Enacting entrepreneurial leadership : a qualitative study of leadership behaviour in the context of Scottish growth-oriented businesses

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Strategic approaches to venture development highlight the importance of entrepreneurial leadership to business success; yet, there are significant knowledge gaps concerning what entrepreneurial leaders actually do and why they choose such behavioural paths. Situated in pragmatism, this study addresses these gaps by investigating leaders' and followers' perspectives of leadership behaviour associated with opportunity in the context of Scottish Enterprise Account Managed companies. Six case studies produce rich qualitative insight, each with multiple informants reflecting on opportunity-related critical incidents. Beyond cross-sectional investigation, contextual depth is achieved by taking a chronological lens to the temporal dimensions of behaviours characterising entrepreneurial leadership. The approach produces novel insights signalling a spectrum of interlocked behaviours reflecting actioned individual-level attributes and enactments targeting followers' influence and enablement of entrepreneurialism. The analysis also shows the evolving nature of entrepreneurial leadership enactment to correspond to the changing needs of organisations throughout their lifecycle. The case studies suggest that entrepreneurial leaders transition from influencing to enabling behaviours as business moves from pre-organisational to organisational states of development. Finally, qualitative findings reinforce the claims around entrepreneurial leadership's contribution to business success. Overall, the work contributes to the conceptual elucidation of entrepreneurial leadership as a leadership style while furthering understanding of leaders' socially situated and dynamic behaviours striving to instil opportunity-led work behaviours
Date of Award30 Aug 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorLucrezia Casulli (Supervisor) & Samuel Mwaura (Supervisor)

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