Making “Liminal Community”: Identity Transformation of Black Women Tech Founders

Shuang Frost, Yuson Jung, Marlo Rencher, Dawn Batts

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Social inequality not only shapes resource access for minority entrepreneurs, but also limits their dreams and aspirations. Entrepreneurship education programs can play an important role in addressing this problem, but merely including them and teaching business skills does not guarantee their success. Attention to minority entrepreneurs’ identity transformation as part of entrepreneurship education can address inequality in productive ways. By returning to the anthropological roots of liminality, we highlight the community dimension that is understudied in management literature on identity work. Through an ethnographic study of STEEP, an educational program in Detroit focused on a culturally-relevant and context-sensitive entrepreneurial training for Black women tech founders, we demonstrate that individual and collective identity transformations are intertwined and shaped by their situated community, and how community building can sustain the identity beyond the liminal space-time. We propose a new concept called “liminal community,” an intentionally designed temporary organization with the explicit purpose of facilitating collective and individual identity transformation, and argue for its effectiveness in fostering emancipatory entrepreneurial identity that disrupts normative imaginations.
TitelAcademy of Management Proceedings
ForlagAcademy of Management
Publikationsdato24 jul. 2023
StatusUdgivet - 24 jul. 2023


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