Research Handbook on Entrepreneurship and Leadership
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Research Handbook on Entrepreneurship and Leadership

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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Chapter 6: Managing paradoxes and tensions: a key element of entrepreneurs’ leadership behaviour

Thierry Volery and Susan Mueller


In the specific context of entrepreneurship, leadership has traditionally been defined as the ability to create visionary scenarios that are used to build a cast of competent and committed supporters to accomplish the objectives underlying the scenario. However, the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship generates a wide range of paradoxes that entrepreneurs have to deal with. In this exploratory study, the authors first investigated the paradoxical tensions facing entrepreneurs in growth-oriented ventures while observing their behaviours. They observed four inherent tensions to the job of entrepreneurs, requiring them to maintain a subtle balance between exploration and exploitation, short-term and long-term perspectives, stability and adaption, and dealing with employees and outsiders. Second, they identified ten different roles played by the entrepreneurs in order to deal with the paradoxes and tensions underpinning their work. Third, they identified strategies adopted by the entrepreneurs to preserve entrepreneurial leadership behaviour.

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