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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to draw on emerging ideas related to the concept of entrepreneurial leadership which emphasises a “distributed” model synonymous with terms which indicate that authority is decentralised (“shared”, “team”, “democratic”, “representative” and “dispersed”). Design/methodology/approach – A model of authentic entrepreneurial leadership was developed based on a review of the literature. Eight small manufacturing companies were selected to empirically examine, via interviews, the extent to which authentic entrepreneurial leadership was adopted by owner‐managers. Findings – Interviews with owner‐managers indicated that they did in fact rely on an approach to leadership which emphasised the role of employees as genuine stakeholders in the business. This finding can be related to the concept of what Dovey and Fenech, describe as “enterprise logic” which the authors link to the emergence of knowledge‐based capitalism. Owner‐managers were keen to involve their employees in development of the businesses through the development of new products and new services. Practical implications – This study confirms earlier work which points out the importance of entrepreneurs adopting an authentic approach to leadership. Authentic leadership means that employees are encouraged to develop their individual strengths and owner‐managers adopt an ethical approach to their dealings with all stakeholders. Originality/value – The paper develops a model of entrepreneurial leadership which sets out the links to organizational innovation. The empirical study provides clear evidence of links between this approach to management and higher levels of innovation within small firms.
Journal of Strategy and Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 23, 2009
Keywords: Leadership; Small enterprises; Social skills; Owner‐managers; Entrepreneurialism
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