Mobilising Identity: Entrepreneurial Practice of a ‘Disadvantaged’ Identity

Imaobong James, Lin Xiong*, Alistair R. Anderson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


We examine how female migrant entrepreneurs overturn disadvantage through social resourcing. We argue they are disadvantaged by the intersectionality of their identities; that social constructions and ensuing entrepreneurial expectations are a poor fit with their ascribed identity, that they are marginalised by their ‘otherness’. However, entrepreneurship is not only socially situated, but also socially enacted. We studied their entrepreneurial social enactment and found they had used agency to mobilise their identity. The shared identity of marginality as cultural strangers fostered a sense of togetherness as social capital. In turn, this produced group social responsibility, a socialised obligation to help each other. The entrepreneurs used this intangible resource to first establish their businesses then as a platform for wider engagements. We found that when the entrepreneurial self became superimposed on intersectional identity, disadvantage almost disappeared. Respondents reported confidence in themselves through their entrepreneurial achievement, paradoxically empowered by a negative social identity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-449
Number of pages14
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • BAME
  • disadvantaged entrepreneurs
  • ethnic minorities
  • gender
  • intersectionality
  • networks
  • social capital
  • strategy

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