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Edited by Richard T. Harrison and Claire Leitch

This Research Handbook argues that the study of entrepreneurs as leaders is a gap in both the leadership and the entrepreneurship literatures. With conceptual and empirical chapters from a wide range of cultures and entrepreneurship and leadership ecosystems, the Research Handbook for the first time produces a systematic overview of the entrepreneurial leadership field, providing a state of the art perspective and highlighting unanswered questions and opportunities for further research. It consolidates existing theory development, stimulates new conceptual thinking and includes path-breaking empirical explorations.
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Richard T. Harrison and Claire M. Leitch

In this chapter the authors adopt a feminist perspective to explore the nature of the identity work undertaken by women in the processes of identity formation and activation, and their resultant behavior in an entrepreneurial context. This chapter extends research on identity work in entrepreneurship that questions the androcentrism inherent in current notions of the entrepreneurial identity. The authors argue that there is scope to more fully enrich our theoretical understanding of identity and identity formation and their relationship to entrepreneurial processes, practices and activities, specifically those communicative practices that shape gender identity formation. They employ an ethnographic case study of a female entrepreneur involved in the start-up and growth of her family’s business. The results demonstrate how identity is co-constituted over time in relation to others, and highlight how it is shaped to fit with an entrepreneurial representation that is inextricable from context.

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Richard T. Harrison and Claire M. Leitch

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Claire M. Leitch and Richard T. Harrison

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Claire M. Leitch, Richard T. Harrison and Frances M. Hill

Policymakers have recognized the importance of formal networks to regional, entrepreneurial development, particularly for women. Our aim in this chapter is to enhance understanding of how women entrepreneurs engage in networking, in the context of three key shifts in the literature: from structure to process; from networks to networking; and from social network to social exchange theory. On the basis of this, we focused on three themes: women’s motivations for, and expectations of, participating in formal business networks; the networking behaviours they engage in, especially regarding the initiation, development and maintenance of contacts and relationships; the potential and actual benefits they perceive to accrue from networking. An interpretive approach was adopted to investigate women in their own right rather than in comparison with men, to give voice to the self-reported, lived experience of the participants. We conclude that certain assumptions about women’s entrepreneurship may be challenged, within-group differences become apparent and androcentrism potentially may be mitigated. It is demonstrated that the prevalence of generalised exchange relationships, in which benefits flow unilaterally and reciprocity is indirect, provides an effective framework to explore in-depth the initiation, development and maintenance of women entrepreneurs’ networks.

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Richard T. Harrison, Claire M. Leitch and Maura McAdam