Fashioning ethical subjectivity: The embodied ethics of entrepreneurial self-formation

Kim Poldner*, Oana Branzei, Chris Steyaert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Organizational ethics has attracted increasing attention, but how individuals make sense of themselves as ethical subjects is a yet to be explored domain. The few empirical articles on ethical subjectivity have focused on how people within organizations seek to find a balance between a sense of ethical selfhood and dominant organizational discourse. We are interested in the role of the body and embodied experiences in constructing the entrepreneurial self and how this process unfolds over time. Viewing entrepreneuring as an ethical practice, we rely on a larger study of 58 entrepreneurs and a smaller multi-modal ethnography of three entrepreneurs in the ethical fashion industry. Drawing on the Deleuzian four folds of subjectivity that we employ as an analytical device, the data analysis reveals how our protagonists use the body as sensor, source, and processor in constructing themselves as ethical subjects. Our study complements rational perspectives on ethical decision making in entrepreneurship and establishes the body as a primary mechanism for one’s formation as an ethical subject. Through connecting the body with ethics, we aim to disclose the continuous subtle interaction between morality and materiality in the process of entrepreneuring. Our abductive framework discloses how one’s body prompts and informs the development of moral actions and material artifacts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-174
Issue number2
Early online date18 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019


  • Embodiment
  • entrepreneurship
  • ethics
  • process model
  • sustainable fashion

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