Call for Papers: Leading in an Entrepreneurial Context: Present and Future Perspectives


Open for submissions – Closing date: January 31st, 2022

Special Issue Editors:

Dr Christian Harrison, University of the West of Scotland, UK, 

Dr Kingsley Omeihe, University of Aberdeen, UK, 

Dr Veronika Gustafsson, University of Uppsala, Sweden, 


There is a considerable body of research in the fields of entrepreneurship and leadership spanning several decades. Despite work across both domains, entrepreneurship and leadership remain ambiguous concepts. There exists considerable overlaps and parallels, both historically and conceptually (Cogliser and Brigham, 2004; Galloway et al., 2015; Harrison et al., 2020), with some researchers defining entrepreneurship as leadership within a narrow context (Vecchio, 2003). This research has led to the emergence of a new paradigm known as “Entrepreneurial leadership” (Clark et al., 2019; Cogliser and Brigham, 2004; Fernald et al., 2005; Harrison et al., 2016a; 2016b; Harrison et al., 2018; Kuratko, 2007; Omeihe et al., 2020; Roomi and Harrison, 2011).

Nowadays, businesses exist in environments which are both complex and turbulent. Entrepreneurial leadership has been proposed as a concept which entrepreneurs should embrace to maintain their competitiveness in a dynamic business environment (Fernald et al., 2005), and researchers have shown that entrepreneurial leadership is positively related to business performance (Hmieleski and Ensley, 2007; Van Zyl and Mathur-Helm, 2007). Due to the recognition of the value of this new form of leadership in enhancing organisational performance, interest in entrepreneurial leadership has increased among scholars.

Several scholars (Flamholtz and Kannan-Narasimhan 2013; Hejazi et al., 2012; Renko et al., 2015) have extended this view and emphasized the importance of recognising and exploiting entrepreneurial opportunities. By their focus on innovation and opportunity recognition, specifically in highly complex, turbulent and uncertain environments, entrepreneurial leaders not only create innovative ideas to overcome the challenges of their business but also direct the process of innovation and opportunity recognition in their business (Chen, 2007; Flamholtz, 2011; Flamholtz and Kannan-Narasimhan 2013; Harrison et al., 2018; Karol, 2015; Omeihe et al., 2020; Swiercz and Lydon, 2002)

However, despite the growing interest and developing perspectives related to entrepreneurial leadership, empirical development of the concept has been hindered by the lack of focussed research and the absence of adequate tools towards assessing a leader’s entrepreneurial characteristics and behaviours (Renko et al., 2015). Notwithstanding the growing body of literature from both empirical and conceptual standpoints on entrepreneurial leadership (for example, Ahmed and Harrison, 2020; Bagheri and Harrison, 2020; Chen, 2007; Cogliser and Brigham, 2004; Fernald et al., 2005; Flamholtz, 2011; Flamholtz and Kannan-Narasimhan 2013; Flamholtz and Randle, 2021; Gupta et al., 2004; Kempster and Cope, 2010; Nicholson, 1998; Renko et al., 2015; Swiercz and Lydon, 2002), there is limited consensus on the conceptualisation of entrepreneurial leadership.

Within the small firm context, the ways in which entrepreneurs learn to become leaders of their organisations has received little in-depth analysis (Kempster and Cope, 2010). Several theorists    maintain that entrepreneurs are leaders by virtue of their position (Jensen and Luthans, 2006; Vecchio, 2003). However, it is vital to examine how entrepreneurs relate to the phenomenon of leadership and the extent to which they actively identify themselves as leaders.

Furthermore, if entrepreneurial leadership is important in enhancing organisational performance, it is paramount that this concept is also integrated in education programmes especially at the MBA and executive education levels, where you have students with post experience education. Entrepreneurial leadership research in these programmes will provide the platform for creativity, innovation and opportunity recognition (Roomi and Harrison, 2011).

Through this special issue, IRE aims to promote the progress of this field by deepening our knowledge of leading in an entrepreneurial context. In doing so, we invite submissions that will enhance our present and future perspectives of leading in an entrepreneurial context. We welcome ‘research for’ rather than ‘research about’ entrepreneurial leadership. Studies that also promote the value of entrepreneurial leadership in education programmes are encouraged.

In this context, this Special Issue aims to attract state-of-the-art manuscripts that bring together multidisciplinary knowledge on the intersection between entrepreneurship and leadership, from a wide range of business and management disciplines. We invite submissions that draw upon theories and concepts from a variety of disciplines, as well as papers that explore contextual factors and conditions surrounding the special issue topic. We especially seek empirical papers, both quantitative and qualitative as well as conceptual, theory building and review papers that fit the Special Issue topic.

Potential papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Leading in an entrepreneurial context
  • Methodological issues in entrepreneurial leadership research
  • Entrepreneurial leadership education
  • The role of context in entrepreneurial leadership
  • Leadership development in SMEs
  • Entrepreneurial leadership learning
  • Management and growth of entrepreneurial organisations
  • Which theoretical and empirical frameworks might be successfully used to investigate entrepreneurial leadership?
  • Conceptualisations and literature reviews on entrepreneurial leadership
  • Measurement of entrepreneurial leadership and venture performance
  • Characteristics and motivations of entrepreneurial leaders
  • Gender and entrepreneurial leadership
  • Opportunity recognition in entrepreneurial leadership
  • What are the antecedents of entrepreneurial leadership? How can we define them?
  • How does entrepreneurship processes facilitate leadership development? To what extent?
  • New approaches to entrepreneurial leadership


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