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Entrepreneurship and Existentialism: Establishing Authenticity in a Crowded Global Marketplace

In: The Challenges of Ethics and Entrepreneurship in the Global Environment


  • Michael G. Goldsby
  • Robert Mathews


Entrepreneurial pursuits are all situational and relative. Business opportunities come and go based on many fluid factors. Those factors are also multidimensional, as market pressures and demands, skills of entrepreneurs, resources of entrepreneurs, and environmental factors make each opportunity and execution strategy unique. Since every entrepreneurial venture is essentially a one-of-a-kind enterprise, each startup is a chance for the entrepreneur to express their unique vision, values, and goals. Philosophers would recognize this exercise as existential in nature. This paper explains how reading existential literature provides inspirational heroes for entrepreneurs seeking to build companies that stand out from their peers. The paper provides an overview and history of existentialism and then applies it to entrepreneurship. The paper is conceptual and provides a brief overview of existentialism and explains how it relates to entrepreneurship. It provides a collection of existential writings that relate to entrepreneurship. Guidance for reading and applying the literature is given. Existentialism is a subject that has not been covered in the entrepreneurship literature. Thus, the paper introduces this popular philosophical perspective to the entrepreneurship literature. The authors hope to create interesting discussions between philosophy and entrepreneurship scholars.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael G. Goldsby & Robert Mathews, 2015. "Entrepreneurship and Existentialism: Establishing Authenticity in a Crowded Global Marketplace," Advances in the Study of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Growth, in: Sherry Hoskinson & Donald F. Kuratko (ed.),The Challenges of Ethics and Entrepreneurship in the Global Environment, volume 25, pages 1-15, Emerald Publishing Ltd.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:aseizz:s1048-473620150000025001

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