Narratives of Enterprise

Narratives of Enterprise

Crafting Entrepreneurial Self-Identity in a Small Firm

Simon Down

Simon Down’s timely ethnographic study takes a philosophically reflective and empirically detailed look at the way in which enterprising people use narrative resources to construct their identity as entrepreneurs. The book draws on a wide range of intellectual sources, from naturalistic philosophy and social-psychology to sociology and organisational theory.

Chapter 3: Relationships

Simon Down

Subjects: business and management, entrepreneurship, organisation studies


Strangely for a story to be so minutely focused on just two individuals our main characters so far lack the substance they require if we are to get to know how Paul and John go about crafting their enterprising selves. We are in dire need of some life content stuff: we need a setting. This chapter begins a process that will see texture, depth and meaning added to the episodes and events of Paul and John’s working lives. This first of four empirical chapters examines Paul and John’s talk of their social relations and what this means for their self-identities and their sense of themselves as entrepreneurs. In the process we will get to know Paul and John. We will also begin seeking meaning beyond what people say and do. This is an inherently speculative endeavour. The argument I make, anyone’s argument, requires at least a small skip of faith. The verbal footprints their narratives have imprinted through my research are indistinct. They require analysis and the proper place for argument is bound up with the narratives, bound up with Paul and John’s story. COURTING: GETTING TO KNOW ONE ANOTHER Paul and John first met when John became an employee of Harbourco. Paul had worked there for a number of years since his early twenties. Paul had earlier been keen to leave the middle-England town of Maltonbury; keen to leave parents and those school friends content to remain. He was following the same Whittington trail that I too had followed,...

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