Episode 14: The Language of Entrepreneurship – part 1

Talking about entrepreneurship

We begin the first episode of the new mini-series on the language of entrepreneurship by discussing associations with, and definitions of, entrepreneurs. Bernard quotes one definition from Investopedia, a website for investors.

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

We then go on to talk about local businesses and what they call themselves. If you read German, you may enjoy this article on names for hairdressers’ shops. Bernard mentions various categorisations of entrepreneurs (see here) and how one type may not regard the other as a “real” entrepreneur

One category of entrepreneur is the ‘mumpreneur’. For academic work on mumpreneurs, and female entrepreneurs more widely, see:

We continue the first part of the episode by talking about the value set on entrepreneurial thinking and attitudes, especially at universities. Veronika mentions examples from the hosts’ employers:

University of Ghent (Bernard): Centre for Student Entrepreneurship, https://www.durfondernemen.be/en/ 

Aston University (Erika): Start-up support for graduate entrepreneurs, https://b-seen.biz

Lancaster University (Veronika): Entrepreneurs in Residence, https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/lums/business/community/entrepreneurs-in-residence/

For critical views on enterprise culture and entrepreneurial universities, see:

  • Fairclough, N. (1993). Discourse and cultural change in the enterprise culture. In Graddol, D., Thompson, L., & and M. Byram (eds), Language and Culture. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 44-54.
  • Mautner, G. (2005). The entrepreneurial university: A discursive profile of a higher education buzzword. Critical Discourse Studies, 2(2), 95-120.

You can watch Steve Jobs introduce the iPad here:

While the iPad may be a useful invention, check out this Instagram account for some useless inventions 😂😃🤪

During the interview with Munene Khoza, Veronika mentions an interview study she did with language professionals. Here’s the reference: 

  • Koller, V. (2017). Language awareness and language workers. Language Awareness, 27(1-2), 4-20. 

The business plan we analyse in the final part of the episode, and other examples, can be found at https://www.startups.com/library/expert-advice/top-4-business-plan-examples 

Veronika mentions small stories during the analysis, an idea from recent narrative theory (see also episode 7 of the podcast, on storytelling): 

  • Georgakopoulou, A. (2007). Small Stories, Interaction and Identities. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

See you again for the next part of the mini-series on the language of entrepreneurship!

Listen to the episode here

Negotiations Words and Actions

For more info and a transcript please head over to http://www.wordsandactions.blog. In the introduction to this episode on negotiations, we mention the haggling scene in the Monty Python film Life of Brian (1979). Treat yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2iZjxSGca8 On a more serious note, we mention this academic definition of negotiations:  Roloff, M.E., & Jordan, J.M. (1992). Achieving negotiation goals: the “fruits and foibles” of planning ahead. In L.L. Putnam and M.E. Roloff (eds)  Communication and Negotiation. Newbury Park: Sage, pp. 21-45.  A popular book on the subject is  Fisher, R., Ury, W., & Patton, B. (2012). Getting to Yes: Negotiating an agreement without giving in. 3rd ed. London Random House.  If you would like to see a nice collection of metaphors in different types in negotiation, have a look at  Smith, T. H. (2005). Metaphors for navigating negotiations. Negotiation Journal, 21(3), 343-364. [See what the author did there?] More on non-violent communication can be found at https://www.nonviolentcommunication.com/. Erika and Veronika have given an account of who ‘we’ can refer to in this paper:  Darics, E., & Koller, V. (2019). Social actors ‘to go’: An analytical toolkit to explore agency in business discourse and communication. Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, 82(2), 214-238.  Erika also mentions a study that shows just how important language use, including use of pronouns, is in negotiations: Neu, J., & Graham, J. L. (1995). An analysis of language use in negotiations: The role of context and content. In K. Ehlich and J. Wagner (eds) The Discourse of Business Negotiation. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 243-272. We close the first part of the episode with another film reference, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013). You can watch the scene with the Swiss bankers at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndTbiDQjbiE  We conduct the first of two interviews for this episode with Judith Large, a professional negotiator and academic. Her experience of post-war Sri Lanka is captured in  Large, J. (2016). Pushback: Sri Lanka’s dance with global governance. London: Zed Books.  Different accounts of the peace negotiations in Indonesia, including Judith’s, are collected in this 2008 publication:  https://www.c-r.org/accord/aceh-indonesia Between interviews, we talk about different strategies used by negotiators to manipulate others into agreement, not necessarily for our listeners to apply them but to become aware of them and, where appropriate, counter them. We discuss “salami slicing”, “lowballing” and “disrupt and reframe”; for the last one, see Davis, B. P., & E.S. Knowles (1999). A disrupt-then-reframe technique of social influence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76(2), 192-199. Other than that, the following two strategies are often mentioned: Foot in the Door: The negotiator starts with a small request before gradually increasing their demands. Doing so increases the likelihood that a respondent will agree to the later request. This strategy is based on the principle of compliance:  Freedman, J.L., & S.C. Fraser (1966). Compliance without pressure: The foot-in-the-door technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 4(2), 195-202.  The authors found that if an initial request to put up a small signpost outside one’s home (‘Drive safely’) was followed by the request to put up a much larger sign, 55% of respondents would comply, compared with 20% compliance if asked for the larger sign straightaway.  Door in the Face: The negotiator makes a large request that the respondent will most likely turn down. This request is followed by a second, more reasonable request. Studies show that the second request is more frequently complied with than if that same, smaller request is made in isolation: Cialdini, R.B., Vincent, J.E., Lewis, S.K., Catalan, J., Wheeler, D., & B.L. Darby (1975). Reciprocal concessions procedure for inducing compliance: The door-in-the-face technique. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 31(2), 206-215.  The authors’ example is a request to be a regular blood donor vs the request to donate blood only once. When exposed to both requests, 50% of subjects complied with the second request while a mere 32% complied when they were only presented with the second, smaller request.  Parents and carers may be interested in this application of the two techniques described above:   Chan, A.C., & T.K. Au (2011). Getting children to do more academic work: Foot-in-the-door versus door-in-the-face. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(6), 982-985 [Spoiler: Door-in-the-face works best.] Across studies though, both are equally effective:  Pascual, A., & N. Guéguen, N. (2005). Foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face: A comparative meta-analytic study. Psychological Reports, 96(1), 122-128.  Our own meta-analysis is based on a clip of us preparing this episode and having a negotiation ourselves. You can hear us reach agreement here: https://youtu.be/m7Lci3jCiyM By analysing our own talk during preparation, we take our listeners to the backstage of Words & Actions. You can watch a bite-sized introduction to sociologist Erving Goffman’s notion of frontstage and backstage communication here (narrated by Stephen Fry, no less!): https://youtu.be/6Z0XS-QLDWM​  Finally, at two points in the episode we mention zero-sum thinking, a notion from psychology that is often applied in economics and consumer behaviour research. A recent article is  Johnson, S., Zhang, J., & F. Keil (2018). Psychological underpinnings of zero-sum thinking. Available at https://psyarxiv.com/efs5y/   Another topic that kept popping up throughout was translation and multilingualism. We will address it in our next episode – see you for that!
  1. Negotiations
  2. Meetings and Conflicts
  3. The language of Entrepreneurship (3): Creativity in language and visual communication
  4. New Year’s Special: 2020 Through the Language Lens
  5. The language of entrepreneurship (2): Pitches and presentations

Full transcription of the episode

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