Identity as a causal power: contextualising entrepreneurs’ concerns

Eva Kašperová, John Kitching, Robert Blackburn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We propose a critical realist-informed conception of entrepreneurial identity – the personal power to create a new venture. Although most people have the power to become an entrepreneur, not everyone can, or is motivated to, realize that potential. Other countervailing powers – personal, material and social – can constrain, or discourage, action. Utilizing a stratified, emergent ontology, we contextualize entrepreneurial identity within three analytical orders – natural, practical and social. We distinguish personal identity, the set of concerns in the three orders that motivate action, from social identity, the roles we commit to in society. While entrepreneurial identity is a type of social identity, the underlying concerns that motivate commitment to an entrepreneurial role cannot be reduced to social interaction alone. The concept of internal conversation is used to theorize the connection of entrepreneurial motivation, context and behaviour. We draw on qualitative data from three UK-based disabled entrepreneurs to demonstrate the value of our framework.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-249
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Issue number4
Early online date19 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018


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