Thematic Narrative Research to Explore the Traits that Help Shape an Innovator, Entrepreneur, and Philanthropist

This study outlines the use of a phenomenological interviewing process, as defined by Irving Seidman (Seidman, 2019), to explore the traits that contribute to shaping an individual as an innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

The study involved interviewing Dr. Andy Hafer, Founder of Dynamic Communities Inc. DCE Productions Inc., Synapse, and other startup companies. The resulting data was analyzed thematically to gain insight into the observed key traits. More specifically, the interview was focused on Dr. Hafer’s early life experiences to the current day. The authors used inductive coding to examine the interview transcripts to thematically code the responses, with Initial Coding and Value Coding for the first cycle and Focused Coding for the second cycle coding. In this study, the coding produced 28 initial codes that were clustered into six categories and eventually four main themes, i.e., family, community leadership, self-leadership, and entrepreneurship.
Reviewing the main themes from different perspectives, including attachment theory (Ainsworth, 1967; Bowlby, 1969; Cassidy & Shaver, 1999; Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007), generativity theory (Religion, 2009 ), self-leadership theory (Manz, 1986), and entrepreneur mindset theory (McGrath & MacMillan, 2000), the study finds that a combination of family influences, community leadership, self-leadership, and entrepreneurship can help shape individuals into innovators, entrepreneurs, and philanthropists. This study contributes to scholarship by emphasizing the important role of community leadership and entrepreneurship in the development of successful entrepreneurs who can also make a positive impact on their communities. Moreover, this study highlights the importance of action-oriented entrepreneurship and encourages entrepreneurs to recognize the value of being community leaders in achieving their goals. By bridging the gap between theory and practice, this study can help aspiring entrepreneurs to be more aware of the essential traits and skills needed for success in their endeavors.

Authors: Wen Wei, Krishnakumar Nair, Mary West, Andy Hafer


Cite as: Wei, W., Nair, K., West, M., and Hafer, A. (2023) Thematic narrative research to explore the traits that help shape an innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Muma Business Review 7(13). 149-172.