The entrepreneur as hero and jester: enacting the entrepreneurial discourse.
Anderson, Alistair R.
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Employing a social construction perspective, we argue that entrepreneurs are uniquely empowered by entrepreneurial discourse to bring about creative destruction. Analysis of the representation of entrepreneurship in the media suggests that entrepreneurs have a distinctive presence in society that is shaped by cultural norms and expectations. These images create and present an entrepreneurial identity. Yet identity has two facets; the general, identified as “what” but also a distinctive individual identity as “who”. We explore the identity play of one flamboyant entrepreneur, Michael O’Leary, to show how he deploys the rhetoric and rationality of the entrepreneurial discourse but shapes it through emotional games to establish his unique entrepreneurial identity. We find that strong evidence that entrepreneurs are cultural stereotypical and that this is amplified by the press. But we also found how O’Leary employed this typification to engage with the rational and the emotional. We explain how this is used for strategic advantage.