Sensegiving in entrepreneurial contexts: The use of metaphors in speech and gesture to gain and sustain support for novel ventures

J.P. Cornelissen, J. Clarke, A.J. Cienki

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Gaining and sustaining support for novel ventures is a vital yet difficult entrepreneurial process. Previous research on this topic has generally focused on the social competence and social capital of those creating new ventures, and their ability to align their ventures, with collective norms of novel ventures as sensible, acceptable and legitimate. We suggest that sensegiving - the ability to communicate a meaningful course for a venture - to investors and employees may also play a direct role in achieving support for a venture. Based upon a micro-ethnographic study of two individuals who were in the process of creating new ventures, we demonstrate how they give sense, to others in real time that involve not just their speech but also their gestures. Overall, we find evidence that in the early stages of the commercialization of a venture, metaphors in both speech and gesture are consistently used to emphasize agency and control and the predictability and taken-for-grantedness of a novel venture. © The Author(s) 2010.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-241
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Small Business Journal
Volume30
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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