The scholars in the leadership field are very much familiar with the complicated and problematic course which this field has followed. According to Hunt and Dodge (2000), despite these obstacles, at the present, there is the consideration of leadership as being a “mature field” because of the developments that have been realized in the field even if this development hasn’t been attained in the absence of remarkable increasing pains. Rindova & Starbuck (1997) point out that the leadership field is not a new field of study and it came up during the old times and scholars in such early nations as Greece, China, Egypt, and India among others presented writings concerning the field. However, it was not until the 20th century thereon that systematic study in the field came into existence.
Leadership is not one of its kinds in its challenging progression to development. Looking at the entrepreneurship field, Hitt and Ireland (2000) point out that this field is a younger one and is not as old as the leadership field. It is in its early development stages as pointed out by Aldrich and Baker (1997) and it is at the present, regarded as a field that is in a considerable growth state (Busenitz et al, 2003).
In the same way as the course that the scholars in the leadership field faced, the entrepreneurship scholars are also fighting with issues that are associated with an area of study that is in its initial development periods. Cogliser and Bringham (2004) point out that; whereas the fields of leadership and entrepreneurship may have their differences, there is much they have in common and they may depend on each other based on the experiences they share. This paper is going to explore both the leadership and entrepreneurship fields and later, it is going to be established that future exploration of leadership and entrepreneurship should move away from what he/she is, towards what he/she does.
Exploration of Leadership and entrepreneurship
According to Cogliser and Bringham (2004) the initial stage in the exploration of a research field, which involves introducing the concept and explaining it, is marked by efforts to set up authenticity for the research field. The focus of research in the field is basically on the definition of the domain as well as its importance and usefulness for elucidating organizational trends to enlighten the readership on these matters (Reichers & Schneider, 1990).
Hunt and Dodge (2000) point out that the field of leadership has a larger number of models as compared to any other field that is under the behavioral sciences. Studies in the leadership field started during ancient civilizations (Bass, 1997). However, it was from the start of the twentieth century that there has been a systematic study in the leadership field. Moving hand in hand with a large number of contemporary leadership models is the huge number of meanings for the concept.
Bass (1990) points out that the early scholars in the field of leadership used the term “leadership” in different ways depending on what purpose they wanted it to serve, and in most cases, they did not give its clear meaning or definition within their particular construct domain. In considering this construct Yukl (2002) points out that it has well been labeled in several ways which include “power, authority, management, administration, control, and supervision as well as being defined about traits, behaviors, influence, interaction patterns, role relationships, and occupation of an administrative setting” (p.2).
Consequently, as it was observed by Janda (1990), “leadership” played a role as an unclear and vague term, including a broad range of settings having unconnected connotations, difficult predictions, and causing vagueness in definition. The complicated and disjointed status of the field stood at a level which made Miner (1975) to comment that, himself being among other scholars did not know what they wanted to know and that the leadership concept itself had lived longer than its worth.
The field of entrepreneurship has gone through the same fate of a new field that does not have a combined knowledge which is supported by the established theories in the field of study of social sciences (Cogliser & Bringham, 2004). According to Shane and Venkataraman (2000), they observed that the term entrepreneurship has turn out to be an expansive brand under which an assortment of research is accommodated. Aldrich and Baker (1997) have considered this term as, to quote their own words, “a multidisciplinary jigsaw characterized by accumulative fragmental in a chaotic pre-paradigmatic state of development” (p.396).
Looking for authenticity and distinctiveness has partially resulted from three “organization sciences” from which there has been coming up of entrepreneurship. The three are; sociology, ecology as well as economics (Vecchio, 2003). From a variety of these domains, there has been the development of two dominant viewpoints on entrepreneurship. One of the viewpoints takes the supply side and the other is the demand side. Considering the supply side, this side looks at the people who have the appropriate qualifications to take up the roles that need to be taken. On the other hand, the demand side approach looks at how many roles are supposed to be filled as well as the nature of these roles (Thormton, 1999).
The initial attempt to carry out a systematic study of leadership was the “trait approach” which peaked in the course of the 1920s up to the 1950s and saw a revival in the course of the 1990s. According to House and Aditya (1997), at that point, the domain started to set up its authenticity among the social sciences. The main attention of this was on the kind of characteristics that gave a distinction between those who are leaders and those who are not and the extent of the distinction (House & Aditya, 1997). Among the skills which were explored in the course of these studies, as pointed out by Bass (1990) included social and interpersonal skills. Others were the administrative skills as well as communicative skills and the intellectual expertise.
Looking at the entrepreneurship field, according to Cogliser & Bringham (2004), the studies on traits put focus on the identification of some specific “personality variables” which would give a distinction between entrepreneurs and other groups and which were reputed to give direction to the setting up of new organizations. The examples of those variables that were looked at in these kinds of studies were such variables as the need for accomplishment and the tendency for risk-taking among variables (Cogliser & Bringham, 2004).
Both the leadership and entrepreneurship fields experienced challenges looking wholly at “personality characteristics” among other individual differences for forecasting the rising of the entrepreneur or leader. The “trait approach” to leadership faced challenges from scholars and among these scholars was Stogdill (1948) whose critical review posed a question regarding how universal the traits in the leadership researches were. This review involved the launching of the initial big crisis in the leadership field and at the same time offering the driving force to move leadership attention, as pointed out by Antonakis, et al (2004), from who a leader is to what a leader does.
A large number of the “behavioral theories” that were set up beginning from the 1950s up to the 1980s had their attention on two classes of leader behavior. These classes were initiating and consideration (Antonakis, et al, 2004). These researchers, Antonakis, et al (2004), further observed that whereas there was a big effort to keenly consider the link between the leader behaviors and the resultant leadership efficiency, outcomes went on being weak or open to doubt. Therefore, leadership experienced its next or second-largest crisis (Antonakis, et al, 2004).
Comparable to the pivotal piece of Stogdill (1948), Cogliser & Bringham, (2004) states that entrepreneurship had an understandable delineation point from the trait move to the behavioral move. In an analysis carried out by Gartner (1985) in the field, it was concluded that disparities that can be traced among those who are entrepreneurs as well their business undertakings are as immense as the disparities between those who are entrepreneurs and those who are not and between the firms that have just been set up and those that have been in operation for a longer time.
This scholar as well called for a basic move away from individual trait standpoints and go in the direction of a behavioral approach for the study of entrepreneurship. Gartner (1988) went ahead to give a proposal that “future exploration of the entrepreneur should move away from what he/she is toward what he/she does” (Gartner, 1988, p.19). More reviews that were carried out ensured reinforcement of the need to take up a “behavioral approach”(Low & MacMillan, 1988). This was a well-seen move away from asking the question about who an entrepreneur is.
According to Herron & Robinson (1993), just considering the demographic features as well as demographic traits as a means to forecast entrepreneurial behavior has been chiefly dropped and there has been opting for more productive research opportunities. The consequence that has come out of this is however that, large numbers of scholars entirely left out the individual entrepreneur (Cogliser & Bringham, 2004). The fear of bringing entrepreneurship dimensions together and being acknowledged as a “traits researcher” remains in the field at the present (Cogliser & Bringham, 2004, p.782).
In an attempt to realize reconciliation in the findings which were revealed in the course of the behavioral leadership study era, the researchers in the leadership field shifted towards the exploration of the context under which there was the occurrence of the leadership concept. According to Antonakis, et al (2004), there was the domination of the “contingency theories” in the leadership writings all through the 1970s and this stretched into the 1980s. However, as it is pointed out by Scriesheim and Kerr (1977), the contingency theories were as well exposed to measurement and theoretical limitations that served as obstacles to the usefulness they had for active managers and for promoting an orderly flow of research. Just like in the development of leadership, entrepreneurship started to shift in the direction beyond putting focus only on the individual or only on the environment.
The leadership phenomenon has been studied beginning form the ancient days but it was not until the twentieth century that there was systematic study in this field. Currently, there is the consideration of leadership as being a developed field even if this development has not been realized without remarkable ever-increasing pains. The first researchers in the field of leadership “pulled” this term from the ordinary vocabulary and utilized it to go with the specific purposes they had, and in most cases its definition to be clear within their explicit construct domain. On the other hand, the entrepreneurship field, in relative terms, is less mature than the leadership field. It is in the premature development stages when looked at from the conceptual and methodological perspective and it is at the present day, taken to be in an important growth or evolving state.
The leadership, as well as the entrepreneurship fields, encountered challenges looking entirely at traits characteristics among other individual variations for forecasting coming up of the entrepreneur or leader. The trait move to considering leadership faced challenges from scholars and among these scholars was Stogdill (1948) whose critical analysis carried out the launching of the initial big crisis in leadership field and at the same time offering the driving force to shift the attention on the leadership of what a leader is to what activities he carries out. In conclusion, the “future exploration of the leader and entrepreneur should move away from what he/she is toward what he/she does as suggested by (Gartner, 1988). More reviews that have been carried out made sure that there is reinforcement of the need to take up a “behavioral approach”. This was a well-seen move away from asking the question about who a leader or an entrepreneur is.
Aldrich, H., & Baker, T. (1997). Blinded by the cites? Has there been progress in entrepreneurship research? Chicago: Upstart Publishing.
Antonakis, et al. (2004). Leadership: Past, present, and future. Thousand Oaks: CA7 Sage.
Bass, B. M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership. New York7 Free Press.
Bass, B. M. (1997). Concepts of leadership. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.
Busenitz, L. W., et al. (2003). Entrepreneurship research in emergence: Past trends and future directions. Journal of Management, 29(3), 285–308.
Cogliser, C. C. & Bringham, K. H. (2004). The intersection of leadership and entrepreneurship: Mutual lessons to be learned. The Leadership Quarterly, 15, 771 – 799.
Gartner, W. B. (1985). A conceptual framework for describing the phenomenon of new venture creation. Academy of Management Review, 10(4), 696–706.
Gartner, W. B. (1988). Who is an entrepreneur? Is the wrong question. American Journal of Small Business, 12(4), 11–32.
Herron, L., & Robinson, R. B. J. (1993). A structural model of the effects of entrepreneurial characteristics on venture performance. Journal of Business Venturing, 8(3), 281–294.
Hitt, M. A., & Ireland, R. D. (2000). The intersection of entrepreneurship and strategic management research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
House, R. J., & Aditya, R. N. (1997). The social scientific study of leadership. Journal of Management, 23(3), 409–474.
Hunt, J. G., & Dodge, G. E. (2000). Leadership deja vu all over again. The Leadership Quarterly, 11(4), 435–458).
Janda, K. F. (1960). Towards the explication of the concept of leadership in terms of the concept of power. Human Relations, 13, 345–363.
Low, M. B., & MacMillan, I. C. (1988). Entrepreneurship: Past research and future challenges. Journal of Management, 14(2), 139–161.
Miner, J. B. (1975). The uncertain future of the leadership concept: An overview. Kent OH: Kent State University Press.
Reichers, A. E., & Schneider, B. (1990). Climate and culture: An evolution of constructs. San Francisco: Jossey Bass.
Rindova, V.P. & Starbuck, W.H. (1997). Ancient Chinese theories of control. Journal of Management Inquiry, 6, 144 – 149.
Schriesheim, C. A., & Kerr, S. (1977). Theories and measures of leadership: A critical appraisal of present and future directions. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
Shane, S., & Venkataraman, S. (2000). The promise of entrepreneurship as a field of research. Academy of Management Review, 25, 217–226.
Stogdill, R. M. (1948). Personal factors associated with leadership: A survey of the literature. Journal of Psychology, 25, 35–71.
Thormton, P. H. (1999). The sociology of entrepreneurship. Annual Review of Sociology, 25, 19–46.
Vecchio, R. P. (2003). Entrepreneurship and leadership: Common trends and common threads. Human Resource Management Review, 13(2), 303–328.
Yukl, G. A. (2002). Leadership in Organizations.. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.