Ruben van Werven

Werven, Ruben van
Strategy & Organisation

Dissertation title
Acquiring resources for a new venture: A study of the micro-level linguistic practices of startup entrepreneurs

Date and Location
March 15, 2017 at 13:45 in the Aula of the Main Building of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Acquiring resources for a new venture: A study of the micro-level linguistic practices of startup entrepreneurs

Werven, Ruben vanMost entrepreneurs, at some stage in the creation of a new venture, need to acquire external financial, human, or social capital. However, the providers of these resources may be reluctant to cooperate, given that new ventures are highly uncertain investment opportunities. As a consequence, one of the key tasks for new venture founders is convincing resource providers to engage with them. Entrepreneurship researchers have therefore increasingly turned to studying new venture founders’ language use. While this work has improved our understanding of the way new venture founders acquire resources, it is limited in the sense that it largely focuses on the acquisition of financial resources, and generally overlooks the role of micro-level argumentation. The three papers that make up this dissertation address these limitations. Taken together, the results of these studies show that micro-level arguments are valuable rhetorical tools, which can be, and are in fact used by entrepreneurs to enhance the plausibility and resonance of the narratives they tell to convince resource providers of the legitimate distinctiveness of their ventures. The findings further suggest that adopting a micro-level linguistic perspective on entrepreneurial resource acquisition leads to a better understanding of the mundane challenges – such as crafting a persuasive message and obtaining nonfinancial resources like knowledge – entrepreneurs face on an everyday basis.

About the Author

Ruben van Werven (1986) is currently working as a Lecturer in Entrepreneurship at Cass Business School. Prior to starting at Cass, he was a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration at VU University in Amsterdam. He received a Master’s degree in Business Administration from VU University and a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Amsterdam. His main research interests lie in the intersection of entrepreneurship and argumentation.