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An exploration of entrepreneurs' identities and business growth

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The purpose of this study is to understand whether types of identity are more likely to be present before and during business growth. This study collects data from six entrepreneurs and adopts an interpretivist approach using Van Gennep’s theory of transitions to explore the challenges faced by entrepreneurs after start-up and during business growth. The findings show that business growth challenges an entrepreneur through their identities, as they aspire to achieve their personal goals and reach self-fulfilment. These multiple identities consist of entrepreneurial, manager, personal, and social identities, along with their role within the business. This research concludes by discussing the managerial implications for entrepreneurs and policy makers. It recommends for entrepreneurs to receive a combination of personal and business support, especially during more uncertain, highly pressured, and more complex times.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBusiness Horizons
Early online date28 Feb 2020
Publication statusEarly online - 28 Feb 2020


  • GORDON-WILSON_2019_cright_BH_An Exploration of Entrepreneurs' Identities and Business Growth

    Rights statement: NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Business Horizons, (2019), DOI: 10.1016/j.bushor.2020.02.003

    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 463 KB, PDF document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 28/02/23

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