Entrepreneurial projects and realities: narratives of men and women with disabilities

Conxita Folguera Bellmunt, Laura Lamolla Kristiansen

Producció científica: Contribució a una conferènciaContribució


Purpose: This paper analyses the intersection of gender and disability in the motivations to pursue entrepreneurial projects through the voices of men and women with disabilities and professionals working in the field of disability entrepreneurship. In order to succeed, entrepreneurial projects need to persuade both customers (who will buy the products/services) and investors (who will provide financial resources to set up the project). This research will examine rhetoric patterns in discourses addressed to these stakeholders in relation to gender and disability identity. Originality: Research on entrepreneurship projects developed by people with disabilities is scarce. We consider the voices of different actors in the entrepreneurial project and analyse the nature of the narratives constructed by entrepreneurs in order to attract funds and customers for their projects. We will examine whether there are different patterns in these narratives that may be related with the gender and disability identity of the entrepreneurs. Theoretical framework: Our paper builds on the literature on both entrepreneurship and disability analysis. We will use the social model approach to disability (Oliver, 1996; Thomas, 1999, 2007), as well as recent discussions on the medical and social model approaches to the study of disability and their use in organisational studies (Foster and Fosh, 2010; Williams and Mavin, 2012). With respect to entrepreneurship literature, in 2001 the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) proposed two broad groups of entrepreneurs: one that is driven by necessity motivations (the entrepreneur has no other work options and needs a source of income) and another that is driven by opportunity motivations (the entrepreneur has seized a business opportunity and wishes to pursue it). In the last few years, a third group of entrepreneurs has also been identified, namely those who have "improvement-driven opportunity" motivations; these entrepreneurs have identified an opportunity, but at the same time they seek to improve their income or independence at work (Kelley, Singer, and Hellington, 2011). In this respect, we aim to contribute to the literature by analysing the motivations of disabled people for creating their own business and how these relate to their discourses to persuade stakeholders to place their trust in their business. Preliminary findings: Preliminary research has identified different motivations of people with disabilities for working on entrepreneurial projects: those wishing (1) to develop and make use of their own abilities, competencies and educational resources; (2) to make use of their assets or properties; (3) to develop products or services that they experienced as needed by potential consumers with disabilities and which could be extended to larger markets, including non-disabled citizens; and (4) to develop and make use of their own entrepreneurial personality. The next stage of our research will employ the aforementioned theoretical frameworks to analyse the narratives constructed in the presentation of the entrepreneurial projects to persuade potential funders and customers (McCloskey and Klamer, 1995). Relevance and practical implications: People with disabilities compete with other organisations for resources to fund their projects and they also compete with other organisations to attract customers. In a context of economic recession, when organisations with a focus on disability inclusion experience a reduction in their resources, self-employment and entrepreneurship are considered as options for people with disabilities and they are encouraged. An awareness of the narratives that are able to communicate the contribution of these entrepreneurial projects can help people with disabilities in their projects for inclusion and participation in the employment market. By interviewing both men and women, we aim to analyse whether there are differences in how these narratives are constructed using an int
Idioma originalAnglès
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 25 de març 2013
Esdeveniment5th Conference on Rhetoric and Narratives in Management Research, Barcelona 2013 -
Durada: 25 de març 201327 de març 2013


Conferència5th Conference on Rhetoric and Narratives in Management Research, Barcelona 2013


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