Nottingham University Business School
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Dr Isobel O‘Neil

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BA (Hons) (Southampton), MSc (Nottingham), PhD (Nottingham), PGCHE (Nottingham)
Associate Professor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Division: Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Centre/Institute: The Haydn Green Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
E-mail: Isobel.O'Neil@nottingham.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0) 115 9514730
Location: B24 (South Building, Jubilee Campus)

Isobel's research focuses both on exploring the process through which founders set about gaining legitimacy and on understanding how founders' identities emerge and evolve over time. Isobel conducts her research in the setting of environment and social entrepreneurship and more recently has involved a study of women entrepreneurs. Isobel has presented her work at various international conferences including the Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference, The NYU Stern Conference on Social Entrepreneurship, and the Academy of Management's Annual Meeting. Isobel has published in the Journal of Management Studies and the Journal of Business Venturing and regularly reviews articles for such journals.

Areas of Expertise
Sustainable Entrepreneurship; Social Entrepreneurship; New Venture Legitimation; Entrepreneurial Careers and Role Transitions; Authenticity; True-to-Self Work Identities; Hybridity; Entrepreneurial Identity.

Administrative Roles
Carers' Champion

School Committee Memberships
Athena SWAN SAT 2019
Health and Safety Committee
Isobel is module convenor of the following modules:


Entrepreneurship Dissertation (BUSI4556)
Entrepreneurship in Context (BUSI4455)

Details of all modules can be found on MyNottingham

Environmental and Social Entrepreneurship
The Legitimation Process
Founder Identity

Isobel is currently supervising the following Research Students:

Adeline Coignet

Older Publications

Older Publications

Chapters in Books

Hinnells, M.; O'Neil, I. (2012), "New business models for a low carbon future: case studies from the energy sector.", in Underwood et al, Blundel, R, Lyon, F, and Schaefer, A (ed) Social and Sustainable Enterprise: Changing the Nature of Business, (2), pp. 49-73, Emerald: Bingley, UK, Contemporary Issues in Entrepreneurship Research.


O'Neil, I.; Birkett, H.; Ucbasaran, D. 2012, "Career Transitions and Role Emancipation: Evidence from a Social Enterprise.", at Institute of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference, Dublin, Ireland..

Scholes, L.; Wright, M.; O'Neil, I.; Noke, H. 2012, "Innovation in Family Firms at Academy of Management", at Boston, USA.

O'Neil, I. 2011, "Personal Credibility: Implications for Legitimizing Sustainable/ Social Entrepreneurship.", at Institute of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference, Sheffield..

O'Neil, I.; Ucbasaran, D. 2011, "Building Legitimacy in a Proto-Institutional Context: Evidence from Sustainability-Driven Entrepreneurs.", at at Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), Syracuse, NY, USA. Selected for publication in the Frontiers of Entrepreneurship Research 2011..

O'Neil, I.; Ucbasaran, D. 2011, "Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Career Transitions: The Role of Individual Identity.", at 8th AGSE International Entrepreneurship Research Exchange, Melbourne, Australia..

O'Neil, I.; Ucbasaran, D. 2010, "Individual Identity and Sustainable Entrepreneurship: The Role of Authenticity", at Institute of Small Business & Entrepreneurship Conference, London. Awarded best paper in the Social, Ethical and Environmental Entrepreneurship track..

O'Neil, I. 2009, "Business Models for a Better Way? Entrepreneurs' Approaches to Legitimizing For-Profit, Sustainable Businesses", at OIKOS PhD Summer Academy, St Gallan, Switzerland.

O'Neil, I. 2009, "Innovating for Environmentally Sustainable Business Practices: The Role of the Entrepreneur-Activist", at European Group for Organizational Studies Colloquium, ESADE, Barcelona.

O'Neil, I. 2009, "The Entrepreneur-Activist: Challenging Unsustainable Business Practices", at Babson College Entrepreneurship Research Conference (BCERC), Boston, USA.

Recent Publications

Journal Articles

O'Neil, I.; Ucbasaran, D.; York, J. (2020), "The Evolution of Founder Identity as an Authenticity Work Process", Journal of Business Venturing, forthcoming 2020.

O'Neil, I.; Ucbasaran, D. (2016), "Balancing 'what matters to me' with 'what matters to them': Exploring the legitimation process of environmental entrepreneurs", Journal of Business Venturing, Vol.31 (2), pp. 133-152.

York, J.; O'Neil, I.; Sarasvathy, S. (2016), "Exploring Environmental Entrepreneurship: Identity Coupling, Venture Goals, and Stakeholder Incentives", Journal of Management Studies, Vol.53(5), 695-737.


O'Neil, I. and Swail, J. 2017, "Legitimation in 'everyday' entrepreneurship: Insights from social and commercial women entrepreneurs", in ISBE ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2017, Belfast, UK..

O'Neil, I.; Ucbasaran, D. 2015, "Balancing \"What matters to me\" & \"What Matters to them\" in Entrepreneurs' Legitimation efforts", in Seventy-fifth annual meeting of the academy of management.



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