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Keywords:

  • culture;
  • entrepreneurship;
  • identity;
  • institutional theory;
  • stories

Abstract

We define cultural entrepreneurship as the process of storytelling that mediates between extant stocks of entrepreneurial resources and subsequent capital acquisition and wealth creation. We propose a framework that focuses on how entrepreneurial stories facilitate the crafting of a new venture identity that serves as a touchstone upon which legitimacy may be conferred by investors, competitors, and consumers, opening up access to new capital and market opportunities. Stories help create competitive advantage for entrepreneurs through focal content shaped by two key forms of entrepreneurial capital: firm-specific resource capital and industry-level institutional capital. We illustrate our ideas with anecdotal entrepreneurial stories that range from contemporary high-technology accounts to the evolution of the mutual fund industry. Propositions are offered to guide future empirical research based on our framework. Theoretically, we aim to extend recent efforts to synthesize strategic and institutional perspectives by incorporating insights from contemporary approaches to culture and organizational identity. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.