Negative emotions in entrepreneurship

Today’s social and political environment often embeds entrepreneurs in “entrepreneurial ecosystems”, which shape their emotional and motivational responses. In researching social interactions, Doern and Goss (2014) found that Russian entrepreneurs experienced negative emotions, like shame, and enacted behaviors to manage such emotions in interactions with state officials. Their main finding is that while such behaviors may help entrepreneurs “manage negative emotions, and minimize conflict” they also “corrode entrepreneurial motivation” (p. 864) and distract entrepreneurs from developing their ventures. One key takeaway for us is the authors’ exploration of shame as “one of several ‘social,’ ‘other-oriented’ emotions … that have an important function to play in social interactions” (p. 866). We share the authors’ enthusiasm about raising awareness of the role of negative emotions in entrepreneurial success, failure, and motivation. We add to it the encouragement for scholars to continue to explore the entrepreneurial mindset, and the pursuit of innovation, as a psychosocial process laden with both conscious and unconscious emotions, thoughts, and imaginings.

Subjectivity and desire in research

"Is an interpretation always, to some extent, an imposition of our own discursive or psychical attachments?" The answer to this question, in part, lies in exploring the subjectivity of researchers/analysts and participants/analysands in the research encounter. In part, it lies in tracing what happens to psychoanalytic concepts in the research process. This is the project taken up by Claudia Lapping in her 2013 paper entitled "Which subject, whose desire? The constitution of subjectivity and the articulation of desire in the practice of research". The article reminds us that our inner emotional experiences are always both a potential source of insight and a path towards imposing our own needs and desires on organizational members. Interpretation is sometimes the expression of our own, not others', desires. And, sometimes it is an attempt to hide the lack that we cannot bear to acknowledge. The research encounter inevitably evokes something about us. We may attribute these aspects of our experience to the other (through interpretation) when, in fact, they reveal something about our selves.