Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship
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Handbook of Qualitative Research Techniques and Analysis in Entrepreneurship

Edited by Helle Neergaard and Claire Leitch

This insightful Handbook introduces a variety of qualitative data collection methods and analysis techniques pertinent in exploring the complex phenomenon of entrepreneurship. Detailed and practical accounts of how to conduct research employing verbal protocol analysis, critical incident technique, repertory grids, metaphors, and the constant comparative method are provided. Scholars new to the area, doctoral students, as well as established academics keen to extend their research scope, will find this book an invaluable and timely resource.
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Chapter 13: Using repertory grid technique to explore the relationship between business founders and support agents

Anja Hagedorn


Research findings reveal that business founders have an essential impact on the implementation of routines and processes, at least in the early stages of their venture, which foster competitiveness and the ability to survive. It appears that there is a direct positive correlation between the abilities, the knowledge, and the experience of founders, defined as ‘entrepreneurial competencies’, and the survival of the firm (Kollmann 2008). Hence the more developed the competencies of founders are, ceteris paribus, the higher is the possibility of their firm’s survival. Because of this, the acquisition of individual entrepreneurial competencies is a key success factor for young entrepreneurs in setting up and maintaining a start-up. At the same time research by, for instance, Gries et al. (1997) suggests that founders have a high need of external support due to their activities, tasks as managers and founders, particularly in view of the responsibilities they assume for management and for the development of the founded enterprise. Moreover, nascent entrepreneurs know about and use various forms of external expertise, such as consultants, tax advisors, venture capitalists or business angels (Gries et al. 1997; Müller and Diensberg 2011; Tegtmeier et al. 2010; Stubner et al. 2007; Schefczyk and Gerpott 2001). For instance, a recent study shows that founders see the supporting and coaching activities of business angels as the most important benefits of using external agents, after financial support (Holi et al. 2013).

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