Overcoming constraints of collective imagination: An inquiry into activist entrepreneuring, disruptive truth-telling and the creation of ‘possible worlds’

Item Type Journal paper

This article introduces ‘activist entrepreneuring’ to suggest a fresh understanding of en- trepreneuring which foregrounds how constraints of imagination are removed through critical speech. Specifically, we link Michel Foucault's work on parrhesia, or courageous speech, and various literatures on (utopian) imagination to discuss ‘disruptive truth-telling’ as the generative mechanism of activist entrepreneuring whose transformative force resides in breaking free from existing limitations of collective imagination, or what we refer to as the ‘orthodox social ima- ginary’. We use the activist group Yes Men to develop a process model which throws into sharper relief how disruptive truth-telling is employed, on the one hand, to expose and problematize the boundaries of collective imagination, and, on the other, to create ‘possible worlds’ that prefigure ways of doing business that are consistent with broader societal interest. The three interrelated objectives of this article are: first, to make creative use of the humanities to emphasize how disruptive truth-telling actualizes possibilities for imagining future realities that seem impossible from the standpoint of dominant imagination. Second, to make the case for seeing changes of collective imagination as a genuine entrepreneurial accomplishment. And third, to identify boundary conditions that help us strengthen the explanatory power of our theorizing on dis- ruptive truth-telling.

Authors Dey, Pascal & Mason, Chris
Projects Dey, Pascal & Wettstein, Florian (2015) The Politics of ‘Positive Deviance': Inquiring Total Institutions, Public Administration and Social Enterprises [fundamental research project]
Journal or Publication Title Journal of Business Venturing
Language English
Subjects business studies
social sciences
Institute/School IWE - Institute for Business Ethics
?? Inst IWE FW ??
HSG Classification contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area SHSS - Kulturen, Institutionen, Maerkte (KIM)
Refereed Yes
Date January 2018
Publisher Elsevier Science Publ.
Volume 33
Number 1
Page Range 84-99
Number of Pages 16
ISSN 0883-9026
Publisher DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusvent.2017.11.002
Official URL https://www.journals.elsevier.com/journal-of-busin...
Depositing User Dr. Pascal Dey
Date Deposited 20 Dec 2017 10:44
Last Modified 12 Feb 2018 05:20
URI: https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/publications/253085


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Dey, Pascal & Mason, Chris (2018) Overcoming constraints of collective imagination: An inquiry into activist entrepreneuring, disruptive truth-telling and the creation of ‘possible worlds’. Journal of Business Venturing, 33 (1). 84-99. ISSN 0883-9026


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