Entrepreneurial Narratives and Identity-building: A Study Across Startups Within the Creative Industries

Louise Klitgård & Signe Møller Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The aim of this study is to investigate how entrepreneurs in the creative industries tell narratives in order to convey their organisational identity throughout the initial phases of their life cycle. The rationale behind the study is that narratives are especially crucial in the founding stages of a company, where entrepreneurs form their core values while attempting to attract stakeholders. Furthermore, creative entrepreneurs have an extra dimension, as they appear to tell different narratives from other industries since their focus is especially rooted in the artistic values of their business.

Through a literature review, the theoretical foundations of narratives and organisational identity are explored within different contexts. In addition, theory on entrepreneurial narratives and identity construction are merged and exposed through several notions, leading to a question of temporality in relation to strategy, identity and narratives. In order to gain insights into how entrepreneurs in the creative industries narrated stories to convey their organisational identities, we choose to deepen our knowledge through four startups that are previous winners of Creative Business Cup, a startup competition for creative entrepreneurs. Thus, through a qualitative study, we focus on Mystery Makers, GRØD, Twisted Leaf and Lapee and gain insight from the founders of these organisations. The data is collected through semi-structured interviews with the founders of the four startups as well as stakeholders, namely investors and employees of Creative Business Cup. The data have been coded, interpreted and presented through a narrative analysis with a theoretical lens. The discussion pulls together threads from the founders, stakeholders and relevant literature from the field of narratives and organisational identity.

Based on the findings and the discussion, we reveal that creative entrepreneurs use narratives that draw on their individual creativity to convey an organisational identity and strategically address internal and external stakeholders. In addition, creative entrepreneurs tell narratives with an aim to change the norms and expectations of society. Their narratives consist of several factors that show how they attempt to legitimise themselves and provide narratives for the future by drawing on personal past experiences. Finally, their narratives prove to give rise to an organisational identity that is constantly evolving.

EducationsMSc in Strategy, Organization and Leadership, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages119
SupervisorsMiriam Feuls