Apostasy versus legitimacy: relational dynamics and routes to resource acquisition in entrepreneurial ventures
International Small Business Journal
What causes some business owners to be marginalized by a social structure that empowers others? This paper explores the relational dynamics of legitimation within a professional service venture context, using a Bourdieusian framework to elucidate the struggles for capital and legitimacy that characterize the venture development process. We identify two profiles of individual business owners who renounce or adhere to the established norms of the professional field, which we call apostate and traditional respectively. Small accounting ventures may benefit from improved access to resources if they concentrate on fitting in with prevailing small firm professional logics, eschewing logics from outside the focal field associated with apostates. A model of legitimacy is developed that accounts for the efficacy of institutional and strategic modes of legitimacy relative to the maturity of the field and the objectification of its social formations. We propose that entrepreneurial habitus mediates field-level conditions and capital formations that, when combined, create symbolic capital and resource acquisition possibilities.
Author's draft of article accepted for publication in International Small Business Journal. Available online at http://isb.sagepub.com/content/32/5/571
August 2014 vol. 32 no. 5 571-592
Place of publication