Cognitive Leadership in the Firm
Chapter 2: The Theory of Cognitive Leadership and its Foundation in Cognitive Psychology
2. The theory of cognitive leadership and its foundation in cognitive psychology Founding a firm and being an entrepreneur almost certainly involves exerting leadership over other people. At least, once the workload exceeds the capacities of the entrepreneur herself. Although a lot of people have to do it everyday, leading other people or in other, more informal words getting them to do what one wants them to do is at times difficult. Numerous research programs have been conducted on the subject, both theoretical and empirical in nature (for an overview see Yukl 2002). Some of these projects have approached the subject from a static perspective focusing, for example, on the leader’s traits (for a meta-analysis on this subject see Zaccaro et al. 2004); others have approached it from a dynamic perspective focusing, for example, on the exchange between the leader and her subordinates (Leader–Member Exchange Theory, Dansereau et al. 1975; Graen and Cashman 1975). These, however, discuss the leadership process on the background of individuals or work groups in incumbent firms that have to be led and their interaction with the leader. On the other hand, research projects deal with the development of newly founded firms and factors that contribute to their growth or decline (see, for example, Greiner 1972; Clifford 1973; Albach et al. 1985; Garnsey 1998; Kauffeld et al. 2002). The theory of cognitive leadership combines both perspectives by focusing on the dynamics of leadership shortly after the founding of a firm, that is, when a person...
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