Cultivating Futures: Situated Approaches to Entrepreneurial Storytelling, Technology Emergence, and Hype



Speaker: Nelson Phillips, Professor of Technology Management at UC Santa Barbara

Hype, Uncertainty, and Lock-in: The Dynamics of New Venture Adoption of Emerging Technologies

ABSTRACTWe draw on an inductive, qualitative study of a Swiss start-up that adopted blockchain technology to develop a model of new venture adoption of hyped, emerging technologies. Our model encompasses three phases during which distinct aspects of the hyped technology are highlighted and different dynamics play out: (1) technology idealization, (2) venture implementation, and (3) symbolic disassociation. We find that emerging technologies surrounded by hype are often first adopted symbolically, and only later structurally embedded in the venture. Interestingly, we observed that as this process proceeds, the venture increasingly faces technology lock-in due to a combination of identity, relational and technical reasons. In a final stage, we find that if the new venture discovers a lack of market interest, they may resort to a form of symbolic decoupling. The emerging hyped technology continues to be used due to technology lock-in, while the venture starts to distance itself from the hyped technology in their market facing activities. 


Speaker: Jean Clarke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Organization at EM Lyon ​​​​​​​

Co-constructing the pitch: How entrepreneurs and investors co-create entrepreneurial stories in situated interactions.

ABSTRACT: Research emphasises storytelling as a key means through which entrepreneurs gain stakeholder support, yet current understandings of this process remain focused on stories presented by entrepreneurs to stakeholders with little attention directed to the role of the audience, or their involvement in the process of creating the entrepreneurial narrative. In order to illustrate how both entrepreneurs and stakeholders create, respond to, reframe, and adjust the entrepreneurial story we conduct a discourse analysis of data from fifty-one investment pitches in the UK, focusing specifically on the naturally occurring interactions between entrepreneurs and investors during the “question and answer session” at the end of the investment pitch. We identify four forms of narrative co-construction– alignment-advancing, misalignment-reframing, disclosure-adjusting, and disalignment-rejecting. Our fine-grained discursive work contributes to existing research by repositioning stakeholders as active participants who play a crucial role in creating and influencing entrepreneurial narratives showing in micro-detail the construction of stories between investors and entrepreneurs, allowing us to unpack the rich, evolving balance between agreement and opposition that underlies interactions between entrepreneurs and the stakeholder audiences.