The evolution of founder identity as an authenticity work process
تکامل هویت بنیانگذار به عنوان یک فرایند کار اصالت-2020
Research has shown founders identities have a significant impact on their ventures. Yet, the process through which founder identity evolves and takes shape remains relatively unexplained. This paper explores the evolution of founder identity through a qualitative study of first-time sustainable entrepreneurs, and their stakeholders, over a three years period. Our analysis revealed the importance of personal identity, the aspect of the self that defines a person as a unique individual based largely on values and beliefs. We found that first-time founders sought to align their personal identity with their evolving founder identity over time. Based on these findings we theorize a process model of founder authenticity work, defined as the activities founders engage in to feel and seem authentic while engaged in entrepreneurial action. This study thus details the significance of personal identity as a guidepost for founder identity evolution, complementing extant founder identity studies focused on role and social identities. In addition, our analysis enriches the current conceptualization of authenticity in entrepreneurship research by linking it to validation of personal identity and highlighting its negotiated nature in the evolution of authentic founder identities.
Keywords: Founder identity | Personal identity | Authenticity | Sustainable entrepreneurship | Qualitative methods