Abstract

For founders starting new ventures, demonstrating entrepreneurial competency and legitimacy to external stakeholders is crucial for the firm’s development. An important way entrepreneurs facilitate this development is through the awareness and skillful application of the symbolic dimensions of their actions. While all actions contain an intrinsic dimension that has tangible and objective properties, the symbolic dimension of actions conveys important socially constructed meanings. In the entrepreneurial context, this symbolic dimension plays an important role in how entrepreneurs are perceived and ultimately accepted or rejected by external stakeholders. Our work examines the types of symbolic actions entrepreneurs in our sample of entrepreneurial firms at various stages of growth perform and why they choose to exercise these particular actions. We work towards developing a fuller theoretical picture of how entrepreneurs employ symbolic actions within their firms for purposes above and beyond securing resources.

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