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Entrepreneurs' and managers' leadership roles compared: Context is what matters: what a person does trumps who they are

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal
Issue number4
Volume24
Number of pages3
Pages (from-to)30-32
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Purpose – To understand how the context in which employed managers and entrepreneurs' work affects their attitude to their leadership roles.

Design/methodology/approach – Presents the main points. Details the findings from the qualitative research and draws attention to the issues affecting entrepreneurs' attitude towards leadership.

Findings – In-depth interviews with nine entrepreneurs, backed up by a literature review, yielded some interesting findings as to the relationship between entrepreneurs and their potential leadership role and threw light on how their attitudes towards leadership were different from that displayed by employed managers. Research shows that managers, working in large organizations, aspire to be leaders. They are constantly practising and developing their leadership skills in their day-to-day contacts with subordinates and other people that they have contact with. Much less is known about how entrepreneurs view their leadership role. Past research tended to concentrate on a trait-based approach to leadership and focused on how managers acquired leadership skills. Recent work has rejected this approach believing that it is the context in which people work that determines their ability to develop leadership attributes and skills. It offers a dynamic view, recognizing how leadership skills are developed through taking part in a range of experiences. Focusing on the different contexts in which managers/entrepreneurs work has allowed for more insightful and informative research into why mangers/entrepreneurs may differ in their attitude towards how they view their leadership roles.

Practical implications – Provides a greater understanding of how entrepreneurs' working situation impacts on their attitude towards their development as leaders.

Social implications – Offers suggestions on how entrepreneurs' can be encouraged to take a more positive view of their leadership role that will, hopefully, have a positive effect on their company performance.

Originality/value – Provides research that sheds light on why entrepreneurs' have a different view of their leadership role from employed managers and presents ideas on how entrepreneurs in small businesses can develop their leadership skills further.