The Pivot: How Founders Respond to Feedback through Idea and Identity Work

Efforts to incorporate external feedback are central to the process of entrepreneurship and to that of creative work more broadly, yet, because individuals may view aspects of their creative ideas as linked to their self-concepts, this can trigger resistance toward revision. Thus, feedback-induced change, while likely intended to increase the viability of creative ideas, might paradoxically undermine that viability by compromising creative workers’ associated identity-based relationships with their creative endeavors. While existing scholarship has established the importance of creative revision, research has largely overlooked how this vital process intersects with creative workers’ identities. Through a field study of 59 founders and their entrepreneurial ideas, I present an identity-based process model of creative revision that highlights differences in founders’ psychological ownership of their ideas and how those differences affect subsequent revision efforts. The emerging findings contribute to existing theory by revealing that the capacity to extend the novelty and usefulness of one’s ideas is not merely subject to informational constraints but also to identity-based constraints.

Publication Date:
Oct 24 2018
Date Submitted:
Feb 22 2019
Academy of Management Journal

 Record created 2019-02-22, last modified 2019-04-03

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