Resource-Acquiring as a Process of Actualizing the Potentiality: An Ethnographic Study

Qian Li, Paula Jarzabkowski, Santi Furnari

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


The study explores entrepreneurial firm’s resource-acquiring processes as a continuous, unfolding process of actualizing potentiality, a metaphor proposed by Pragmatists. Based on an ethnographic study of scale up firms in a consultancy-led accelerator program, we investigate how entrepreneurs in these firms experience the process of acquiring resources and, in particular, how they construct the linkage between the envisioned potentiality and the perceived actuality inherent in such a process. We identify three patterns of configuring, reconfiguring, and disorienting in acquiring resources, through practices of envisioning, enacting, and reflecting as the process unfolds. We find that entrepreneurs envision the offered resources differently, which foreshadows their practices of realizing those resources and, if unsuccessful, reconstructing them. We uncover different sets of practice in shaping the resource- acquiring process, which are shaped by reflexive engaging. We also problematize the notion of process and outcome as perceived experience and revisable script rather than undisputable objective and fixed target.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2020
EventAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management -
Duration: 6 Aug 202012 Aug 2020
Conference number: 80th


ConferenceAnnual Meeting of the Academy of Management
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