On Startups and Doublethink: Resistance and Conformity in Negotiating the Meaning of Entrepreneurship

Carys Egan-Wyer, Sara L. Muhr, Alf Rehn

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Startup entrepreneurship is – in the literature, in the discourse of those engaging in it, and in cultural representations of the same – presented both as resistance against prevailing corporate logics and as a path towards becoming a corporate entity. Resistance, claimed or otherwise, is not just a reaction to a perceived outrage or a power imbalance, but isin itselfa constitutive part of contemporary entrepreneurship,particularly as this is culturally constructed. We study this paradox, where a discourse of resistance becomes a productive part of entrepreneurial culture, by way of a case study of a successful startup. We analyze the manner in which people working in the startup utilize ‘doublethink’ to portray the organization both as resistance to an assumed, more corporate, ‘Other’ and also as a budding corporation unto itself. By doing so, we highlight how a discourse of resistance works as a value in entrepreneurship culture as well as a productive element of the same. In our case, resistance and corporate conformity come together in a way that defies easy classification; one where notions of resistance exist as easy-to-adopt identity positions and where doublethink becomes a productive way of dealing with corporate success.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEntrepreneurship & Regional Development
Issue number1/2
Pages (from-to)58-80
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Doublethink
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Resistance
  • Startup culture

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