Theses Doctoral

Exploring Identity Construction in Nascent Creative Entrepreneurs

Palmieri, Michael Andres

This qualitative case study aimed to explore how 21 nascent creative entrepreneurs in the entertainment industry, specifically actors, directors, producers, and screenwriters who participated in the same workforce development program in the United States, constructed their identities via competencies and adult learning methods. It also explored the external factors that supported or impeded them.

The case study is based on the following assumptions: 1. Nascent creative entrepreneurs face unique challenges in forming their creative entrepreneurial identity. 2. Thematic and need-based commonalities will emerge from interviews with participants. 3. Current higher education and training and development programs fail to provide nascent creative entrepreneurs with the resources, information, and support required to successfully form their creative entrepreneurial identities to navigate an increasingly dynamic and competitive industry. 4. Nascent creative entrepreneurs are interested and willing to participate in this study. 5. Deepening our understanding of identity construction in nascent creative entrepreneurs could benefit the field of adult learning, creative entrepreneurs, the creative economy, and society as a whole.

The primary sources of data were semi-structured in-depth interviews, a focus group, and document analysis. The study was conducted online. Identity Theory and Adult Learning Theory, specifically Informal Learning and Self-Directed Learning, provided the overriding construct for the analysis, interpretation, and synthesis of the research findings.

Two major findings emerged from the study: 1) Nascent creative entrepreneurs construct their identities by being a collaborator.2) Nascent creative entrepreneurs construct their identities via Informal Learning. The cohort associated with participants’ workforce development program was the most mentioned supportive external factor, while business elements associated with being a creative entrepreneur emerged as an external impeding factor.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2028-05-16.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Organization and Leadership
Thesis Advisors
Volpe, Marie
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
May 31, 2023