Negotiating entrepreneurial identity: communities of practice and changing discourses
The International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 5, (1), .
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This paper focuses on the negotiation of identity in case studies of four women undergoing career change in the UK. The triple nexus between identity as a reflexive journey, entrepreneurship as a social process and communities of practice is established and provides a powerful means of exploring the dynamics of the entrepreneurial transition. The paper examines how identity is constructed and reconstructed during their trajectory from one mode of work to another, as they acknowledged, and were acknowledged by, shifting communities of practice. The central argument of the paper is that the women were at times constituted as entrepreneurs by a powerful discourse, but that their first priority was to be recognized and legitimized as professionals as they engaged with particular communities of practice. Further, they rework these discourses with an impact not just at the level of their own individual experience, but also at network level through interaction with their community of practice. The study uses narrative analysis to provide insights into the processes and practices that have constituted their experience. The purpose of the paper is to contribute to an understanding of the early stages of entrepreneurial activity; this may be of benefit to policy makers, support services and educators, as well as the academic community. Theoretically, it is demonstrated that the notion of the community of practice has value in developing a processual understanding of the entrepreneurial transition.
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