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Carole Elliott and Valerie Stead

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Carole Elliott and Valerie Stead

In this chapter we explore how adopting a post-structuralist sensitivity to leadership development practice opens opportunities for ‘research in action’ within the classroom. Within it we present examples of how leadership development methods can also act simultaneously as methods of enquiry, constituting a research–teaching cycle.

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Jennifer R. Carter, Claire Leitch and Valerie Stead

Over the past decade, entrepreneurship has seen an increase in the scholarly interest of entrepreneurial learning (Jones et al., 2014; Soetanto, 2017; Wang and Chugh, 2014), transforming it from one of the most neglected areas (Harrison and Leitch, 2005) to an accepted and integral aspect of entrepreneurship (McKeown, 2015; Tseng, 2013). Entrepreneurial learning is characterised by definitional inconsistency (Soetanto, 2017) as its theorisation is drawn from a range of disciplinary backgrounds with different philosophical underpinnings. This has led to diverse and fragmented understandings (Wang and Chugh, 2014). Based on a consideration of the multiple definitions and understanding of entrepreneurial learning that have been advanced already, entrepreneurial learning is defined here as the creation, acquisition and/or development of the skills, knowledge and abilities necessary for entrepreneurial activity. Entrepreneurial activity refers to the exploitation of opportunities by entrepreneurial individuals or teams in the creation and development of business ventures. Entrepreneurial learning has been shown to have a positive effect on the success and achievement of entrepreneurs and their businesses (Keith et al., 2016; Rae and Carswell, 2001; Soetanto, 2017; Wing Yan Man, 2012). Owing to the chaotic and unpredictable context of entrepreneurship (Holcomb et al., 2009), entrepreneurs need to be flexible and adaptable (Lans et al., 2008). Businesses face external pressures – for example, uncertainty (Bergh et al., 2011), rapid change (Holcomb et al., 2009; van Gelderen et al., 2005), technological development, increased customer demands and growing competition (Keith et al., 2016) – as well as internal challenges – for example, liabilities of newness, smallness and inexperience (Dada and Fogg, 2016). Therefore, entrepreneurial learning is important in enabling entrepreneurs to handle and overcome the ambiguous and ever-evolving issues they face, and is imperative for business survival and growth.