Exploring the social prestige of Finnish entrepreneurs

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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Purpose: Entrepreneurs are a fundamental source of economic growth and prosperity of today's societies.Understanding the socio-cultural factors that support potential entrepreneurs is vital. The focal construct of this research is the social prestige of an entrepreneur: the perception of the value and appreciation of entrepreneurs in the eyes of their friends and peers. The research explores how the social prestige - the perceived social - value of entrepreneurs - can be conceptualized and empirically captured. Theories and Methodology: Drawing upon theories from entrepreneurship, organization and sociological research, the present work develops novel concept of social prestige of entrepreneurs. The empirical research is based on a four-step item generating process. The process explains and validates the created theoretical sub-dimensions of social prestige. The process includes a mix of qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (online questionnaire) methods, and explains and validates the created theoretical sub-dimensions of social prestige. The identified theoretical sub-dimensions of prestige are: moral legitimacy, cognitive legitimacy, pragmatic legitimacy, emotional legitimacy, status, reputation and uniqueness. Based on these seven theoretical sub-dimensions, a large pool of items was created in order to develop the base for a measurement of 'social prestige of entrepreneurs'. Findings: Based on the four-step item generation process, a specific set of items are defined that can be used in future research to observe the level of social prestige of entrepreneurs. In doing so, the present work reflects a first step towards conceptualizing and measuring the social prestige in field of entrepreneurship. The study's findings also emphasize the need for conducting future research of social prestige of entrepreneurs more globally and for exploring further the supportive role of closest friends and peers to possible entrepreneurs. In conclusion, the develop measure of social prestige can open a new ways to analyze social influences on the entrepreneur's mindset, intention and possible start up behavior.
entrepreneurs, social prestige, reference groups, measurement development
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