Moving on: Narrative identity reconstruction after entrepreneurial failure

Itziar Castelló, David Barberá-Tomás, Eero Vaara
Journal of Business Venturing

Despite increasing interest in the narratives of entrepreneurial failure, the understanding of how entrepreneurs reconstruct their identity as they advance from experiences of failure to new ventures remains partial. Based on a narrative analysis of 49 entrepreneurs' experiences, we uncover three narrative types used by entrepreneurs when moving on: shielding, transformation, and authenticity. In particular, we elaborate on how the entrepreneurs employ specific discursive practices in their narratives to deal with three central aspects of identity reconstruction: construction of responsibility, identity transition, and identity validation. Thus, our analysis elucidates the narrative underpinnings of dealing with failure and deepens our understanding of entrepreneurial identity construction in the context of moving on.