Making the ideal (local) entrepreneur: Place and the regional development of high-tech entrepreneurial identity

Rebecca Gill, Gregory S. Larson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Entrepreneurship research has begun to examine the construction of an occupational identity for entrepreneurs, arguing that this identity is intersected by a variety of discourses, including gender, class and race/ethnicity. Yet, these studies only partially account for the myriad ways that entrepreneurial identity, and occupational identity more broadly, may manifest across the US or globally. In this article, we discuss how high-tech entrepreneurial identities are constructed in conjunction with place-based 'transcendent' and 'locale-specific' discourses. Empirical results from two studies of high-tech entrepreneurs in the western US demonstrate that place both shapes and constrains the possibilities for constructing an 'ideal entrepreneurial self'. The implications of our research suggest: (i) the importance of 'relocating place' to understand the regional shaping of entrepreneurial identity and occupational identity; (ii) the significance of place serving as a rich organizing discourse for studies of intersectionality; and (iii) the complex ways in which entrepreneurial and occupational identities are shaped by place while simultaneously engaged in 'place-making'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)519-542
    Number of pages24
    JournalHuman Relations
    Volume67
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - May 2014

    Keywords

    • entrepreneurial identity
    • ideal self
    • identity work
    • occupational identity
    • place-making
    • Silicon Valley

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