Entrepreneurial leadership: an exploratory study of attitudinal and behavioural patterns over the business lifecycle

Eleni Kesidou, Sara Carter

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Strategic approaches to venture creation and development highlight the importance of entrepreneurial leadership to business success, yet remarkably little is known about what entrepreneurial leaders actually do and why they do it. This study addresses these key questions through detailed analysis of six case companies, each with multiple informants reflecting on critical incidents experienced over the business life-cycle. Contextual depth is achieved by going beyond cross-sectional investigation taking a chronological lens to the temporal dimensions of behaviors characterizing entrepreneurial leadership. This approach produced novel insights into the evolving nature of entrepreneurial leadership showing that entrepreneurial leaders transit from influencing to enabling behaviors as they move from the pre-organizational to the organizational phase of the business life-cycle. The findings contribute towards the conceptual elucidation of entrepreneurial leadership as a leadership style and help unpack the choice of entrepreneurial leadership as a strategic approach to entrepreneurship.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1573
Pages (from-to)63-88
Number of pages43
JournalInternational Review of Entrepreneurship
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2018


  • entrepreneurial leadership
  • business lifecycle
  • critical incident technique
  • organizational emergence


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