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“Living the dream” - a psychoanalytical exploration of franchisee autonomy

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/09/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Small Business Management
Issue number6
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)1-24
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date4/08/21
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The notion of autonomy is widely drawn upon as a contributor to motivation, satisfaction, and performance in franchise systems, yet autonomy lacks sufficient theorization and is often treated as a black box. We thus remain ill-equipped to explore further the role of autonomy within the franchise organization and to answer questions about how autonomy is experienced, fulfilled and sustained by franchisee business owners. This paper employs a psychoanalytic lens, drawing on the work of Lacan, to offer a deeper psychologized explanation of autonomy. From this theorization, our findings provide an insight into how the quest for autonomy plays an important role in enabling the franchising format and keeping alive the dream of being your own boss, but at the same time the ongoing struggle to craft oneself as autonomous creates tensions and anxieties. The study provides an important addition to economic explanations of franchising.