Dialogue and the micro-processes of founder meaning-making during growth


This article draws upon dialogic theory to explore how meaning is co-constructed in dialogue as founding entrepreneurs devise strategies for venture growth. Drawing from a longitudinal study of the impact of a UK University business growth programme upon such strategies, we identify ways in which dialogue influences the meanings attributed to the adoption of, or resistance to, growth strategies. ‘Productive’ dialogue emerging from a diverse range of relevant voices encouraged founders to reflect upon the meanings given to current growth initiatives whilst devising future strategies. Conversely, founders could use ‘degenerative’ dialogue to block the voices of others in order to resist change and protect existing meanings. We contribute to debate by utilising dialogic theory as a conceptual tool to illustrate how business growth programmes shape the meanings founders apply to embrace, or resist strategic change, to effect venture growth.

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