Making sense of identity transitioning within the new venture creation process

Cherisse Hoyte, Hannah Noke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: This study explores how aspiring entrepreneurs navigate between their own individual self-concept and the organisational identity of the new venture during the process of new venture creation.

Design/methodology/approach: The study draws on three cases of aspiring entrepreneurs within a UK-based university incubator in the process of ‘becoming’ entrepreneurs. Semi-structured interviews and secondary data were collected and analysed using a flexible pattern matching approach.

Findings: The data illustrated parallel identity and sensemaking processes occurring as the aspiring entrepreneurs navigated towards new venture formation. For the organisational identity process, three key stages were found to occur: referent identity labelling, projection, and identity reification. Concurrently the sensemaking process made up of creation, interpretation and enactment were seen to enable identity transitioning mechanisms: cue identification, liminal sensegiving and recognition of formal venture boundaries, which led to the organisational identity being formed.

Originality: By extricating the stages of organisational identity formation, often hidden within the new venture creation process, this study has framed new venture creation as a liminal experience and a visible site of identity work. This study presents a process model of the key identity transitioning stages and mechanisms in new ventures, by illustrating how aspiring entrepreneurs’ sensemaking influences identity transitions during the process of venture creation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
Early online date4 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

'This author accepted manuscript is deposited under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC) licence. This means that anyone may distribute, adapt, and build upon the work for non-commercial purposes, subject to full attribution. If you wish to use this manuscript for commercial purposes, please contact'


  • Identity
  • Qualitative
  • Transitions
  • liminality
  • new venture creation
  • Sensemaking


Dive into the research topics of 'Making sense of identity transitioning within the new venture creation process'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this