The rise of the ‘dropout entrepreneur’:dropping out, ‘self-reliance’ and the American myth of entrepreneurial success

Watt, Peter (2016) The rise of the ‘dropout entrepreneur’:dropping out, ‘self-reliance’ and the American myth of entrepreneurial success. Culture and Organization, 22 (1). pp. 20-43. ISSN 1475-9551

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Abstract

This paper is an attempt to understand the rise of ‘the dropout’ as a central figure in the wider myth of entrepreneurial success. Over the past decade, a large number of ‘tech entrepreneurs’ share a success that is often attributed to the fact that they ‘dropped out’ from their respective universities. To address this, the paper begins by exploring the inherent irony that a number of high-profile ‘dropout entrepreneurs’ have given graduation commencement speeches: the irony being that their narrative of success and hope is articulated to those who, as graduates, can never follow this path. From this, the paper traces the cultural lineage of ‘dropping out’ over the latter half of the twentieth century from a position of denigration to the embodiment of the celebrated values of entrepreneurship and its central association with ‘self-reliance’ as an ideal that continues to underpin the ‘American Myth of Entrepreneurial Success.’

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Culture and Organization
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1400/1407
Subjects:
ID Code:
159783
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
17 Sep 2021 15:55
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
09 Oct 2021 05:56