The importance of 'fitting in' : collaboration and social value creation in response to community norms and expectations

Pret, Tobias and Carter, Sara (2017) The importance of 'fitting in' : collaboration and social value creation in response to community norms and expectations. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development, 29 (7-8). pp. 639-667. ISSN 0898-5626

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    Abstract

    This article explores the effects of embeddedness in communities upon entrepreneurial practices. Based on the lived experiences of 10 craft entrepreneurs, this article reveals that within certain contexts, such as craft communities, entrepreneurs are expected to exhibit high levels of camaraderie and generosity, which leads them to create social value by supporting their peers and freely sharing their resources. Craft entrepreneurs achieve ‘fitting in’ not only by learning accepted norms, but also by performing strategic actions which allow them to temporarily adapt their conduct to meet the expectations of community members. Thus, this paper exposes a largely concealed element of social entrepreneurial practice. This article also reveals that embeddedness in communities can lead entrepreneurs to collaborate with potential competitors. Craft entrepreneurs share their economic, cultural, social and symbolic capital in order to support and help revitalise their communities, to perpetuate their respective industries, and to sustain a genuine interest in hand-crafted products. Craft entrepreneurs consider such supportive behaviour a social responsibility that is shared among community members and a task that is passed from one generation to the next. Thus, this article reveals that collaboration and social value creation can be embraced in response to community norms and expectations.