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The abject of entrepreneurship: failure, fiasco, fraud
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. (Life at Home and Sustainable Production Research Initiative, Linnaeus University, Sweden)
Copenhagen Business School, Denmark.
2014 (English)In: International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour & Research, ISSN 1355-2554, E-ISSN 1758-6534, Vol. 20, no 2, 193-211 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose– Failure as an integral part of the entrepreneurial process has recently become a hot topic. The purpose of this paper is to review this debate as expressed both in research on entrepreneurship and in the public discourse, in order to understand what kind of failure is being incorporated into the entrepreneurship discourse and what is being repressed.

Design/methodology/approach– The research design is twofold: an empirical investigation modelled as a discourse analysis is followed by a psychoanalytically inspired deconstruction of the identified hegemony. Where the discourse analysis treats what is omitted, the purpose of the psychoanalytic analysis is to point out more concretely what is being repressed from the hegemonic discourses that the first part of the paper identified.

Findings– The paper identifies a discursive shift from focusing on entrepreneurial success while at the same time negating failure, to embracing failure as a “learning experience”. Second, we trace this “fail better”-movement and identify a distinction between the “good failure” from which the entrepreneur learns, and the “bad failure” which may also imply a moral breakdown. Finally, the paper attempts to deconstruct this discourse deploying Kristeva's idea of the abject. The paper argues that the entrepreneurship discourse seeks closure through abjecting its own, real kernel, namely: the everyday, common, entrepreneurial failure. This image comprises the abject of entrepreneurship, and abject which does becomes visible, however, rarely: Bernie Madoff, Jeff Skilling, Stein Bagger.

Originality/value– This paper fulfils an identified need to study the darker and unwanted sides of entrepreneurship and extends our understanding of failure in entrepreneurial processes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014. Vol. 20, no 2, 193-211 p.
Keyword [en]
Entrepreneurship, Discourse, Failure, Abject, Entrepreneurial process, Psychoanalysis
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Economy, Ledarskap, entreprenörskap och organisation
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-51682DOI: 10.1108/IJEBR-09-2013-0143OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-51682DiVA: diva2:915823
Available from: 2016-03-31 Created: 2016-03-31 Last updated: 2016-04-01Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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More languages
Output format
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