Abstract

The question of how entrepreneurs create legitimacy for their ventures has been quiet frequently addressed in entrepreneurship research (e.g. Aldrich & Fiol 1994; Nagy et al. 2012). It has been assumed that the activity of creating entrepreneurial legitimacy is relatively homogenous across contexts. However, the meaning of legitimacy and its creation may not be the same across cultural contexts.

In entrepreneurship research it is often assumed that culture shapes and socializes entrepreneurs’ behavior (Hayton & Cacciotti 2013), and thus function as a motivation (Swidler 1986). However, such explanations are rather deterministic and ignore another cultural mechanism often promoted i n s ociology but s eldom adapted i n entrepreneurship – culture a s justification (Swidler, 1986). Here, culture can be seen as a loosely coupled repertoire of justifications that individuals use to rationalize and make sense of their already initiated entrepreneurial behavior (Vaisey 2009), which resonates with recent developments in cognitive and social psychology promoting a ‘dynamic constructivist’ approach to culture (Morris and Fu 2001: Markus and Kitayama 2010). In this paper, drawing on the dynamic constructivist view on culture, we explore how entrepreneurs create legitimacy motivated and justified by enacting different cultural frames.

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