with 26portfolio workers in Great Britain. Key features of portfolio work incorporated in this model areself-management of that work, independent income generation, a variety ofemployers or clients, and working outside a single organization. Portfolio workwas characterized by the processes of autonomy, uncertainty, and socialisolation. Aspects of the workers' lives affected by portfolio work were workintensity, work-life balance, and well-being. Personal characteristics conducive to successful portfolio working areself-confidence, low disposition to anxiety, and self-motivation. Thestudy reinforces the view that portfolio work is satisfying when financialsecurity and control over work that is done exists. (TNM)

Keywords: Portfolio entrepreneurs, Family-work relations, Independent contractors, Autonomy, Uncertainty, Self-employment, Background (biographical), Psychological traits

Suggested Citation

Clinton, Michael and Totterdell, Peter and Wood, Stephen J., A Grounded Theory of Portfolio Working: Experiencing the Smallest of Small Businesses (2006). University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1503246

Michael Clinton (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Peter Totterdell

University of Sheffield ( email )

Department of Psychology
Western Bank
Sheffield, Sheffield S102TP
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.shef.ac.uk/psychology/staff/academic/peter-totterdell

Stephen J. Wood

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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