Work, lifestyle and location: An exploratory study on the motivations of digital entrepreneurs
thesisposted on 16.10.2020, 00:00 by Angela BancilhonAngela Bancilhon
At the nexus of alternate ways of working and living, a new type of entrepreneur has emerged. With varying degrees of flexibility over how, when and where they work, Digital Entrepreneurs (DEs) are a potentially significant breed of online business owner about which little is known. This thesis explores the motivations of DEs in creating their businesses, how they balance work with lifestyle domains and the role of location in their lives. Digital entrepreneurship is a highly topical yet under researched phenomenon. Employing a qualitative multiple case study research approach, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with thirty-six digital entrepreneurs in Australia and Bali. The aim of this approach was to gain insight into the subjective experience of DEs and a broader understanding of how they work and live. Motivational theories inform the study’s theoretical framework, with Push-Pull Theory being the most prominent. While a significant body of literature exists in relation to the motivations of traditional entrepreneurs, the digital landscape provides an alternative context for business ownership and allows a new degree of temporal and spatial flexibility. Five key themes emerged from the research findings through thematic analysis of the data. Each of these five themes provide potentially significant insights into the DE phenomenon and they are discussed and explored in light of relevant literature. These themes are synthesised into a model which presents the key motivational forces for digital entrepreneurship, informed by Push-Pull Theory, in the context of the digital landscape and broader economic and sociocultural environment. In view of DEs’ temporal flexibility, the findings provide insights as to the different approaches DEs take to balancing work with other life domains. Also presented are the work, lifestyle and community factors that emerged as significant for DEs in choosing where to base themselves. Further, in the absence of a widely accepted definition of the term “Digital Entrepreneur” this study proposes a definition based on the research findings. This research has practical implications for regional and tourist areas looking to attract DEs, for the coworking spaces that support them and for those considering digital entrepreneurship.