Mumpreneurship matters: In search of alternative conceptualisation and contextualisation
Objectives In this paper we explore the nature of support that entrepreneurs derive from participation in an online community of parents www.mumsnet.com. We aim to respond to calls for research on entrepreneurship that seek to challenge the boundaries of what is labelled as entrepreneurship, focus on interactive aspects of the entrepreneurial process (Shepherd, 2015) and directly acknowledge the importance of community and conviviality (Guercini and Cova, 2016). Prior Work Extant literature on mumpreneurship highlights the limitations of mother’s space and time routines and underscores the tensions that emerge from attempts to reconcile intensive mothering expectations with a normative entrepreneurial identity (Ekinsmyth, 2013; Duberly and Carrigan, 2012). However, Calas et al (2009) articulate the potential for women’s entrepreneurship as a force for social change and Aldrich and Cliff (2003, p.579) suggest parents may in fact be “poised for entrepreneurship” as recognition of new ways of organising contributes to the decision to launch ventures. Approach www.mumsnet.com is one context that permits in-depth exploration of the nature and dimensionality of support sought and provided by community members. Adopting elements of a netnographic approach (Kozinets, 2002) this paper reports on analysis of member interactions in the mumsnet talk discussion forum) enriched by field notes from participant observation at Mumsnet’s Workfest event in London (Jorgensen, 1989). Results www.mumsnet.com facilitates co-experience and conviviality that may facilitate the development of entrepreneurial intentions and enhance perceptions of self-efficacy. Candid critique from established business owners is of particular value to many early stage parent entrepreneurs in, particular those in pursuit of self-fulfilment as a primary goal. Findings indicate that parent entrepreneurs may need support to align their passions and values with viable business opportunities. Contributions This paper offers three key theoretical contributions. First, we illuminate aspects of the parenthood journey that may serve as a catalyst to entrepreneurial endeavour. Second, we distinguish specific characteristics of the online environment that may enhance the impact of co-experience, the accessibility and influence of entrepreneurial role models and availability of expertise. Third, we argue that whilst motherhood identity has been essentialised with respect to mumpreneurship, for many parents, entrepreneurship is more about pursuing meaningful, self-fulfilling work that accommodates the practicalities of parenthood. Value In revealing the distinctive characteristics of parent founded ventures, implications emerge for policy and the practical and social support structures required to release the untapped entrepreneurial potential of this group.
Citation : Vershinina, N. and Phillips, N. (2016) Mumpreneurship matters: In search of alternative conceptualisation and contextualisation. Proceedings of the ISBE Conference 2016, Paris. 27th - 28th October 2016
Research Institute : Centre for Enterprise and Innovation (CEI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes