.Sabine Mller, Ph.D.Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Marketing and ManagementSchool of Business and Social SciencesAarhus University, DenmarkThe Stories They Tell:The role of spatial context in entrepreneurial storytelling
4th Research forum on small and medium-sized enterprises: Chur 2015
1Topicality: Eship and Regional DevelopmentOutcomesActivities Drivers /Structural ConditionsRegional DevelopmentEntrepreneurshipRegional/Spatial ContextPopulation density, Access to social, human & financial capitalEmployment structuresProportion of small firms2Topicality: Eship and Regional DevelopmentOutcomesActivities Drivers /Structural ConditionsRegional DevelopmentEntrepreneurshipRegional/Spatial ContextHistory, Heritage, Culture, Local resource endowments? StoriesSpatial context influences entrepreneurial processes but it is less clear HOW it influences these on a local level3Rural regions typically suffer from resource scarcity, inadequate infrastructure, small markets and limited access to human and financial capital (Morgan, 1997; OECD, 2006)TheorY BackgroundI) Resource affordances
4Rural regions typically suffer from resource scarcity, inadequate infrastructure, small markets and limited access to human and financial capital (Morgan, 1997; OECD, 2006).In difficult conditions entrepreneurs may create opportunities from resources that are readily available (Baker & Nelson, 2005); otherness of the periphery may become an advantage (Anderson, 2000).
Theory BackgroundI) Resource affordances5Entrepreneurial activity influenced by how well resources are connected to other spatial contexts or markets. Access to relevant markets is challenging for entrepreneurs in rural areas (Kalantaridis & Bika, 2011)
Theoretical BackgroundStorytelling can be an important tool to connect local resources to non-local (global) flows by making place-based resources transferable and comprehensible to a broader (non-local) audience (Johnstone and Lionais, 2004)II) Bridging to contexts (economic geography)6Research QUESTIONHow do entrepreneurs utilize the spatial context in their storytelling ?
in order to construct a compelling entrepreneurial narrative?
7CONCEPT: Spatial contextSpatial context defined as (Thornton and Flynn, 2003)Provides entrepreneurs with opportunities and set boundaries for their actions (McKeever et al., 2014; Jack and Anderson, 2002)
resource-based, i.e. natural boundaries (mountains, valleys, islands)
cognitive- & culture-based, i.e. social boundaries (communities, neighbourhoods)8CONCEPT: StorytellingBuilds legitimacy for the new entrepreneur and his/her new venture (Garud et al., 2014)Generates interest and commitment from customers & potential investors (Martens et al., 2007; Hjorth and Steyaert, 2004; O'Connor, 2004)Helps to understand ventures identity and nature of opportunity make the unfamiliar familiar (Martens et al., 2007; O'Connor, 2004, Lounsbury & Glynn, 2001)
AarhusCopenhagenIsland of Sams
11Multiple embedded CASE STUDY3 regionsRegional observationsSite visits, Observations, PhotographsExperiencing28 VenturesExpert interviewsSemi-structured interviews (90-120 min)EnquiringArchival documentsOrg. documents, News clips, WebsitesExamining
North DjurslandWadden SeaIsland of Sams12Findings13How do entrepreneurs utilize the spatial context in their storytelling14Local resources (25) Reusing place-specific resources (11)Collaborating and partnering w/ locals (24)Involving and empowering community (18)
Entrepreneurs create synergies between local resources, place and productsCommoditizing localness and heritage through storytelling (18)
15Highly localized storytelling Use place-specific resources Local and non-local customers Local and non-local market place/outlet
the Entrepreneur & Entrep. Journey
the Quality/Authenticity of the product
the Place of origin (resource-based)What are stories about?
the Community of origin (cognitive-based)17Local resources become commoditized, i.e. made more valuable through storytelling Premium PriceCommunicate the origin and authenticity of the product and entrepreneur, make them relatable to non-local customersLegitimizes the products and new ventureStorytelling an effective tool to CONNECT to non-local markets ( niche market)
Place brand / Image
PRODUCT & STORYLocal raw materials
Community involvement18ContributionsSumming up Entrepreneurs utilize a multitude of place-specific storiesNatural and Cultural amenitiesCommunityHistory & HeritageImage and Place brandStorytelling is an important tool to legitimize the business and product and reach non-local customers who are willing to pay a premium priceContextualizing researchDynamic interaction between (rural) place and localized entrepreneurial activities (storytelling)Endowments of spatial context enable entrepreneurial storytelling to create powerful narrativesThrough storytelling entrepreneurs mobilize and connect place-specific (local) resources to wider audience implications for growth and regional developmentwww.slideshare.net/sabine_mueller19