Entrepreneurial Failure, Networks and Sensemaking: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis
Abstract: The purpose of this study is to advance the theoretical knowledge of how entrepreneurs who have experienced business failure make use of personal and professional relationships within their network during their sensemaking process. Six in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with entrepreneurs who terminated their business in Sweden and Denmark. Their stories were analyzed through an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) with an aim to answer the following question: how do entrepreneurs who experience failure make use of different relationships within their network during their sensemaking process? The empirical findings present that the times in which participants reached out to members of their network can be split into two parts: during the failure and after the failure. In analyzing the emerging themes that came to light through the above analysis, there appear to be five factors (loss, identity, attitude towards failure, risk acknowledgement, previous experience) that are categorized into one superordinate theme (failure attribution), which seems to correlate with whether or not an entrepreneur actively engages in sensemaking following a failure. Lastly, theoretical and practical implications were delineated.
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