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Thriving or struggling: the construction and performance of male entrepreneurs’ identity narratives

Munthe, T. (2021). Thriving or struggling: the construction and performance of male entrepreneurs’ identity narratives. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Narratives of selfhood can offer valuable insight into the personal and professional experiences of male entrepreneurs that act as either threats to, or protective factors against psychological distress. The identity constructed through an individuals’ telling of their life story reveals much about their self-concept and about how they situate themselves in relation to the challenges of their chosen career. Identity was considered here through a social constructionist lens; thus, self-concept, identity performance and sociocultural context were central. Using a narrative analytic framework, the following study employed semi structured interviews, conducted from a life-course perspective, with seven UK-based male entrepreneurs who had engaged in psychotherapy. Participants were sourced via a flyer (Appendix G) posted on various social media platforms and distributed through friends and acquaintances in the entrepreneur community. The principal findings were as follows: (1) participants’ constructions of childhood and adolescent self contained the seeds of entrepreneurial identity; (2) two distinct overarching narratives of either thriving or struggling were observed within the participant group; and (3) meaningful relational support was associated with self-knowledge and identity integration amongst participants whose narratives suggested they were thriving. The discussion focuses on what insight can be drawn from the content and manner of participants’ narrations in relation to both risk factors and protective factors that impact their psychological health. Some conclusions are made regarding the importance of relational support and therapeutic engagement.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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