Three Mindsets of Entrepreneurial Leaders

-The Journal of Entrepreneurship

Disruption and change are the new normal. This new normal is characterised by four forces—change, complexity, chaos and contradiction (Kuratko & Audretsch, 2009). Organisations desirous of thriving in such rapidly changing environments need to go beyond strategic exploitation of their present competitive advantages. This requires organisations to practise strategic entrepreneurship—the simultaneous practice of opportunity-seeking and advantage-seeking behaviours (Ireland, Hitt, Camp, & Sexton, 2001).

Strategic entrepreneurship can manifest in one of five ways—strategic renewal, sustained regeneration, domain redefinition, organisational rejuvenation and business model reconstruction (Kuratko & Audretsch, 2009). Ireland, Hitt, and Sirmon (2003) highlighted that an entrepreneurial mindset is essential for the practice of strategic entrepreneurship and indicated the entrepreneurial leadership was the way for organisations to successfully engage in strategic entrepreneurship.

They defined entrepreneurial leadership as ‘…the ability to influence others to manage resources strategically in order to emphasise both opportunity-seeking and advantage-seeking behaviors’ (Ireland et al., 2003, p. 971). Therefore, it is imminent that entrepreneurial leaders are the drivers of entrepreneurial leadership within organisations. They possess an entrepreneurial mindset and can drive entrepreneurial actions among those they lead.

Studies on entrepreneurial leadership focus on the behaviours and attitudes of senior organisational executives (Gupta, MacMillan, & Surie, 2004), new venture founders (Ensley, Hmieleski, & Pearce, 2006) and what makes leaders and entrepreneurs similar or dissimilar (Vecchio, 2003). But restricting entrepreneurial leaders and entrepreneurial leadership to any type of organisation, industry or culture limits its usefulness and value. 

It can manifest in new or established firms, for-profit or not-for-profit organisations, formal or informal groups (Renko, Tarabishy, Carsrud, & Brännback, 2015). Entrepreneurial leaders are responsible for maintaining an entrepreneurial culture and entrepreneurial mindset among employees (Ireland et al., 2003). 

Since entrepreneurial leaders are so critical to the successful practice of strategic entrepreneurship within organisations, it is important to understand their mindsets—cognitive filters used to view the world—which drives their entrepreneurial behavior and actions and those they lead.

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