The Entrepreneur as Business Leader

The Entrepreneur as Business Leader

Cognitive Leadership in the Firm

Silke Scheer

An entrepreneur who decides to found a firm and to hire employees has to tackle two central problems: their employees’ coordination and motivation. Drawing on findings from cognitive, social and organizational psychology, this book sheds new light on the relevance of bounded rationality and social learning in the process of leadership. Silke Scheer bridges some of the missing links that can be identified within the theory of cognitive leadership and demonstrates how its scope can be broadened by investigating group level processes, and how they can have an impact on the socialization of newcomers.

Chapter 5: Exploring the Theory of Cognitive Leadership Empirically

Silke Scheer

Subjects: business and management, business leadership, entrepreneurship, economics and finance, economic psychology, politics and public policy, leadership


This chapter presents the explorative study that has been carried out for evaluating the theory of cognitive leadership. The study, which has been conducted in Germany in the beginning of 2004, asked executive officers, firm founders and CEOs to fill in a questionnaire. The differentiation that the theory of cognitive leadership makes with regard to the characteristics of a cognitive leader, on the one hand, and the effects of her cognitive leadership, on the other hand, is mirrored in the questionnaire which contains a range of items concerning the characteristics of the participants as well as items concerning the effects of her leadership. The chapter is structured as follows. In Section 5.1 hypotheses on the effects of cognitive leadership on the employees’ coordination and motivation are developed. Then, the methods that have been employed to explore these hypotheses empirically and the results of the analyses are presented successively. The chapter closes with a summary (Section 5.3). 5.1 HYPOTHESES DEVELOPMENT In this section 14 hypotheses are proposed that capture the effects of cognitive leadership on the coordination and the motivation of the employees; the section is structured accordingly. The first subsection presents the hypotheses regarding the employees’ coordination while the following subsection presents the hypotheses regarding the employees’ motivation. It has to be noted that these hypotheses do not claim to give a complete picture of all hypotheses deducible in relation to the theory of cognitive leadership. Coordination Under the conditions of cognitive leadership employees share the entrepreneur’s business conception as...

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