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Title: Entrepreneurial communities of practice : community, inclusion, and gender in the UK high technology startup industry
Author: Fairley, Andrew
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2018
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Since 2005 there has been a very significant increase in the numbers of accelerators, incubators, and coworking sites in the UK. These are organizational forms that support entrepreneurial practice through co-locating entrepreneurs within social networks geared towards the production of entrepreneurial new ventures. In particular, accelerators seek to enable high technology entrepreneurship and technological innovation, by providing a structured entrepreneurial pedagogic programme, equity investment, and access to a co-located workplace community of peers. However, despite this trend, to date little research has examined what is being learned within these sites. Drawing on a Communities of Practice perspective, this thesis explores entrepreneurship within these sites as a holistic phenomenon. Entrepreneurs learn not only the technical and administrative skills they need to run the business through everyday practices and interactions within these sites, but also tacit knowledge, such as norms and values, through participation in the community's practice. Furthermore, literature on women and high technology entrepreneurship has identified the ways in which women are both structurally and individually marginalized from practice. These include the masculine norms of the startup founder prototype, and the gendered differences in access to networks of funding and knowledge. However, it is not clear how their inclusion and exclusion is negotiated at the communal level. Within the context of an ethnographic study of an entrepreneurial coworking site and accelerator, this thesis provides a theoretical contribution to communities of practice theory through conceptualizing processes of inclusion and exclusion, which are determined by the modes of belonging available to an individual. Furthermore, through de-centreing the entrepreneur and analyzing entrepreneurship as a communal practice, this thesis empirically contributes to the literature on gender and high technology entrepreneurship by demonstrating how the gendered relational and care-taking work of high technology entrepreneurship was performed primarily by women within the community.
Supervisor: Baxter, Lynne ; Hunter, Carolyn Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available