A1 Journal article (refereed)
“Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur” : positioning analysis of written narratives (2022)

Järvensivu, A., & von Bonsdorff, M. E. (2022). “Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur” : positioning analysis of written narratives. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, 17(2), 221-235. https://doi.org/10.1108/qrom-03-2020-1900

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsJärvensivu, Anu; von Bonsdorff, Monika E.

Journal or seriesQualitative Research in Organizations and Management



Publication year2022

Publication date09/11/2021


Issue number2

Pages range221-235


Publication countryUnited Kingdom

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessNot open

Publication channel open access

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/78914


The negative stereotypes concerning late-career workers are found to prevail and lead to negative circulation of narratives and actions between individuals and societies. Using the context of late-career entrepreneurs, the paper aims to find an alternative and a more positive narrative concerning late-career work by focusing on entrepreneurs and the narrative positioning related to them.

The authors used a narrative-positioning analysis, cycling through three levels of analysis and then returning to level two, in order to study our sample of seven narratives written by Finnish late-career entrepreneurs. The authors present in detail one story-telling narrative, by Matthew, and then layer the remaining six narratives to present themes, positioning and actions surrounding being a late-career entrepreneur.

A more positive narrative circulation was found, which related to the master narrative of entrepreneurs as continuing “until the end” and taking care of themselves, their enterprises and different stakeholder groups even after exiting the enterprise into so-called “retirement.” The entrepreneurs were found to actively use this positive narrative to position themselves both in the story-telling world and in their local interactions. By positioning themselves as “never ending caretakers,” the entrepreneurs gave a strong account that their reasons to continue working centered on the factors social.

Research limitations/implications
The research findings and analysis should be interpreted in the context of the Nordic countries and especially Finland.

Practical implications
The results of this study can inform the ways in which these “never ending caretakers” can transition into retirement and adjust to life spent in retirement.

In the study, entrepreneurs' written answers were analyzed with narrative-positioning analyses. An alternative story of people at work was found, and a more positive narrative circulation was constructed based on their narratives.

Keywordsentrepreneursageingageing employeesretirementpersonal narrative

Free keywordsentrepreneur; aging; retirement; narrative positioning; writing invitation

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2022

JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-14-06 at 23:26