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Entrepreneurship and liminality: the case of self-storage based businesses

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-04-06, 13:51 authored by Fiona Ellis-ChadwickFiona Ellis-Chadwick, Elizabeth M. Daniel
Purpose The paper applies the theoretical lens of liminality to a consideration of transitionary entrepreneurial business locations. The study exemplifies such transitionary locations by empirically exploring the particular case of self-storage based businesses: that is, businesses that operate for a significant number of hours each week from self-storage facilities. Methodology The study draws on interviews with both entrepreneurs operating self-storage based businesses and operators of self-storage facilities. The interview data is supported by site visits, businesses’ websites, promotional and marketing materials and press coverage. Findings Consistent with our liminal lens, entrepreneurs view their time operating from self-storage as a transitional phase. They do not suffer the high levels of uncertainty and unsettledness usually associated with liminality. However, they experience anxiety related to perceptions of operating from a business location outside the mainstream. Whilst the entrepreneurs benefit from additional services provided by the self-storage operators, this may be at the expense of extra ‘liminal’ work and anxiety experienced by the storage operators’ staff. Originality/value Our study contributes to the domain of entrepreneurship by firstly highlighting the use of non-traditional locations for entrepreneurship and secondly by beginning to theorise this phenomenon through the lens of liminality. We also make a theoretical contribution to notion of liminality by showing that liminality may manifest as a dualism: simultaneously engendering both feelings of increased certainty and security and feelings of increased anxiety.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research


ELLIS-CHADWICK, F. and DANIEL, E.M., 2016. Entrepreneurship and liminality: the case of self-storage based businesses. International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research, 22 (3), pp. 436-457.


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  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Research and the definitive published version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/IJEBR-01-2015-0015




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