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Practical Implications

For entrepreneurs and other professionals our model suggests that being aware of the instigation of an identity (pull or push) and a cognitive attitude (growth or fixed), combined with the role of emotions and the embeddedness is helpful as they establish themselves as entrepreneurs and this awareness can contribute to emotional well-being. Research on entrepreneurs has shown that life satisfaction is reached when the entrepreneur evaluates his/her life as satisfaction as a whole, from a longer-term perspective (Diener, Kahneman, & Helliwell, 2010). Thus, well-being for the entrepreneur, related to positive emotional experiences, a positive identity, and meaningful work, will have implications for the entrepreneur’s family and immediate environment.

Future Research Directions

The dynamic model of entrepreneurial dis/identification presented here lays the theoretical foundations for testing hypotheses about the dis/identification process of crafting an entrepreneurial identity. Quantitative studies can operationalize the dimensions of pull and push factors, growth versus fixed mindsets, and emotional experiences and actions from performance feedback. This would validate the model.

We recognize that there are issues in the model that may not be easily captured with a quantitative study. Emotions influence and are also influenced by motivations and former experiences. How he or she feels about a certain experience influences the entrepreneur’s willingness to be exposed to similar experiences. Viewed this way, emotions can influence the direction of future action.

On the other hand, an individual’s attitudes and motivations are also being shaped by his or her perceptions of one’s own abilities and desirability of the intended outcomes. This however, might sometimes be incongruent with what is socially desired and expected of the entrepreneur. Insofar as the social pressure and social attitudes influence the entrepreneur’s motivation and goal setting, changes are likely to occur in feelings about own actions and what is displayed to the world. From this it is clearly visible that in order to understand how entrepreneurs in particular form their identity, one needs to understand why they do what they do in one way or the other and what drives them to such behavior. Here, the social pressure and social expectations, and consequently the social embeddedness, play a vital role. Therefore we believe that in-depth case studies of multiple entrepreneurs and observation of the crafting process over a prolonged period of time would be an appropriate approach for a more complete understanding of the model.

Concluding Remark

The basic premise of our chapter is that both mindset and emotions play an important role in the emergence of and the subsequent crafting of the entrepreneurial identity. The crafting of an identity is thus not unidirectional but rather bidirectional process and that feedback loops occur that initiate change in each of the factors. This means that it is the emotional processes that influence the emergence of the entrepreneurial identity toward an identification or dis-identification cycle that plays an important role in entrepreneurial success.

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