WHY SOME LEADERS CAN BUILD NEW ORGANIZATIONS: LEADERSHIP, INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES, AND GENDER IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Open Access
Author:
Johnson, Johanna Elizabeth
Graduate Program:
Psychology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
March 25, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Rick R Jacobs, Dissertation Advisor
  • Rick R Jacobs, Committee Chair
  • James Lewis Farr, Committee Member
  • Sam Hunter, Committee Member
  • Charles C Snow, Committee Member
  • Stephanie A Shields, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • entrepreneurship
  • leadership
  • gender
  • interviews
Abstract:
From researchers, to practitioners, to politicians, there is significant interest in entrepreneurship. Research on entrepreneurship has traditionally focused on characteristics of the entrepreneur, but as with many other areas of research, there is now a move toward a better understanding of process. Additionally, as we begin to understand just how many factors influence the ultimate success or failure of an entrepreneurial venture, the field is in need of good theory to organize the diverse perspectives. In recent decades, much similarity has been noted between the study of entrepreneurship and leadership, and just as it has made inroads with the more general field leadership study, the three-factor model of leadership, and the CIP (charismatic, ideological, pragmatic) approach to leadership might also be interesting frameworks for sorting out some of the chaos in the research on entrepreneurship. The current study aimed to further our understanding of the relationships between leadership, entrepreneurship, individual differences and gender, as well as the role of followers. This paper describes a study in two parts. A qualitative pilot study consisted of semi-structured interviews with entrepreneurs. The qualitative data was used to create an overall picture of the entrepreneurial context, and then as interesting trends began to emerge, qualitative responses were used to inform a second general quantitative portion which was designed to provide a more detailed understanding those trends. Results obtained from the quantitative questionnaire (administered to a larger group of entrepreneur-follower pairs from additional organizations) suggest that relationship-focused behaviors are more strongly tied to venture success than are task and change oriented behaviors. Additionally, the effective application of the CIP leadership approach to entrepreneurship will require improved conceptual development and measurement. Definitions of success and the keys to achieving success varied both by leadership style and individual differences. Of particular note was the significant difference in the importance of profit/revenue to definitions of success for male and female entrepreneurs. Finally, the role of followers in entrepreneurial ventures appears to be as strong complements to the entrepreneurs themselves; both entrepreneurs and followers highlighted the importance of working with people who complement your own skills and abilities. Future research and practical implications are discussed.