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TIM Review 2019

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TIM Review 2019 ( tim-review-2019 )

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Elon Musk and SpaceX Steven Muegge and Ewan Reid The article proceeds as follows. The first section reviews the relevant prior research perspectives on entrepreneuring emancipation. The second section describes the research method, and the third introduces the case of Elon Musk and SpaceX. The fourth, fifth, and sixth sections each present results about one of the three core elements of entrepreneuring: seeking autonomy, authoring, and making declarations, respectively. The seventh section discusses the results, and the eighth section concludes. Entrepreneuring as Emancipation Entrepreneuring refers to “efforts to bring about new economic, social, institutional, and cultural environments through the actions of an individual or group of individuals” (Rindova et al. 2009, p. 477). Entrepreneuring is thus about the creation of something new, not merely about change. Emancipation refers to “the act of setting free from the power of another” (Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, 1996). The focal point of inquiry is thus the “pursuit of freedom and autonomy relative to an existing status quo” (Rindova et al. 2009, p. 478). The Rindova et al. (2009) emancipation perspective of entrepreneuring connects these two ideas, emphasizing verbs and actions rather than nouns and things. “We theorize that ... three core elements are central to an emancipatory process” (p. 479): • Seeking autonomy is the impetus for entrepreneuring—the perceived need of the entrepreneur to break free of or break up perceived constraints • Authoring is defining new resource arrangements, relationships, and rules of engagement—taking ownership to change positions of power, to realize change-creating intent, and to preserve and enhance emancipatory potential • Making declarations is about managing interpretations and expectations, mobilizing support, and generating change effects through discursive and rhetorical acts about intended change The emancipation perspective emphasizes change creation: wealth creation may feature also, but it need not dominate the intended change. Rindova et al. (2009) write, “We believe that entrepreneurship research perhaps has become a bit too narrowly focused on wealth creation via new ventures” (p. 478) and “The implied opposition between emancipatory projects to create change and a 'hard-nosed business strategy' is a false one” (p. 483). Method Our research problem is the identification and description of the NewSpace entrepreneuring activities undertaken by Musk using the framework and constructs of the emancipation perspective on entrepreneuring. Our field setting is the space industry, which is currently in the midst of resurgence and profound change (Reid, 2018b, 2019; Davenport, 2018; Fernholz, 2018). Davenport (2016, p. 3) writes: “Another space race is emerging, this time among a class of hugely wealthy entrepreneurs who have grown frustrated that space travel is in many ways still as difficult, and as expensive, as ever. Driven by ego, outsized ambition and opportunity, they are investing hundreds of millions of dollars of their own money in an attempt to open up space to the masses and push human space travel far past where governments have gone”. Our research design is an event study (Van de Ven, 2007), combining case methods (Yin, 2014; Eisenhardt et al. 2016) with process theory methods (Poole et al. 2000) to operationalize the core constructs of the emancipation perspective. We focus on a single entrepreneur and their venture using publicly-available data sources. Our source for identifying events was a book-length biography, Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future (Vance, 2015). Musk cooperated in the production of the book by providing interviews, documents, and access to other people, but did not review the book prior to publication or exert editorial control. We employed NVivo qualitative data analysis (QDA) software, a set of coding rules, and a common framework for specifying events. Our analysis began with incident coding of the main source to identify and

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