There is growing interest in understanding the role of stakeholders—including financiers, employees, customers, suppliers, and communities—in the process of new venture emergence. We see potential to advance this stream of research by bridging a gap we observe between recent research on stakeholder enrollment in new ventures and longstanding research on stakeholder identification in established firms. To do so, we seek to explain why, how, and when, through social action, stakeholder identification and enrollment may (or may not) occur as an entrepreneur goes from an imagined opportunity to a new venture with enrolled stakeholders. To this end, we develop a model that conceptualizes stakeholder identification and enrollment as iterative, recursive, and constitutive social processes involving action in: refining and justifying to result in commonality with other actors; probing and positioning to result in mutuality with specific stakeholders identified; and enrolling and engaging to result in reciprocity with identified stakeholders. We argue that these social processes constitute the means through which opportunities are formed, specific stakeholders are identified, and stakes in new ventures are created and maintained, respectively. In doing so, we offer a more nuanced explanation of the dynamism implied in stakeholder identification and enrollment in emerging ventures.
- Entrepreneurial imagination
- Opportunity formation
- Second-person opportunity
- Stake creation and maintenance
- Stakeholder attributes
- Stakeholder identification and enrollment