Imagery of Ad-venture: Understanding Entrepreneurial Identity Through Metaphor and Drawing

Jean Clarke, Robin Holt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We examine how visual metaphor can reveal the tacit assumptions entrepreneurs use to make sense of their lives. While metaphor is often equated with linguistic metaphor, here we argue that metaphors created through the modality of drawing can offer a more nuanced insight into how entrepreneurs make sense of their entrepreneurial identity. From an analysis of images drawn by entrepreneurs and accompanying interviews, metaphors emerge that are much more complex, nuanced and messy than their linguistic equivalents. The images allow the entrepreneurs to isolate salient meanings about being in business, but refrain from simplifying what remains a multifaceted and at times contradictory and paradoxical experience.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Business Venturing
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)476–497
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Visual metaphor
  • Entrepreneurial identity
  • Drawing methodology

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