Uncovering Patterns of Narrative Identity Work in Serial Entrepreneurship: A Longitudinal Mixed-Method Study
30 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2016
Date Written: February 2, 2016
Narrative Identity Work (NIW) is a crucial activity to garner support for and develop new projects. Entrepreneurs can use NIW as a communication device to “connect” their projects with relevant external audiences, but they need to be able to strike a balance between legitimacy and distinctiveness in their narrations. This task is even more challenging for serial entrepreneurs as they tend to wear multiple hats across different ventures facing the potential unintended consequence of displacing audiences. As this topic is rather underdeveloped in entrepreneurship research, we conduct an exploratory study to investigate the NIW “at play” over a 23 year span of a successful serial entrepreneur’s ongoing career. We analyzed a dataset of 203 texts including either interviews or the publications’ authors’ voices released through different media to reconstruct NIW’s mechanisms with a potential relevance for projects’ legitimacy and differentiation. A combination of interpretive qualitative techniques and semantic network analysis, a new analytical technique introduced here for entrepreneurship scholars, has been used to generate and illustrate our results.
Keywords: Narratives, Identity, Entrepreneurship. Identity Work, Semantic Network Analysis
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation