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Title: Construction of "self" and "out-there" : the narratives and organisational development of Business Angels in Portugal and the United Kingdom
Author: Teixeira de Gouveia, R. N.
Awarding Body: Nottingham Trent University
Current Institution: Nottingham Trent University
Date of Award: 2013
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This is the first research conducted into Portuguese business angels – a term referring to informal investors – who are private wealthy individuals willing to invest a part of their own wealth in new business ventures for a profit. The business angel market is partially opaque in that many informal investors are not part of any organisation, club, or network and, therefore, they are difficult to identify (Mason and Harrison 2010; Mason and Harrison 2011). Many, however, are formally organised in clubs, associations, or networks (Amis and Stevenson 2001; Van Osnabrugge and Robinson 2000). Starting from the visible part of the market—the one linked by networks—and subsequent to the literature review, two relevant topics were identified: business angel profiles and their investment profiles. These two topics were crucial to the design of the questionnaires. Analysis of the questionnaire responses – which included the recipients of two of the most representative informal investor clubs in Portugal – helped to identify the profile of Portuguese business angels and their investments. Although the results of this research (detailed in Document 5: 3.2) could not be extrapolated to the entire Portuguese business angel community, the current research will offer future researchers another source in addition to the limited knowledge base available in this area. These findings, together with the conclusions of the literature review, were fundamental to the preparation of the semi-structured interviews, which took place in Portugal and in the United Kingdom. The research questions were designed to assess if and how the identity-construction of the business angels both in Portugal and in the UK were linked to the way in which informal investors have mapped their own “out-there”. New research areas were identified in both geographic areas during the course of the research. This is detailed in Chapter 10 of Document 5. Two major research gaps were identified in the process: first, using objectivist ontology, there was no evidence that any research had previously been performed to analyse the profile and investment characteristics of the Portuguese business angels, although there was evidence that this had been done in the UK. Second, the semi-structured interviews (framed by the questionnaires), were designed to analyse the ways in which business angels (in both geographic areas) frame their own identities; how they construct their own “out-there”; and the binding mechanisms used to link these two realities. This was another research gap that was identified in the DBA research. There are similarities among business angels in the UK and Portugal in the way that they define themselves towards the reality they have constructed, but that said, there is a significant difference in the way that business angels in the UK offer a broader perspective of their roles. Of particular significance among business angels in the UK is the way in which their “out-there” is constructed; their informal investment activities, in some cases, are not central to the narratives of the interviews. Business angels constructed themselves in a variety of ways, it was found, but in Portugal, the multivoice of the discourse was less evident. Finally, the research suggests that the higher the ranking of the interviewee within the network, the more concrete the interviewees’ perception of his own organising activities.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available