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Title: Toward a theory of entrepreneurship : the significance and meaning of performance and the emotion management of entrepreneurs
Author: Shaw, Elizabeth
ISNI:       0000 0004 2702 2656
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis is concerned with how entrepreneurs’ performance - the act of impression (Goffman, 1959a), is accomplished through emotion management - the work that an individual does to manage and display situation-appropriate feelings (Hochschild, 1983). There is literature that suggests that understanding entrepreneurs’ emotion management is needed (Goss, 2008; Hampson & Junor, 2005) with Goss (2008) maintaining that entrepreneurs’ management of emotion is integral to their activities. This thesis provides the specific consideration that has been lacking. Empirically, drawing on data obtained from entrepreneur interviews, this study extends Hochschild’s (1983) list of occupations that conduct emotion management to the field of entrepreneurship. Theoretically, Hochschild’s (1983) theory of emotion management has been reconceptualised to become more interactionally sensitive. Influenced by symbolic interactionism (Blumer, 1969) with experiences, interpretations of meaning and actions drawn on to show how performance and emotion management emerge in interaction. Emotion management is conceived of as a negotiation where both ‘normative’ pressures such as the two sets of entrepreneurship feeling rules that have been identified – feeling of engagement and feeling of detachment, and interpretive conceptualisation, are taken into account in the development of a shared scheme of understanding. Goffman’s (1959a) ideas around the presentation of self have been drawn on in rendering visible entrepreneurs’ performance as embodied, relational co-operative, and professional and appropriate. Entrepreneurs are negotiators conceiving of their performance and emotion management as resourceful, negotiated, self-interpretive work. This negotiated work is a process of ‘fluid equilibrium’, that is, a dynamic continuous process of negotiation where entrepreneurs’ legitimation is produced and maintained. Entrepreneurs negotiate power dimensions drawing on strategies such as bounded disclosure where they manage the information they divulge. However the findings from this study also demonstrate that tensions and complexities can emerge resulting in lapses in performance. These are explained through issues of ambivalence towards emotion management, ambiguity over social boundaries and inadequacy in managing information flow.
Supervisor: Simpson, R. ; Valsecchi, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Act of impression ; Symbolic interactionism ; Negotiation ; Interpretive conceptualisation ; Legitimation