• Exploring the lived experiences of owner-managers who thrive at work

      Wild, Wendy (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-06)
      This thesis explores how owner-managers of scale-up companies thrive at work and aims to explore the experiences of owner-managers of these companies who are thriving at work. Empirical research to date is primarily conceptual and quantitative and conducted outside the UK with employees. This research addressed the literature gap by undertaking interpretative phenomenological analysis with owner-managers in the UK. Key findings both support and challenge the existing thriving at work construct proposed by Spreitzer, Sutcliffe, Dutton, Sonenshein & Grant (2005). Whilst this study was a based on a small number of atypical individuals, this appreciative inquiry extended existing knowledge by describing the insights and experience of owner-managers who were thriving at work using their own taxonomy, clearly expressing their need for self-development and energy, but combining these with a third dimension of being happy on a daily basis. For some, the number of participants might suggest that the findings have to be interpreted cautiously, however the underpinning methodology provided a robust rationale for such numbers to gain a deeper understanding of the idiographic experience ownermanagers have when they thrive at work. This research also contributes to the body of knowledge on spill-over, between home and work, as owner-managers were happy to have, and accepted, that their work-life and home-life would be intertwined. In the UK the Scale-up Institute report of 2014 recommended that an eco-system be developed to support these companies, and the findings of this thesis produce practical insights for stakeholders within this eco-system. Educationalists in particular should be facilitators who focus on the strengths of owner-managers, recognise that owner-managers are paratelic learners, so enable them to spot and respond to challenges to support their thriving, but importantly recognise that the speed of change could be gender specific. It is incumbent on stakeholders in the ecosystem to invest in external peer groups as a place in which owner-managers can be authentic, as inside their organisation they see themselves as role models to their staff, recognising the contagious effect their mood could have on those around them.