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Entrepreneurship is often studied focusing on strategies, models and theories. However, studying entrepreneurship in this way gives a wrong impression of entrepreneurship as a profession in itself. Entrepreneurship mainly revolves around the entrepreneur himself and the internal human processes that occur during the start-up of the company and when running the business. Intuition, well-being, emotions, personal beliefs, values and motives are all concepts of great relevance in understanding this subject.
Autoethnography (Master Thesis)
This study focuses on the relationship between well-being and Instagram use; based on both personal experiences as well as interviews with Instagram users, this thesis investigates how and in what ways Instagram affects an individual’s sense of well-being both positively and negatively. Furthermore, this study investigates how Instagram, well-being and authenticity are related by delving deeper into the question whether and how Instagram enables ‘authentic Instagram entrepreneurship’ by enabling ‘online authenticity’.
This study concludes that Instagram positively contributes to a sense of well-being by enabling access to inspiration, knowledge and connection in a community. To Instagram users, Instagram serves as a gateway to finding inspiration, knowledge and a connection with others by allowing inspirators to share their experiences and expertise with others. To Instagram entrepreneurs or inspirators, Instagram serves as a podium to reach a large audience that could be inspired by their authentic story. Instagram satisfies individual needs and desires that relate to personal growth, personal connections, support and growth in business. Having these desires fulfilled increases well-being. On the other hand, it also emerged that Instagram usage could change into a more negative “need” by turning inspiration into an obligation, resulting in a decreased sense of well-being.
In terms of self-determination theory, needs and desires for ‘inspiration’, ‘knowledge’, ‘connection’ and ‘obligation’ can be translated into the dynamics of the ‘outside in, inside out’ approach. The one influences the other. The analysis of the autoethnographic material and interviews illustrate these dynamics. For instance, when I participated as inspirator on Instagram and mainly cared about external factors such as satisfying my community and the Instagram algorithm, my sense of well-being decreased; external factors determined my sense of well-being. However, these dynamics shifted to the ‘inside out’ as soon as I refocused Instagram use to ‘authenticity’. In line with the insights gained through the interviews, the analysis of the autoethnographic material indicates that by listening what I want to share instead of what I am expected to share, my sense of well-being increases. External factors like an algorithm or community are no longer most important. Nevertheless, as an ‘authentic entrepreneur’, there is always a form of ‘performed authenticity’ involved to gain new customers. Tensions between the ‘outside in, inside out’ approach and the need of Instagram entrepreneurs to ‘perform authentically’ mark the dynamic relationship and understanding of how these entrepreneurs experience well-being through Instagram use.