Abstract

Entrepreneurial identities are cognitive schemas of interpretations and behavioral meanings that characterize entrepreneurs (Shepherd & Haynie, 2009; Murnieks, Mosakowski and Cardon, 2012). Entrepreneurs refer to themselves through self-categorization that establishes meanings and expectations associated with that role. Entrepreneurs’ self-identity is comprised by their action- orientation as innovators and risk-takers, and by their peripheral characteristics as organizers, facilitators and communicators. Entrepreneurs maintain two contradictory needs: distinctiveness and a need to differentiate the self-identity and a need for inclusiveness and belonging to a particular social group (Shepherd and Haynie, 2009). Anderson and Warren (2011) argue that entrepreneurs face the paradoxical identities sameness and otherness. Although entrepreneurs have multiple and paradoxical micro-identities, they are expected to present identity synergy and a high level of relatedness between identities (Pratt and Foreman, 2000). In this study we explore entrepreneurs’ identities in two different contexts: high tech and social entrepreneurship. We propose that entrepreneurs identities may be organized in less synchronized ways as entrepreneurs can introduce their identities as a sequence of events, reflections and characteristics (Giddens, 1991) rather than by their overt actions as entrepreneurs as seen socially.

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