Department of Management

Telling business stories as fellowship-tales

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal article

    Robert Smith, University of the West of Scotland, United Kingdom
  • Helle Neergaard
Purpose – This paper aims to explore the “Fellowship-Tale” as an alternative tale type for narrating entrepreneur stories. The authors illustrate this by telling the Pilgrim business story. It is common for the deeds of men who founded businesses to be narrated as heroic entrepreneur stories. Such fairy tales are dominant narratives in Western culture but do not resonate with everyone, particularly women. Consequentially, many businesswomen do not engage in the rhetoric of enterprise.
Design/methodology/approach – The qualitative, analytic approaches adopted in this study include narratology, semiotics and aesthetics. This complementary triage helps us appreciate the complexity of entrepreneur stories while unravelling the nuances of the tale. It also permits triangulation of the data gathered from an in-depth interview of the respondent with newspaper and Internet research.
Findings – The research indicates that “fellowship-tales” provide a viable and credible alternative to the fairy-tale rendition common in entrepreneur and business stories.
Research limitations/implications – An obvious limitation is that one merely swaps one narrative framework for another, albeit it offers dissenting voices a real choice.
Practical implications – This study has the potential to be far reaching because at a practical level, it allows disengaged entrepreneurs and significant others the freedom to exercise their individual and collective voices within a framework of nested stories.
Originality/value – A key contribution is to challenge the hegemony of a dominant and embedded social construct allowing new understandings to emerge via a novel combination of research methodologies
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)232-252
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • Aesthetics, Entrepreneurial narrative, Fairy tale, Fellowship-tales, Semiotics

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