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Group conditions for entrepreneurial visions: role confidence, hierarchical congruences, and the imagining of future in entrepreneurial groups

Stamm, Isabell; Gutzeit, Marie

Inst. Soziologie

An essential part of entrepreneurial activity is the drafting and narrating of an entrepreneurial vision. This study is premised on the observation that entrepreneurial groups form an interaction arena for the practice of imagining the future and asks how the content of entrepreneurial visions is shaped by the conditions of the group. Taking an entrepreneurship-as-practice lens, which we enrich with sociological theory on the future (Beckert) and small groups (Fine), we engage in an in-depth case study of 12 entrepreneurial groups. We show how the content of entrepreneurial visions is configured by four elements (i.e., fictional expectation for the business or the group; future orientation that is continuing or divergent) and name two group conditions (i.e., role confidence and hierarchical congruence) that direct their configuration. We propose that lacking role confidence can impede thinking about the future of a business and that narrative hierarchies that challenge structural hierarchies can open a window for divergent future orientation. This study contributes to a novel theoretical understanding of where entrepreneurial visions come from by emphasizing politics of expectations within groups and calling to consider group conditions as a relevant context for entrepreneurial visions.