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Entrepreneurial leadership in SE account managed firms


The study focused on entrepreneurial leadership, its presence in Scottish Enterprise (SE) account managed firms and its impact on business performance and growth. The report summarises the overall investigation and its key findings in relation to the prevailing characteristics, attitudes and behaviours associated with effective entrepreneurial leadership, and considers the managerial/business consulting and further research implications.


The methodology consisted of data collection using a mixed method approach. Qualitative data was collected from six case studies of SE account managed firms, and quantitative information was gathered from a company survey of 133 SE account managed firms to model the extent and impact of entrepreneurial activity.


The study found that innovativeness and creativity, being passionate and sharing that passion to motivate followers, being a risk taker and encouraging risk taking for opportunity exploration and exploitation, as well as being the evangelist of the company’s vision by ensuring its clear communication and connection with respective strategies, are important for leaders who identify their style of leadership as being entrepreneurial. Access to and quality of entrepreneurial capital, as well as the levels of dynamism and hostility within the external environment, were identified as potential explanatory variables of entrepreneurial leadership. The findings concerning resource management identified that mobilisation, development and strategic management of resources is important to the leader’s vision of growth. With regard to the external environment, it was found that a dynamic environment may enhance entrepreneurial leadership, whereas a hostile, competitive environment may discourage it. The sample identified social and human capital deployment as responsible for improving the level of entrepreneurial leadership, contradicting the common understanding that financial capital is what facilitates engagement in entrepreneurial activities. However, the report notes that this may be sample-specific as a result of SE’s strategy of investing in developing networks of entrepreneurs. Quantitative findings suggested the potential of entrepreneurial leadership as a business development strategy in helping to create business growth conditions. Business growth indicators were found to be affected by behaviours and attitudes that constitute entrepreneurial leadership, suggesting the need to cultivate relevant leadership behaviours and attitudes.


No recommendations were made.

Author Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship
Published Year 2017
Report Type Research
  • Enterprise
    Entrepreneurship/new firm formation
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Leadership/management development