Department of Management

Ana Burcharth

Jump Starting Entrepreneurship: How laid-off employees made a career transition

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review

How do laid-off employees become entrepreneurs after receiving a dream start into self-employment? This question is relevant for policy makers and entrepreneurship researchers alike since it raises the possibility of a reverse entrepreneurial opportunity, in which the chance of becoming an entrepreneur emerges before the discovery of a profitable opportunity. We empirically examine this question on the unique setting of a corporate entrepreneurship program. In the midst of a corporate crisis, Nokia supported laid-off employees to start their own ventures under favorable conditions. We investigate the transition from wage earners to entrepreneurs with focus on the psychological underpinnings. Drawing on the literature on organizational death, closure and job loss, we identify three archetypal patterns of transition to self-employment: 1) the “born entrepreneurs”, 2) the “low-hanging opportunity seeking entrepreneurs”, and 3) the “jump-start entrepreneurs”. Whereas the two first categories could be expected, the third one shows that, despite hesitance to be self-employed, being uneasy with it, risk adverse and having strong identification to the previous organization, these entrepreneurs persevered in their endeavors and eventually became comfortable with their new career prospects. We discuss the psychological factors that impact career transition after organizational closure and theorize weather they encourage or discourage entrepreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year7 Aug 2017
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2017
EventAcademy of Management: The 2017 Annual Meeting - Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20178 Aug 2017


ConferenceAcademy of Management
CountryUnited States

    Research areas

  • Entrepreneurship, Career transition, organizational closure, Nokia

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