CULTURAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP: MAKING AUDIENCES ATTEND, UNDERSTAND, AND VALUE
How does a new actor enter a social arena? To answer this overarching question, Thomas Gegenhuber applies the cultural entrepreneurship lens (Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001). Cultural entrepreneurship takes a sociological stance towards entrepreneurship, viewing new ventures’ quests to establish themselves in the marketplace as intimately tied to the socio-cultural context. This literature operates at two levels of analysis: the organizational level (Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001) and the field level (Wry et al., 2011). This dissertation focuses on the organizational level, telling the story from the viewpoint of a new venture seeking to navigate its environment successfully.
In this dissertation, Thomas Gegenhuber develops a dynamic cultural entrepreneurship framework charting how a new venture utilizes cultural entrepreneurship efforts such as storytelling to convince key audience categories (media, consumers, and investors) that the venture deserves endorsement (Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001; Überbacher, 2014). An endorsement is a social evaluation predicated on three steps: an audience must pay attention to (i.e. attend to) a venture, understand who the venture is and what it does, and make some kind of value judgment about the venture (Bitektine, 2011; Ocasio, 2011). Thomas Gegenhuber demonstrates that, as a new venture evolves (i.e. through launch, growth, and maturity phases), it ought to address specific subtypes of an audience category relevant to the venture’s current development stage (e.g. crowd funders investing in the launch phase, angel investors in the growth phase) (Fisher et al., 2016, 2017). He theorizes that there are interactive effects among audiences that a venture needs to take into account. Consider that a media endorsement (e.g. positive product review) may positively affect the judgments of consumers and investors (Petkova et al., 2013). As a new venture evolves, it can draw on endorsements from previous phases of its cultural entrepreneurship efforts (Zimmerman and Zeitz, 2002). Three field level factors further influence these efforts: norms and rules of an industry (e.g. industry expectations), industry structure (e.g. emerging or contested fields), and industry competition (i.e. the number of competitors in the same or related category) (Lounsbury and Glynn, 2001). Based on my framework, he develops theory on three key aspects of cultural entrepreneurship research, multiple audiences (Zuckerman, 2017), openness and legitimation as a joint activity (Cornelissen et al., 2015), and attention (Ocasio, 2011).
Franz Makus Schrammel
Klaus F. Strehle
Tesfaye Debela Woddo