Entrepreneurial leadership: developing and measuring a cross-cultural construct

In the increasingly turbulent and competitive environment business firms face today, a type of
‘‘entrepreneurial’’ leader distinct from other behavioral forms of leadership is required. This article
develops the construct of entrepreneurial leadership using the works on entrepreneurship and
leadership as a guide. It also proposes an empirical measure of the construct using data from the Global
Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness (GLOBE) study on leadership consisting of a
62-society cross-cultural sample of over 15,000 middle managers. Findings provide evidence of the
‘‘etic’’ or universal appeal of the construct of entrepreneurial leadership across cultures and some
preliminary insights on the factors contributing to societal differences in the perceived effectiveness of
entrepreneurial leadership.

  1. Executive summary
    In the increasingly turbulent and competitive environment business firms face today, a type
    of ‘‘entrepreneurial’’ leader is required who is distinct from the behavioral forms of leaders.
    This article develops the construct of entrepreneurial leadership using the works on
    entrepreneurship and leadership as a guide.
    Entrepreneurship has been defined from various perspectives: pursuit of self-interest
    (Smith, 1776), innovative combinations of available resources (Schumpeter, 1934), uncertainty
    and risk-bearing activities (Kets de Vries, 1977), risk-avoiding- or -minimizing
    behavior (Smith and Miner, 1985; Leibenstein, 1968), and proactive or opportunity-seeking
    behavior (Miller, 1983; Stevenson, 1983). In this literature, entrepreneurship is viewed as a
    discrete event based on the autonomous pursuit of innovative opportunities (Lumpkin and
    Dess, 1996). However, a more integrative perspective is required when examining entrepreneurial
    thinking within existing organizations (Kanter, 1982).
    McGrath and MacMillan (2000) recommend incorporating an ‘‘entrepreneurial mind-set’’
    as a core element of strategic management, particularly in high-velocity environments of
    competition and change. Consequently, a focus on the concept of ‘‘entrepreneurial leadership’’
    is an important step in this direction. The objective of this article is to clarify the concept and
    develop an empirical measure of entrepreneurial leadership. Drawing from past research
    (McGrath and MacMillan, 2000; Kuratko and Hornsby, 1998; DuBrin, 1995; Slevin and
    Covin, 1990), we define entrepreneurial leadership as ‘‘leadership that creates visionary
    scenarios that are used to assemble and mobilize a ‘supporting cast’ of participants who
    become committed by the vision to the discovery and exploitation of strategic value creation.’’
    This definition emphasizes the challenge of mobilizing the resources and gaining the
    commitment required for value creation that the entrepreneurial leader faces, which involves
    creating a vision and a cast of supporters capable of enacting that vision. The two challenges
    of forging a vision and building a cast of competent and committed supporters are
    interdependent since the former is useless without the latter. Thus, entrepreneurial leaders
    envision and enact a proactive transformation of the firm’s transaction set (Venkataraman and
    Van de Ven, 1998).
    After developing the construct of entrepreneurial leadership theoretically, we propose an
    empirical measure using data from the Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior
    Effectiveness (GLOBE) study on leadership consisting of a 62-society cross-cultural sample
    of over 15,000 middle managers. Findings provide evidence of the ‘‘etic’’ or cross-cultural
    universal nature of entrepreneurial leadership, and insights on factors contributing to societal
    differences in the perceived effectiveness of entrepreneurial leadership.
  1. Introduction
    In the context of rising competition for critical resources (Santora et al., 1999; Pointer and
    Sanchez, 1994) in complex and volatile environments, recent literature (Brown and
    Eisenhardt, 1998; Bettis and Hitt, 1995) observes that the escalating ineffectiveness of more

traditional approaches to strategy necessitates an entrepreneurial approach. This literature
suggests that organizations must be more entrepreneurial to enhance their performance, their
capacity for adaptation, and long-term survival.
Entrepreneurial effort refers to key challenges managers face and is related to the ‘‘extent to
which top managers are inclined to take business-related risks (the risk-taking dimension), to
favor change and innovation to obtain a competitive advantage for their firm (the innovation
dimension), and to compete aggressively with other firms (the proactiveness dimension)’’
(Covin and Slevin, 1988, p. 218). However, balance is essential for effectiveness: while
pursuing innovation, attention to containing risk is also necessary. Similarly, while proactive
behavior may enhance competitiveness, a collaborative orientation may be required to
facilitate learning and speedy commercialization of innovations. Thus, the challenge is to
achieve growth and/or corporate renewal by fostering a culture of innovation (Brown, 1996)
through strategic mandate and resource commitments (Burgelman, 1984). However, making
parsimonious resource commitments calls for a ‘‘real options’’ mindset (McGrath, 1999),
whereby one ‘‘tests the waters’’ by first committing small amounts of resources to discover
whether further investment is justified. In addition, firms can secure support and resources
through networking with others to reduce risk (Starr and MacMillan, 1990).
Some research studies indicate that entrepreneurial behavior in established firms (also
known as corporate venturing or intrapreneurship) is associated with superior performance
(Zahra and Covin, 1995) and that this superior performance is sustainable (Wiklund, 1999).
Such entrepreneurial behavior contributes to superior performance through strategic renewal
(Guth and Ginsberg, 1990) and indirectly through acquisition of knowledge about future
revenue streams (McGrath et al., 1994) and new capabilities that expand the firm’s absorptive
capacity (Levinthal, 1994).
The concept of entrepreneurial leadership involves fusing the concepts of ‘‘entrepreneurship’’
(Schumpeter, 1934), ‘‘entrepreneurial orientation’’ (Miller, 1983; Covin and Slevin,
1988), and ‘‘entrepreneurial management’’ (Stevenson, 1983) with leadership. It emphasizes
taking a strategic approach to entrepreneurship, so that the entrepreneurial initiatives can
support development of enhanced capabilities for continuously creating and appropriating
value in the firm. Thus, entrepreneurship can form a basis for competitive advantage and
technological growth in all types of firms that are oriented towards leadership and excellence
in the new global economy.
In this article, we first develop the construct of entrepreneurial leadership theoretically,
drawing on relevant literature on entrepreneurship and leadership. Next, we propose operational
measures of the construct and test its validity. To do this, we draw from the GLOBE
database a subset of importance ratings of leadership attributes in terms of their contribution
to outstanding leadership outcomes by a 62-society cross-cultural sample of over 15,000
middle managers. These data were collected as part of the GLOBE program, with Robert
House as the principal investigator. Findings from the GLOBE study show that while some
leadership attributes are universally endorsed as effective or universally rejected as ineffective
for outstanding outcomes, others are culturally contingent (House et al., 1998; Hartog et al.,
1999). Finally, we investigate whether entrepreneurial leadership is ‘‘universally’’ endorsed
as effective.

2.1. Entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship literature
Entrepreneurship has long been recognized as a leading driver of development in local,
regional, and national economies (Schumpeter, 1934) and can equally be considered an
important factor in the development of established firms increasingly beset by competition.
For intrapreneurship to flourish in such firms, an entrepreneurial orientation is critical—firms
with an entrepreneurial orientation adapt their capabilities to meet emergent competition
through flexible resource deployment, which allows the firm to ‘‘use or expand companies’
resources and thus raise long-term capacity (Kanter, 1982).’’ Entrepreneurially oriented firms
are capable of corporate transformation (Ghoshal and Bartlett, 1996) by effectively translating
emergent options into platforms for continuous value creation. This allows them to move fast
to gain first-mover advantage in emerging new products or markets (Kuratko and Hodgetts,
The challenge for such firms is to build a capacity to continuously discover and exploit
new competitive opportunities. Neomanagerial theory (Boston et al., 1996) eschews the focus
on traditional analytical approaches (Ansoff, 1965) for competing in stable environments and
focuses on value creation through empowerment and decentralization (Osborne and Gaebler,
1992; Peters, 1992; Light, 1997). Thus, it moves out of the confines of traditional planning,
organizing and controlling practices, and emphasizes more adaptive and innovative action.
The entrepreneurship literature suggests at least four conditions that encourage entrepreneurial
action in the firm.
The first condition is the presence and effective communication of an entrepreneurial
vision. Hitt et al. (1999) note the significance of ‘‘developing, communicating and emphasizing
specific shared values among organization members’’ while Brazeal and Herbert (1999)
highlight the visionary role of top management in creating the context for transaction setaltering
The second condition for encouraging entrepreneurial initiative is processes that nurture
and support innovation, such as systems for rapid product design, development, and
commercialization (Quinn, 1985), or systems that encourage innovation champions, allowing
them to shape the success of new products and business ventures (Howell and Higgins, 1990;
Shane, 1994).
The third important condition is the presence of adequate processes to generate or secure
resources and expertise for entrepreneurial efforts (Daily and Dalton, 1993). The public
entrepreneurship literature stresses the need for processes to ‘‘alter the existing allocation of
scarce public resources in fundamental ways’’ (Lewis, 1980, p. 233) in addition to making the
organization more responsive to change through participative decision-making and transparent
communications (Morris and Jones, 1999).
The fourth condition is the capacity to facilitate continuous exploration and idea generation
(Jelinek and Litterer, 1995). Fostering experimentation and autonomous initiatives in
subordinates to promote ‘‘autonomous strategic decision-making’’ (Burgelman, 1990) helps
generate commitment and higher levels of involvement, raises morale and increases the
capacity to address ambiguity by improving the ability to gain access to required information
through multiple channels. The process of idea generation is enhanced if pressures to

continuously discover and create new opportunities from existing activities are institutionalized
(McGrath and MacMillan, 2000). Such pressures generate initiatives that expand
existing resource bundles and enhance flexibility, resulting in the creation of new resources,
technologies, and work systems.
The entrepreneurial leader’s challenging task is to mobilize the capacity of the organization
and its stakeholders to do the above. We next examine the challenges they face from the
perspective of various theories of leadership.
2.2. Leadership literature
The basic challenge of entrepreneurial leaders (McGrath and MacMillan, 2000) is to
envision future possibilities and enable the organization to transform its current transaction
set (Venkataraman and Van de Ven, 1998). Moreover, such adaptation must be accomplished
without overstraining the unit’s resource endowments. In addition, this must often be done in
the face of conservative and risk-averse attitudes stemming from followers’ lack of
confidence in the gains from innovation in uncertain environments.
At its most general level, the vast literature on leadership literature focuses on the ability of
leaders to influence a group of followers and emphasizes the relations among three key
factors: the leader, the followers, and the landscape. While theories of leadership abound, in
this article, we focus on three cross-cultural, universal perspectives of leadership that have
emerged in recent years that are relevant to the context outlined above—leadership capable of
sustaining innovation and adaptation in high-velocity and uncertain environments.
First, the neocharismatic/transformational leadership perspective evolved in response to
limitations found in traditional transactional leadership theories, such as the path–goal theory
(House, 1971) and operant conditioning (Luthans and Kreitner, 1975; Podsakoff et al., 1982).
In these traditional theories, the leader’s role is instrumental rather than inspirational, is based
on the principal of exchange, and functions to provide the necessary incentives or
disincentives to obtain desired task outcomes. In contrast, the neocharismatic leadership
perspective focuses on how leaders evoke superordinate performance from followers through
a transcendence of self-interested behavior by appealing to higher needs for self-actualization,
deeply held personal values, and implicit motivations of followers (Burns, 1978; Bass, 1985).
As Burns (1978, p. 20) observes, the act of leadership ‘‘binds leader and follower together in
a mutual and continuing pursuit of a higher purpose.’’
Entrepreneurial leadership has much in common with transformational leadership in that
the leader evokes superordinate performance by appeals to the higher needs of followers.
However, the entrepreneurial leader’s ability to evoke such performance is founded in the
context of the firm’s need to adapt to emerging environmental contingencies. Thus, the basic
challenge is to create a willingness in followers to abandon current conventional but careersecure
activities for creative, entrepreneurial action.
Second, team-oriented leadership theories, by focusing on the interactions between leaders
and group members, specifically emphasize the ability of leaders to elicit heightened levels of
group participation and involvement by team members. This view includes leader–member
exchange theory, which examines leadership from the perspective of role theory and posits

that role development results in differentiated role exchanges between the leader and
subordinates within an organization (Graen and Cashman, 1975; Graen and Uhl-Bein,
1995). Support for this approach from field studies suggests that leader–member exchange
may predict outcomes such as team performance (Graen et al., 1982) and managerial progress
(Wakabayashi and Graen, 1984; see Graen and Uhl-Bein, 1995, for a review).
The similarity between team-oriented leadership and entrepreneurial leadership is that in
both cases the leader elicits high levels of participation and involvement by the group. Yet,
the difference is that entrepreneurial leaders must orchestrate constantly changing role
definitions driven by an uncertain organizational context, rather than negotiate based on
the more stable role exchanges characteristic of static environments.
Third, value-based leadership, a perspective elaborated by House and Aditya (1997)
suggests that leaders articulate a captivating vision or mission in ideological terms, show a
high degree of confidence in themselves and their beliefs, and set a personal example of
involvement in and commitment to the mission for followers to emulate. Leaders thus appeal
to a vision and mission derived from a set of superordinate values and behave in a manner
that reinforces the mission, communicating high expectations to followers, and conveying
confidence in their ability to meet such expectations (Conger and Kanungo, 1987; Shamir et
al., 1993). In the business context, values-based leadership may be an important source of
advantage, since commitment, a resource that is difficult to imitate, can be gained by
affecting the values and beliefs that underlie individuals’ perceptions (Ghemawat and del
Sol, 1998).
The similarity between value-based and entrepreneurial leadership lies in the leader’s
capacity to build a high-expectation vision and to convey confidence in the followers’ ability
to accomplish that vision. Again, the difference stems from organizational context—the
leader cannot themselves demonstrate the extraordinary effort needed to accomplish the
entrepreneurial task, but, instead, must rely on the commitment of followers to use their
specialized skills to enable the accomplishment of the entrepreneurial task.
In summary, specifically in the organizational context, components of transformational,
team-building, and value-based leadership that are relevant for entrepreneurial leadership are
those that enable the leader to mobilize the capacity to meet the entrepreneurial challenge.
This can only be done by a leader who can:

  1. extract exceptional commitment and effort from organizational stakeholders,
  2. convince them that they can accomplish goals,
  3. articulate a compelling organizational vision,
  4. promise their effort will lead to extraordinary outcomes, and
  5. persevere in the face of environmental change.
    2.3. Entrepreneurial leadership
    Drawing on these ideas of leadership, we suggest that entrepreneurial leaders face two
    interrelated challenges—first envisaging and creating a scenario of possible opportunities that

can be seized to revolutionize the current transaction set, given resource constraints. We call
the first challenge scenario enactment. The second challenge is to convince both potential
followers and the firm’s network of stakeholders that the transformation of this transaction set
is possible by assembling resources (including recruiting additional cast) to accomplish the
objectives underlying the scenario. We call this challenge cast enactment—creating a cast of
characters—people endowed with the appropriate resources needed to execute the transformation.
Scenario and cast enactment are interdependent since transforming the transaction set
through scenario enactment cannot be conceived without an appropriate cast and the cast
cannot be assembled until a convincing scenario is communicated. Both processes evolve
cumulatively and iteratively, much like the process of competence development involves the
parallel evolution of cognitive understanding and deftness in practice in project teams
(McGrath et al., 1995) or the complementary processes of concrete and abstract learning
(Brown et al., 1989).
In addition, entrepreneurial leadership (like neocharismatic and value-based leadership)
goes beyond organizational adaptation, which is the focus of population ecology (Hannan and
Freeman, 1977) or evolutionary economics (Nelson and Winter, 1982). The actions that
entrepreneurial leaders precipitate in pursuit of their vision constitute proactive ‘‘enactment’’1
of new combinations of capabilities in the organization—reconfigured and focused to forge
an entirely reconstructed transaction set for the firm.
We suggest that the creation of these conditions calls for the execution of five specific
entrepreneurial leadership roles adapted and modified from McGrath and MacMillan (2000),
three of which are associated with scenario enactment and two with cast enactment.
First, by undertaking the role of ‘‘framing,’’ entrepreneurial leaders ‘‘frame a challenge that
will push the team to the limits of its abilities without pushing them over their limits’’
(McGrath and MacMillan, 2000). Thus, entrepreneurial leaders balance the desire for
aggressive improvement with a pragmatic understanding of the capabilities of individuals
that will be involved in realizing the transformation. Framing the challenge calls for the
entrepreneurial leader to combine highly ambitious goals with insightful understanding of the
limits of what can be accomplished (Brazeal and Herbert, 1999). The result is discovery of a
vision ‘‘worthy of persistence’’ (Pinchot, 1994).
In their role of ‘‘absorbing uncertainty,’’ the entrepreneurial leader formulates a vision of
the future state to be enacted by the followers and, then, shoulders the burden of
responsibility for being wrong about the future. By absorbing the paralyzing effects of
uncertainty for followers, the entrepreneurial leader builds their confidence enabling them to
act as if it is possible to realize the vision. The role of product champions (Shane, 1994) is
well recognized for absorbing uncertainty to facilitate innovation.
In their ‘‘path-clearing’’ role, entrepreneurial leaders negotiate the internal and external
environments (Cyert and March, 1966; Thompson, 1983). They are able to anticipate and

dissolve potential resistance, obtain support from key stakeholders within the firm as well as
from external constituencies, and eliminate obstacles to the accomplishment of desired goals.
Critical resources and information are thereby made available (Daily and Dalton, 1993;
Lewis, 1980).
The above three roles help to accomplish scenario enactment—the following two roles are
associated with cast enactment.
In ‘‘building commitment,’’ entrepreneurial leaders use their team-building skills to inspire
and mold a team that is highly committed to extending extraordinary energy and effort to
accomplish the scenario described by the leader (Bandura, 1970).
At the same time, there is a need to ‘‘specify limits’’ to hold and sustain commitment in the
face of contingencies and constraints on action. By decisively specifying limits, the leader
reshapes individuals’ perceptions of their own capabilities by eliminating self-imposed ideas
of limitation. Moreover, creativity flourishes when constraints are defined; Clark et al. (1985)
find that clearly specifying constraints yields breakthrough results in new product innovation.
Together, these five roles, subsumed under the two dimensions of enactment, provide the
theoretical framework for the construct of entrepreneurial leadership. In the balance of the
article, we empirically test this construct.

  1. An empirical model for entrepreneurial leadership
    We operationalize the construct of entrepreneurial leadership by identifying attributes
    underlying the five roles that lead to scenario enactment and cast enactment using data and
    measures of leadership effectiveness from the GLOBE survey (House et al., 1998).
    3.1. Data
    The GLOBE program surveyed a sample of more than 15,000 middle managers during
    1995–1997 in 62 societies worldwide, including those two levels above and below them in
    subcultures with the highest commercial activity. At least three societies in each of the
    following 10 major cultural clusters of the world were included in the sample: Latin America,
    Latin Europe, Anglo, Nordic, Germanic, Eastern Europe, Southern Asia, Confucian Asia,
    Middle East, and Sub-Sahara Africa. More than 900 different firms from up to three
    industries (financial services, food processing, and telecommunications) were included. Thus,
    both relatively stable conditions as in food processing and more volatile environments, such
    as found in financial services and telecoms, were represented in the study (for details on
    sample selection and validation procedures used in the two phases of the GLOBE survey, see
    House et al., 1998).
    We use GLOBE data from managerial respondents who rated 112 attributes of effective
    leadership as impeding or facilitating outstanding leadership, measured on a seven-point
    scale, ranging from 1 (substantially impedes) to 7 (substantially facilitates).
    The enactment of entrepreneurial leadership depends on all levels of management—top,
    middle, and lower, but in quite different ways. Top managers must play a leadership role of

sanctioning a strategic mandate for an entrepreneurial mindset at the middle manager level.
Middle level managers must perceive entrepreneurial leadership as conducive to organizational
effectiveness for them to coach lower-level personnel in innovative behavior (Kuratko
and Hornsby, 2001). The middle managers are also responsible for ‘‘developing a strategic
vision and gaining the commitment and loyalty of subordinates’’ (Sayles, 1996, p. 424) and
for promoting strategic initiatives at operational levels of the organization (Burgelman, 1983).
3.2. Methods and results
3.2.1. Reliability of entrepreneurial leadership model
The 112 attributes of outstanding leadership in the GLOBE survey were scanned to
identify 19 attributes expected to load on the five roles that facilitate scenario enactment and
cast enactment. We first short-listed 23 leadership attributes in the GLOBE survey as relevant
for entrepreneurial behaviors in the established firms. Of these, we excluded four attributes—
risk-taking, autonomous, independent, and self-interested—from the construct of entrepreneurial
leadership, because these leadership behaviors had low positive or negative correlation
with the remaining attributes. Evidently, taking risks, pursuing self-interests, and acting
independently and autonomously are behaviors that are deemed effective only in some
organizations and societies and are not part of a universal view of entrepreneurial leadership.
Based on our theoretical framework, we then classified the remaining 19 attributes into five
We split the GLOBE manager sample into two halves. Using the first half, we conducted
an exploratory factor analysis, in which only 2 of the 19 attributes did not load well onto their
predicted role factors. First, ex post, not surprisingly, extra insight (‘‘intuition’’) was more
relevant for framing the challenge, than for absorbing uncertainty. Second, more surprisingly,
leaders who seek continuous improvement (‘‘improvement-oriented’’) were more relevant for
building commitment than for framing the challenge. It may be that sustained leader-driven
pressure for improvement elicits a sense of commitment in the followers. The final attributes
underlying the five roles of entrepreneurial leadership construct are given in Table 1.
Thereafter, a confirmatory factor analysis on the second half of the sample supported our
results. Scales measuring each of the five roles had a composite reliability ranging from .49
to .61 at the individual level, which is acceptable for an individual-level cross-cultural
construct. In addition, the five role scales showed adequate composite reliability at
organization (range .66–.73, n=376) and society (range .71–.83, n=60) levels. Further, the
scales for scenario enactment and cast enactment and for the entrepreneurial leadership
construct had composite reliability of more than .70 at individual, organization, and society
levels, as shown in Table 2.
3.2.2. Validity of entrepreneurial leadership model
Construct validity of a scale comprises of two elements: internal and external validity.
Internal validity is of two types: convergent and discriminant.
Convergent validity of the scales is indicated if each factor loading for the scales is
statistically significant. This condition was satisfied for all the five roles, two subdimensions,

and the overall entrepreneurial leadership scale at individual, organizational, and society
Discriminant validity can be tested using the chi-square test, comparing confirmatory factor
analysis model where correlation among the roles and between the subdimensions is specified
to be 1 versus where it is unconstrained (Bagozzi and Phillips, 1982). Using the chi-square test,
the fit indices for the confirmatory factor analysis at individual levels of analysis deteriorated
substantially when we forced the correlation to be 1. These results may, however, be an artifact
of large sample size, because of which even small changes in correlation can have significant
effects on the value of chi-square. Indeed, correlation among the five roles ranged from .55 to
.65 (P<.01) at the individual level, indicating that the effectiveness of various roles of entrepreneurial leadership tends to go in tandem. Further, at the organization and society levels of analysis, the five roles and the two subdimensions were not statistically distinguishable (P > .05). Therefore, effective entrepreneurial leadership must be seen as an integrated
construct, emerging based on joint effectiveness of the constituent roles and subdimensions.
The external validity of a construct is established if it is related with the established crosscultural
scales in theoretically expected directions. Shane et al. (1995) studied innovation
championing in four multinational organizations using a 30-nation employee sample. They
found that in nations ranked high on Hofstede’s Power Distance Index, innovators felt a
greater need to obtain approval from the hierarchy (indicating a constrained scenario
enactment), and in nations ranked high on Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance Index,
innovators felt more constrained by rules and regulations (suggesting a constrained cast
enactment). In another study, Shane and Venkataraman (1996) analyzed data from six
multinationals using a 28-nation employee sample and showed that a preference for
innovating outside existing organizational norms (indicating entrepreneurial orientation)

was negatively correlated with Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance Index and positively
correlated with Hofstede’s Individualism Index. Further, Hofstede (2001, p. 362) asserts that
Long-Term Orientation has several key components: ordering relationships by status,
maintaining this order, and perseverance. Of these, perseverance supports ‘‘sustained efforts
of the entrepreneur in building a business’’ and ‘‘those of his or her workers in carrying out
their daily tasks’’ (Hofstede, 2001, p. 362). Therefore, one may hypothesize that entrepre-

neurial leadership would be negatively correlated with Hofstede’s Power Distance Index and
Uncertainty Avoidance Index and positively correlated with Hofstede’s Individualism Index
and Long-Term Orientation. Indeed, entrepreneurial leadership construct is correlated
negatively with Hofstede’s Power Distance Index (r=.29, P<.05, n=51) and Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance Index (r =.18, P>.05, n = 51) and correlated positively with
Hofstede’s Individualism Index (r=.16, P>.05, n=51). However, correlation with Long-
Term Orientation is significantly negative (r=.36, P<.05, n=31), which probably indicates
entrepreneurial leaders’ aversion to ordered relationships and status. Overall, we find that the
entrepreneurial leadership construct is related to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions in predictable
ways, and therefore it carries prediction validity at least at the society level.
As another test of construct validity, we refer to Weber’s (1930, p. 224) proposition that the
Protestant ethic was associated with leadership in entrepreneurship, because it emphasized
‘‘the sinfulness of the belief in authority, which is only permissible in the form of an
impersonal authority.’’ Following Weber, societies in the three Protestant clusters (Anglo,
Nordic, and Germanic) may be expected to score higher on entrepreneurial leadership, than
those from the other seven cultural clusters sampled in GLOBE. Entrepreneurial Leadership
scores for 60 societies across 10 cultural clusters are provided in Table 3. Using one-way
analysis of variance test, the contrast between the three Protestant clusters and the other seven
cultural clusters is .20 (P<.01), confirming our expectation and supporting the validity of the
3.2.3. The universality of entrepreneurial leadership model
To establish the relevance of entrepreneurial leadership, an important question is whether,
on average, the managers universally endorse it as a characteristic of outstanding leadership.
As a preliminary test, we use the criteria proposed by Hartog et al. (1999) for assessing the
universality of the leadership attributes. These criteria hold that for a universal attribute
measured using a seven-point scale: (1) 95% of scores must be at least 5 and (2) the grand
mean score must be at least 6. Using the overall mean criteria, as shown in Table 4, we find

that managers in the GLOBE sample universally support the relevance of entrepreneurial
leadership (6.02). Yet, more than 5% of the sampled managers rate the effectiveness to be less
than 5.0, suggesting that not all managers may endorse entrepreneurial leadership as effective.
However, at the organization and society levels of analysis, entrepreneurial leadership had a
grand mean not less than 6.0 and 95% of scores were at least 5.0. Thus, while entrepreneurial
leadership appears to be a universal construct relevant for outstanding results at the
organization and society levels, there may be some individual managers who hold a cautious
view about such leadership.

  1. Discussion
    Our research developed a theoretical framework from three important streams of
    leadership theory and from the entrepreneurship literature to develop and test the construct
    of entrepreneurial leadership and to establish ‘‘etic’’ or universal support for the effectiveness
    of entrepreneurial leadership. While we did not find support for the discriminant
    validity of the five roles and two subdimensions of entrepreneurial leadership, the overall
    construct of entrepreneurial leadership is related with Hofstede’s cultural scales in
    predictable ways, suggesting its external validity. To confirm the discriminant validity of
    the overall entrepreneurial leadership construct, we compare it with three major alternative
    cross-cultural models of universal leadership: neocharismatic/transformational, team-oriented,
    and value-based leadership, as operationalized in the GLOBE study (Hartog et al.,
    As shown in Table 5, attributes such as intellectual stimulation, foresight, a positive and
    decisive mindset, and a confidence-building approach are common to both neocharismatic/
    transformational leadership and construct of entrepreneurial leadership. However, unlike
    entrepreneurial leadership, neocharismatic leadership emphasizes heroic and extraordinary
    personal attributes and can have costs or negative effects for followers (Yukl, 1998).
    Harrison (1987) notes that people may lose perspective due to the focus on excellence
    created by neocharismatic leaders. Unlike neocharismatic leaders, entrepreneurial leaders
    require ambitious foresight and pattern recognition capabilities (Brown and Eisenhardt,
    1998) for framing the challenge and absorbing uncertainty. They are ‘‘not looking for
    convergence (at least not at first) but rather at creating entirely new patterns. The process
    does not involve analysis of a reality that exists but enactment, that is, the creation of a
    new reality’’ (McGrath and MacMillan, 2000, p. 235). Thus, the entrepreneurial leader may
    be viewed as the antihero like the professional soldier Bluntschli in Arms and the Man
    (Shaw, 1894) whose emphasis on calculative action rather than on lofty ideals helps win the
    Both entrepreneurial leadership and team-oriented leadership require an ability to be
    effective at bargaining and team building. However, while team-oriented leadership focuses
    on effective coordination and communication, win–win problem solving, and intragroup
    relationships, entrepreneurial leadership emphasizes path clearing for opportunity exploitation
    and value creation. Intellectual stimulation and creativity are critical for entrepreneurial

leadership since a key task is to specify limits through experimentation to take advantage of
emerging opportunities. The specification of limits is especially important since current
competencies arising from historical administrative and other functions often need to be
reconfigured to meet new challenges, as noted by McGrath and MacMillan (2000, p. 118) and
Bartlett and Ghoshal (1988).
Similarly, both value-based and entrepreneurial types of leadership emphasize the
importance of intuition. However, value-based leaders rely on morally uplifting their
followers by exemplifying values that followers espouse or are inspired by. In contrast,
entrepreneurial leaders do not focus on moral ideology. Instead, they emphasize building
commitment through active, creative, and discovery-driven engagement with the opportunities
presented by the environment, and make a virtue of focusing on customers, products,
achieving results, and wealth creation. They allocate ‘‘disproportionate attention, disproportionate
resources, and disproportionate talent’’ to the creation of new business models, so that
they have a chance to take off, rather than be squeezed by the existing business (McGrath
and MacMillan, 2000, p. 304). Further, entrepreneurial leaders eschew conventional
perspectives and values to arrive at creative solutions, often the result of unorthodox thinking
(Amabile, 1996).

In sum, entrepreneurial leaders focus on enacting an entirely emergent organizational task
and a transaction set to accomplish the task. The emphasis is on a discovery-driven approach
to specifying problematic limits, and mandating strategic commitment to new business
development so that team members feel that they have ‘‘not only the right but the obligation
to seek out new opportunities and to make them happen.’’ By setting the climate through
personal modeling of these behaviors ‘‘consistently, predictably, and relentlessly’’ entrepreneurial
leaders ensure that others will emulate their behavior and ‘‘they will not change what
they do on the basis of words alone’’ (McGrath and MacMillan, 2000, p. 303). Moreover, the
entrepreneurial leader’s apparent ordinariness builds commitment by encouraging others to
experiment and learn for themselves. The intent is not only to get followers to be
supernormally motivated to work hard but also to help them develop a different perspective.
Further, the mechanism is not charisma, values, or team pressure, but a collective spirit of
conscious innovation.

  1. Conclusions
    In this article, we posited that entrepreneurial leadership involves two interlinked enactment
    challenges accomplished through associated roles. Cast enactment involves assembling
    a cast of individuals with the competence to accomplish required changes through the roles of
    commitment building and specification of constraining limits, while scenario enactment
    involves reorienting the business model through the roles of absorbing uncertainty, framing
    the challenge, and path clearing.
    Using data from the GLOBE project, we identified attributes of leadership associated with
    these roles and demonstrated the validity of the construct of entrepreneurial leadership. Our
    preliminary results confirm the universal and ‘‘etic’’ features of the entrepreneurial leadership
    construct. While most organizations and societies endorse entrepreneurial leadership as
    effective, some variations in the degree of perceived effectiveness do exist. Cultures
    characterized by high power distance, such as the Middle Eastearn and Confucian societies,
    are less likely to endorse entrepreneurial leadership than the Anglo and Nordic societies,
    which are more egalitarian. Differences in access to knowledge, technology, and finance may
    also create conditions that are either favorable or detrimental for the wider emergence of
    entrepreneurial leadership, and so the manner in which such leadership is enacted in different
    cultures could differ. Certainly, recent research on international human resource management
    points towards such ‘‘emic’’ aspects of organizational and leadership constructs (Teagarden
    and Von Glinow, 1997).
    The findings that perceptions of individual managers about the effectiveness of
    entrepreneurial leadership may vary across cultures are consistent with those obtained from
    prior cross-cultural research. Child (1981), for instance, concluded that although firms in
    different countries are becoming more alike, the behavior of individuals within these firms
    continues to maintain its cultural specificity. Cross-cultural convergence in the effectiveness
    of organizational variables tends to operate at the macrolevel (for example, at the firm or
    society level) and reflects common knowledge about macrofactors such as structure and

technology used by firms across cultures. In contrast, the cross-cultural divergence in their
effectiveness is typical at the microlevel and reflects the varying needs, values, and beliefs
of people within firms and societies (Child, 1981). Thus, middle managers with a high need
for achievement (McClelland, 1961) may be more likely to endorse entrepreneurial
Our research design has some limitations. It uses an instrument and database not originally
intended for developing the construct of entrepreneurial leadership. The items in the
instrument asked respondents to rate the degree to which each behavior contributes to
‘‘outstanding leadership behavior’’ in their organizations and societies. Further, the effectiveness
of entrepreneurial leadership attributes reflects the perceptions of the respondents rather
than performance data.
Nevertheless, despite its limitations, the GLOBE instrument is robust since it has been
extensively validated for the cross-cultural relevance of the leadership items included.
Moreover, the GLOBE sample is a useful heuristic sample because of the large number of
respondents from societies representing all regions of the world. Finally, the use of a database
not intended to measure entrepreneurial leadership can be viewed as a strength of this
research, given that the resulting construct is found related to the external cultural dimensions
in theoretically expected ways.
That entrepreneurial leadership is universally endorsed and that there are societal differences
in its effectiveness suggest several promising areas of inquiry. Most importantly,
institutional support for entrepreneurial leadership may be lacking in some societies, as in the
erstwhile centrally planned economies of the Soviet Union. In addition, it is possible that
more strategic effort is needed for enacting entrepreneurial leadership in stable, protected
environments with limited competition, than in situations where hypercompetition and
turbulence are the norm, because the perceived need for entrepreneurial leadership in stable
environments may be lower (Brown and Eisenhardt, 1998). The entrepreneurial leader with a
focus on mastering new models of value creation through inquiry in action (Torbert, 2000)
may be more effective in competitive, change-oriented situations. The construct of entrepreneurial
leadership developed in this article is a preliminary step that attempts to initiate further
research in these directions, and to contribute to ongoing efforts to integrate the fields of
strategy, leadership, and entrepreneurship.
We thank Venkataraman and two anonymous reviewers of Journal of Business Venturing
for their insights in improving this article. The article was presented at the Global
Entrepreneurial Conference in Lyon in April 2001 and at the Academy of Management
meeting in Denver in August 2002 and benefited from the comments of the reviewers and the
participants. We thank Prof. Robert House, GLOBE Principal Investigator, for allowing us to
use GLOBE leadership data for the purposes of this study and we acknowledge the
contribution of about 150 country coinvestigators who collected the data in their respective

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